Emil Zátopek once said, „Fish swim, birds fly, humans run!“. We are supposed to run. But how to start running? How does one become a runner? How do we leave behind our lazy lifestyle, like taking the lift instead of the stairs, and start doing the oldest and best exercise instead: running?
There are many reasons to start running. Changing to a healthy lifestyle. Losing weight. Enjoying the nature in its purest way. Looking for a new challenge. Starting to run is not a matter of your physical capability! It’s about your mental capability! Whatever YOUR reason is, just do it!
The hardest step is the one out of the front door!
Let me introduce you to my 4 main tips on how you are going to enjoy running and reach your goals:
#1 HAVE FUN
If you are having fun, exercise is much more enjoyable. So is running!
I have been so lucky to run in a variety of places already. And from what I experienced when I met other runners on the road or trail I would like to make a case: trail runners enjoy running much more than road runners! Why do I think so? The majorities of road runners I come across are looking stressed or are even avoiding eye contact contrary to trail runners, who are mostly smiling and saying ‘hi’. My explanation for this is, that trail runners are more experienced and they are enjoying nature and running. The road runners, on the other hand, are mostly inexperienced runners with the intention to lose weight. They don’t run because they want to, in their thinking, they ‘have to’. And they might even feel embarrassed. Running is a means to an end. And believe me, that is not what it should be! Running is FUN!
I am a runner because I run. Not because I run fast. Not because I run far.
My suggestion: whatever your reason is to start running, your only opponent is your own mind! Start slowly, set small goals such as running 10min at a time without walking in between. And please never ever feel embarrassed because you are running! Rather feel energized that you are running and not lying on the couch as many others. And moreover, meet with friends or running groups to go running together. Time passes by much faster and you won’t realise how far you have run.
Don’t ask me why I run … ask yourself why you don’t!
#2 BE PATIENT
Running takes time. Not just the running itself, but also the progress. Be patient and don’t expect too much too soon. Give your body the time to adjust to the new exertion. After about a month you will see the first progress. Especially in the beginning, it should not be about increasing your pace or running a new personal best (PB). It is about having fun! By and by you will slowly notice progress. You can run the same distance, just faster than before. After running the same distance, you don’t feel as tired as before. You can run further than before with the same effort. As soon as you see this progress you will enjoy running even more. And always keep in mind, that there is no bad run! Every kilometre you run makes a bigger difference than not running at all.
Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.
If you feel comfortable with running, then give it a try and participate in your first 5k running event. Get excited by the crowds and enjoy your first race. But don’t get too excited and start the race too fast! The starts of races are normally always very hectic and all the runners try to get into a favourable position. Don’t get infected by this and run at your own pace. As I mentioned before you don’t really notice how far and fast you run in groups. Races with a big running pack around you will increase this feeling by an even greater factor. And you will be on the final stretch before you even feel tired. Believe me, just very few things are a better feeling than crossing the finish line! Make sure to experience it yourself!
It’s very hard to understand in the beginning, that the whole idea is not about to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants to quit.
#4 SET REALISTIC GOALS
Whatever intention made you start running; just a realistic goal will help you to achieve your objective. The potential downside of having out-of-reach goals is that you train too hard, push your body before it’s ready, and lose motivation due to lack of progress. Take little steps towards your goal and with every day you will come closer!
I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than yesterday!
I’m off running! What about you?! See you on the road (or trails)!