Before I even get started with this blog post, I want to let you in on the biggest secret to success as a runner: Stop telling yourself that you’re not a runner; that you don’t have the body to be a runner, etc. First off, anyone can be a runner if they truly want to be. I don’t care if that means you run two miles twice a week, only run for three minutes before having to walk a bit, or have ran 10 half marathons. Literally anyone can be a runner if they really want to be. 

Our bodies are capable of so much more than we think, and running a 5K, 10K, half marathon or even a full marathon are possible for anyone with the heart and desire to train for them. Key word there is “train” but I will get to that part here in just a bit. I identify as a “runner” because I go out there and do it, but most importantly, I enjoy it (..most of the time 😜). I could go on and on about this topic alone, but if you want to be a runner, then go for it. Quit doubting yourself and set yourself in the “I am a runner” mentality right out of the gate.  

If you have been thinking about taking up running, then this blog post is definitely for you, so keep reading! If you are looking to train for your first half marathon, maybe run a 5K or even a marathon relay race this fall, this blog post is DEFINITELY for you and you should keep reading as well 😉With that all said, I am so excited to announce that I am partnering with the IMT Des Moines Marathon team as one of their Advocates for the upcoming 2020 IMT Des Moines Marathon race series.

About the 2020 IMT Des Moines Marathon Race Series + Giveaway 

I’m partnering with the IMT Des Moines Marathon to giveaway three race registrations to three of you! So, if running a half marathon, full marathon, 5K, 1 mile walk, etc. is something that you are interested in, be sure to head to my Instagram @katieannemach to see how you can enter to win one of the three IMT Des Moines Marathon race registrations! If you’re concerned about running in a different town, don’t be! Coop and I love to use an out of town race as an excuse to take a little mini-vacay and explore a new city.  This can be the perfect weekend getaway for my KC peeps. *Please note that this giveaway will be open until June 21 to allow for the proper amount of time to train for any of these races. The three winners of this giveaway will be announced on Monday, June 22.*

Okay back to the running tips. Below are my personal six tips on how you can get started with running TODAY. These are tips I used when I first started running back in May of 2014 and are some that I still use to this day. I would also like to preface that I am not a professional running coach or a professional runner – these are just tips that have worked for me personally and may or may not work for you. 

If you have a specific running/athletic related injury and are trying to get back into the sport, I always recommend seeking advice from your personal doctor and/or a trained professional running coach. 

Six Tips on How to Start Running

  1. Get off the couch, lace up your tennis shoes and go for it. I hate stating the obvious here (like duh, Katie) but you just simply have to start. Even if you just start by running up and down your block, simply getting started and making it a habit, is the hardest part at first – especially if running isn’t something that is already a part of your workout routine. And it is okay if it isn’t! Remember, you ARE a runner. The first step is the hardest!

2. Invest in good running shoes. I cannot stress this tip enough. I have had so many friends, family members, etc. have athletic related injuries because they were wearing a horrible pair of tennis shoes. Running specific shoes were made for a reason and if you are going to be putting some mileage on your feet, you want your joints and muscles to be protected in the best way possible. I know they are sort of expensive, but I highly recommend going to your local running store to get fitted. They will actually watch you run and recommend some options for you based on what they see. If the styles they pick aren’t your favorite or are a little outside your budget, you can always shop online somewhere else once you know if you need a neutral shoe or a stability shoe, for example. Get the right shoes, I promise they make a world of a difference.

3. Embrace the run/walk method. This is super important if running a 5K isn’t something you could just wake up and go do. It is okay to have to stop and walk. You know your body best, so don’t push yourself too hard too fast. It’s not like I could just wake up tomorrow morning and go run 13 miles without struggling. However, if my life depended on it, I would do it, but you bet I would be taking some walk breaks throughout those 13 miles.

You have to train your body (and your mind) to be able to run mileage like that. For people who run every single day that might be a piece of cake, but I don’t, and that would be hard for me. Remember, this “tip” is also coming from someone who has ran seven half marathons. Yes I know I can physically do it, but you have to train properly for it. So don’t be so hard on yourself if you have to walk a little at first or even on race day. It is okay and completely normal to have to walk. It doesn’t make you less of a runner either. Just like anything that is new, you have to ease into it and gradually build up those muscles, endurance and overall strength. A lot of research shows that a run/walk method is the best way to start out. I would aim to try and run for three minutes and walk for one if you are physically able. Set a time limit, say 20 minutes and then gradually add on to that end time until you are running more and walking less.

4. Create a plan and set a personal goal. I don’t know about you but I will stick to a week of workouts, a goal or simply the meals we plan to eat that week if I have them planned out and written down ahead of time. Writing them down provides a sense of accountability for me. There is nothing I love more than crossing off a workout or a run in my planner after it is over. If you create a plan, you are setting yourself up for success. If you don’t, you are setting yourself up for failure. Plain and simple. If you don’t start with a strategic plan that is made specific to you, it will be easy to make excuses and maybe fall right back into your original comfort zone. I wrote a blog post awhile back on some tips for training for your first half marathon and I wrote a whole section on creating a well rounded training plan. Head there to check it out if you need some more tips specific to running (and more specifically training for a half marathon).

5. Find a running buddy or a running community. I trained for my very first half marathon with a good friend from high-school. She lived in Lawrence at the time and I lived in Kansas City but once we got up to our longer mileage on the weekends, we would meet up and do them together. It held us accountable and made those longer runs more enjoyable because we were doing them together. If you can’t find a running buddy, there are tons of local running groups you can tap into if you do the research and put yourself out there. I know times are interesting right now and getting together physically isn’t an option, but don’t let that become an excuse. There are virtual meet-ups, and digital run logs going on right now too if accountability is a factor for you! Thankfully my husband enjoys running as much as I do and we typically run together during the week. We have also trained together in the past for half marathon races as well. Makes training so much more fun and enjoyable (plus he carries my water for me 😜). Don’t have a partner or friend who enjoys running? My Mom would also ride her bike alongside me during my long training runs too, so that is always an option if your accountability partner might not like running. There are always options out there, you just have to be willing to look for them!

6. Have fun and try not to get discouraged. Just like I tell my clients after their very first Pure Barre class, you can’t compare your beginning to someone’s middle or end (aka their 500th Pure Barre class). Anytime you try something for the first time or maybe even the first ten times, you have to allow yourself to be a beginner. Say it with me, ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE A BEGINNER. Trying something completely new is a hard thing to do (kudos to you!), but the most important thing is to give yourself some grace and remember why you started and always have fun! Moving your body should be FUN. Not punishment. I will be the first one to admit that running can be hard, but it is something I have enjoyed over the past six years and will continue to do it as long as I enjoy it. If whatever you are doing to move your body isn’t fun nor enjoyable, you should maybe reconsider what you are doing. Being able to physically move our bodies is a gift, so have fun with it!

I really hope you found this blog post helpful because I had so much fun writing it! As always, if you ever have any questions about running specifically or anything else in general, feel free to shoot me an email or head on over to Instagram and message me there. I love hearing from you guys and it is what makes this part of my “job” so much fun. Have an amazing rest of your week, y’all! 

with love,

~Katie 

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