Running Advice for Non Runners


Yesterday I went running for the first time since my marathon last weekend. The week off was wonderful, and when I started my run yesterday, my legs were like, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" But then I told them to shut up, and it was fine after that. 

Just call me the Leg Whisperer. 

When I turned my Garmin on, my marathon run showed on the screen. Of course I had to take a picture of those numbers before I pressed the reset button. Those numbers represent 17 weeks of training and then over four hours of running through downtown Oklahoma City. 26.2 miles! (With a few extra tenths in there with all the crowd weaving.) 

I earned that finisher's medal through literal blood, sweat, and tears. I still can't believe that happened. 
Squinting because it was dang bright outside.

Yes, I've run a marathon, but there was a time when I couldn't even run for 5 minutes without coughing and wheezing and feeling like my legs couldn't move another step. I remember that time quite well, in fact. 

In college, a friend and I decided to trying running. We made it 2 minutes, if that, before we had to stop. We decided to add 30 seconds onto the end of each run. By the end of the month, we were running for 10, 15, 20, and then 30 minutes without stopping, just by adding half a minute each time. 

But I will never forget that first run. You have to start somewhere.

Today's topic for the blog-every-day-in-May challenge is a piece of advice. I thought long and hard about what advice to offer. Honestly, not to be a downer, but I don't feel all that qualified to be giving anyone advice right now since I have been feeling like a bit of a failure lately. 

I did just finish a marathon, though, so that's something.

In light of that, I wanted to offer a bit of advice on running. This is useful for anyone in any stage of running or non running, as the case may be.

||1. Figure out what you can do instead of focusing on what you can't.

Don't stress yourself out thinking about running for 30 minutes if you can only run for 1. Find out what you are able to do. That's where you start. You'll get there eventually, but you can only start where you are. Be patient.

||2. Don't think "going running" has to mean running the whole time.

I think it's completely ridiculous when people get focused on running the whole time. Who cares if you ran the whole time or if you stopped to walk a few times? The run/walk combo is a fantastic way to get into running longer distances, and it's been known to help improve time and stamina. 

It's sad when I hear people say they don't even want to start running because they are intimidated by the idea of running and think that means if they stop to walk, they're being lame. WRONG. You are not lame. You are awesome.

My brother and I after our half marathon in February.

||3. Sign up for a race

If you're like me, if you pay money for something, you're going to do it. So find a race happening in your area and sign up! It will give you a goal to work towards that will force you to get out there and train.

Running a half marathon was on my bucket list for at least 3 years, but it was never going to happen until I signed up for one. Once I signed up, it made me motivated to start training, and it was a clear deadline that forced me to stick to my schedule. 

So what are you waiting for? Always wanted to run a 5K or a half marathon? Sign up for one! 
My dad and I after our half marathon last April.

||4. Admit that you are a runner

It took me a long time to call myself a runner and believe it. It took even longer for me to say to other people, "I am a runner," and not feel like a liar. 

But you ARE a runner if you run. No matter the speed, no matter the distance. If you run, you are a runner. You might not be a "serious" runner or an "elite" runner or a fast runner, but you are a runner. Own it. 


If you couldn't tell, I am passionate about running. As you can see from the pictures, I've gotten my family into it too. You could say I'm a bad influence. 

I love it (most of the time), and I think everyone should do it! Even if you hate running and right now you're thinking I'm on crack if I think you're going to start running any time soon, I still strongly believe that everyone should run at LEAST one race in their life. It's such a feeling of accomplishment to push your body to do something you didn't think you could. 
My brother and I during the amazing Dirty 30 Zombie run last October.

Just promise me you'll think about it.

Poke The Rock said...

wow, you did loads!

When I used to run before I got sick and it turned out the running made the UC worse, I would run for as long as I could and then try to run 5 more seconds, then walk until I felt better and run again...
I might try to run you make me want to go again

Tienna said...

Love this post!! Thanks for the tips. It's on my bucket list to run a 5K someday - I'm one of those "can't run for a minute" people right now. Maybe I should take your advice and gift it a shot. :)

Breenah said...

I started running back in February. Due to weather and nowhere to run inside I haven't been able to run as much as I liked, so I wasn't able to run the whole 5K I did Saturday. Sometimes I feel weird or silly calling myself a runner, but I know that if I need motivation I'm just gonna come to you!

Anonymous said...

Amanda!! You are so right, about everything. I was once one of those people who couldn't run a mile. In middle school they told me I had "exercise induced asthma" which I'm pretty sure is just a fancy way to say out of shape.... ? Because I seem to have grown out of it, thank goodness. My older sister began challenging me to run 5Ks with her at various times throughout the year. That has changed EVERYTHING as far as running goes. I have to remind myself to not feel bad when I walk, or when I have an off day, or to be brave when I want to say out loud "I am a runner." Thanks for the advice ... it really helps! I'll be thinking of this post next time I hit the pavement.

Niken said...

i've been planting the drive in my head to start to run. but i never start. yet. i think i should push myself to start.

Claire@MyDevising said...

Agree with everything 100%!

Jen@Almost Gypsy Soul said...

Thanks for this post. I used to run track and I hated every minute of it (except the winning part) and I want to like to run, I need to like to run, but I have the perspective that you just said not too. I have run a half marathon and several mud/adventure runs. I'm going to hear your voice when I start.....again for like the millionth time. Thanks and congrats on the marathon!

Ashlee Francois said...

Awesome post...What great encouragement to those that they feel they can't run. I remember when my mom first started running...Just a little at a time :)


Curly Pink Runner said...

LOVE these tips! I especially love #4. This one has always been tough for me because I don't look like your typical runner and my pride doens't like the looks I've gotten when I tell people "I'm a runner". But, it's true- I AM a runner!!

Erin said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this post today! I know we've talked about this some, and I seriously feel more motivated than ever to "become a runner" and just do it, no matter how many times I stop and walk or how slow I am! I'm signed up for a 5k on June 1st and I'm so pumped!!

Sarah Alway said...

I was so happy to find your blog today, because this piece of advice fits so perfectly for me right now. I was trying to "become a runner" a couple months back by doing the couch to 5k program. I was doing really well and feeling really motivated about halfway through... when I tore my MCL snowboarding. Huge setback. And now I'm feeling really discouraged at the thought of trying to start all over. But you're right, it doesn't matter if you're running 5 minutes or 60, just having a good attitude and trying a little harder and going a little further each time is all that matters. Congrats on the marathon!

Unknown said...

Five minutes? Rock star.

The other day I ran for 30 seconds and then I was like, GAH, WHERE IS MY ICE CREAM REWARD ALREADY

Heather K. said...

I wish I would have read this before I started running a year ago. I would get so discouraged because I was a walk/run person.

I used to be concerned more about time than distance and what you said about adding 30 seconds make incredible sense and that's very encouraging advice.

Everything else you said is true and if I had advice (and was able to articulate it) it'd sound like what you said. ;)

Ashley @TheCreamToMyCoffee said...

I don't think I ever told you congratulations for completing the marathon last month, so... congratulations! That is so awesome! You should definitely be proud!

Whenever I run (which isn't very often) I have to remind myself of #2 a lot. I'll get there eventually!

Teh Megan said...

I love this post!

My motivation to start running was that my greyhound needs at least a minimal amount of exercise and it's good for me too! Sometimes I guilt myself for walk/running, but I'm walk/running vs sitting on the couch!

I've done several 5k (color runs) now and I feel like I need to start stepping my game up. 10k? 1/2 marathon? We'll see.

Alyson said...

Great advice and a great reminder! 3 4 years ago I never thought I'd say I would enjoy running and finish a 13.1. I may be slow, but hey! I am still out there.

Anonymous said...

Haha, I love that bottom picture.

This is such great advice. I am slowly starting to train to run a 5K. I have been through three of them now and have signed up for 3 more by the end of the summer, but I've never run a full one and that's my goal. Signing up DEFINITELY helps. It also helps to tell myself that I don't have to run the entire time, even though my competitive nature tries to tell me otherwise.

Congrats to you on running your marathon and thanks for such great advice!

Amy (

Helene said...

hahaha that last pic...omg. this is truly awesome. I do not run- after breaking my ankle and I really really want to get back into it.

Sarah said...

Awesome, awesome tips Amanda. I run most days of the week and it bugs me when people I meet say 'oh, I'm not a runner, I can only go a mile or two'. THAT MEANS YOUR A RUNNER! If you stop walking at any point and trot regularly, you are a RUNNER! :)

The May giveaway for a new blog design ends tonight at midngight! Our Journey

Skylar Southall said...

Hello! I found your blog through wifessional and wanted to stop by and say Hi! I am also an Okie (but I was born and raised here!) I ran my first 5K a few weeks back and had a blast!

Claudz said...

So I run on the treadmill.
HA! I run for 2 minutes then walk for 5 then run for 2 again.
I signed up for an 8km race that I did at the beginning of May. My body keeps shouting at me since then. How do I keep the body quiet?
Thanks for the tips, advice and inspiration. I will carry on running!

Ashley said...

Great advice! Thanks :)

rachelkreeger said...

I started using C25K with Nike+ and love them. Not loving running yet, but I will get there! Up to 90 seconds so far and not feeling horrible at the end. Looking forward to my first 5k in the fall hopefully.

The Lady Okie said...

That's awesome, Rachel! I'm sure you will get there. Just keep at it!

Unknown said...

Exploring your site and I love this! So true. I was relieved when I realized it wasn't the end of the world to walk part of my first 5K.

Also, over a year into running, I still find it hard to call myself a runner. Perhaps because I'm pretty slow at it. Or perhaps because I don't look like a fitness model.

It doesn't matter though. We run, therefore we are runners. It's hard to embrace, but I agree we should!

KimCampbell said...

I'm so happy I found this post!! You see, I'm a Runner wanna-be! I've dreamt of running for years! I'm overweight, and I've never really been comfortable running, heck even exercising! But this year, is my year! I've started exercising 5 days a week, and I've worked up my walk to the point I'm ready to start adding running to my routine! And tomorrow is the day, I get my first official pair of running shoes! Real ones. Ones that are for running only! Not that I wear to the grocery, or to work, or to the mall, they're for running!! I'm so excited!!! I registered for my first 5K and it's 7 weeks from tomorrow. I can't wait to get out there and start running!!!

The Lady Okie said...

Kim! Thank you so much for your comment. I am SO glad you have started exercising! That is very exciting. I wish you all the best on your 5k! I know you can do it. Also, congratulations on your running shoes! I know how exciting it is to get a new pair of shoes. Cheers to you!