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Being a new runner is tough. I remember when people used to tell me how much they loved running I would think silently to myself, “Impossible. Running is the worst.” I used to think that people who ran were insane. Running was the worst! It was impossible to enjoy! My legs felt like lead and I couldn’t make it down the street without feeling like my lungs were going to explode! I couldn’t figure out how to actually enjoy running. That was until I learned that running was only terrible during those first few weeks when you’re a new runner. Once you can get past the first few weeks, that’s when the real fun begins.
These are the 16 hardest parts about being a new runner…
1. Not knowing what you’re doing.
You will soon realize that the simple act of running is actually quite complicated and confusing. Intervals? Hill repeats? Tempo runs? Endurance? Running economy? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!? Just be patient, you’re only goal when you’re a new runner is to build a base. (BASE!?! WHAT’S A BASE? LIKE HOME BASE?!?) No, base mileage is a foundation you set that prepares you both physically and mentally for all the fun that is to come.
2. Trying to find the right pair of running shoes.
There is no struggle quite like finding the perfect pair of running shoes. Who knew shopping for shoes could be so overwhelming? I ran my first half marathon in shoes that were 2 sizes too small because I didn’t know any better! Then I went to my local running store when I couldn’t deal with the blisters any longer and tried out a bunch of different shoes and styles.
3. Finding the time and establishing a routine.
Waking up early to run sounds like fun right? Or trying to motivate yourself to run after a long day at work? The hardest part about running is always going to be getting out the door but soon enough, running will be a normal part of your routine. (And an early morning wakeup call or post work run will be the highlight of your day.)
4. Sore muscles…all the time.
I hope you like walking like a penguin because you’re going to spend some time with sore muscles! (But it means you’re getting stronger! Isn’t that exciting!?!)
5. Being really, really, really slow.
When you start out, you’re slow. It’s just how it works. THAT’S OK! It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep with it! Take walking breaks if you need them! You’re a new runner! Be proud of that!
6. Trying to figure out what to wear on a run so you’re not over/under dressed.
It’s cold outside…but how cold outside?!? Fleece jacket cold or long sleeve and vest cold? The struggles of figuring out what to wear so you don’t over or under dress are real. A good rule of thumb is to add 10 degrees to the temperature. And shedding layers is always easier than freezing your booty off. You’ll learn what feels right eventually, it’s all trial and error.
7. Feeling winded the entire time.
Who doesn’t love this sucker punch to your pride!?! That’s right, your lungs are going to burn by the time you reach your mailbox. The joys of being a new runner, AMIRIGHT!?!? Push through it because change lives in discomfort. You just have to be a tiny bit stronger than you were yesterday. (Just a tiny bit. Surprise yourself!)
8. Intimidating distances.
3 miles! That’s an incredibly far distance to run, right? That’s further than most people will drive for a carton of milk! I know it feels impossible, just run the mile you’re in.
9. Finding the perfect sports bra.
Arguably the most important component of any run. (I personally swear by the Juno Moving Comfort Sports Bra.)
10. Feeling discouraged.
Sometimes you’ll take off and it will feel like you’re back in square 1. That’s normal. Don’t get discouraged. It’s actually those bad, terrible, awful runs that make you a better runner because they make you stronger mentally. If you have to walk, then walk. Just don’t give up.
11. Fighting the urge to spend all your money on foxy running clothes.
Who doesn’t love spending all their money on running tights? I know I do! (A good way to keep yourself in check is to set a goal and only reward yourself with new running clothes if you accomplish it.)
12. Perfecting the perfect running playlist and then finding a pair of headphones that won’t fall out.
A good running playlist can make or break a run. Keep it up tempo! (The real problem is finding headphones that won’t fall out when you dance run…)
13. Feeling self conscious.
I remember when I started running, I didn’t want my neighbors to see me running. Why? I was self conscious! What if I didn’t stick with it! Then I’d have to tell them I quit. And I knew I looked ridiculous when I ran. But there’s nothing to be self conscious about. Own your new runner status!
14. Discovering what runner’s trots are.
Hell hath no fury like an agitated GI track during a run…
15. Figuring out running etiquette.
Do you wave when you pass runners or pretend you don’t see each other? Do you pass on the left or the right? Sidewalk or bike lane? With or against traffic? THERE ARE SO MANY UNWRITTEN RULES!
16. Staying Motivated.
Life’s tough! When you’re working full time and trying to see your family, friends and significant other…sometimes it’s hard to choose a run over the couch and Netflix. The best way to stay motivated when you’re just getting started is to set one big goal like a race and then smaller weekly goals. Write them down. Keep yourself accountable. That Netflix plays dirty…just don’t give in!
I love the saying, “A year from now you’ll wish you started today.” I can’t tell you how many times I have looked back and wish I would have started running sooner. Running may not necessarily get easier but you most certainly get stronger. Stick with it. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.