So you got your gear and ready to run! Not so fast. There are a couple of things I’d like you to consider. You should have a few goals that help you stay motivated while running/training.

Maybe you’d like to lose a few pounds. Or perhaps you want to run your first half-marathon or whole marathon or just complete a 5k! Whatever it is make sure you write it down. Your goals will change as you get in better and better shape.

There are a few things you need to remember throughout your running.

  • Don’t rush into running the complete distance. Start slow.
    Watch your HR and keep it between 65-75% of your max HR. If that means walk, then walk! Jog again when it drops into your zone. Over a short time, you will run longer and longer without having to walk.
  • Gradually extend the times you run each time.
    Take notes and if you have a fancy watch, use it to track your progress. For example, if you ran 1 minute and walked 30 seconds and repeated until you finished one mile. Next time, run for 1 minute and 30 seconds…then rest for 30 seconds or until your HR drops back down. Within a month, you will be close to running 3 miles continuously.
  • Be consistent.
    Don’t get distracted or make excuses. If you run 3 days a week, then run 3 days! Three days a week at first is fine. After about 4 weeks, you’ll want to add in one more day. We’ll talk more about that in later posts. If you don’t keep up with your training, it takes a short time to lose everything you gained – so keep it up once you start.

Set aside about 45 minutes each day to get your runs in, especially at first. Eventually, you’ll find that running time can vary from 30 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes depending on your goals. It will only take about 15 weeks to go from no running to completing a half marathon. I know you don’t believe me…but you should (marathon training takes about 30 weeks). Again, you must remain consistent in your training – no cheating.

There are some really good and manageable training programs available. Check out the Novice (half marathon) program by “the man,” Hal Higdon (marathon, 10k, 5k plans). I followed his plans for my first 3 half marathons to a “T” and completed them in 1:56, 1:43, and 1:34 respectively. This was done in a year’s time…the 1:56 and 1:34 was the same race…a year apart.

Set aside some time and get out there and start running!! We all started somewhere. Now is better than later.