Tips to help you fall in Love.....with Running

I have a wonderful guest for you guys today, Emily from Beauty and the Greek! I met her in Fort Wayne last month and she totally kicked that half's ass, but she also has a rockin' blog you should all check out. She's sharing some FAB tips for running that you won't want to miss :)

Hi everyone, my name is Emily, and I blog over at Beauty and the Greek.  I'm a twenty-four year old wife, ER nurse, and running newbie.  I mostly blog about my running journey, favorite products, recipes, and whatever else is going on in life.

I met Megan in September at the Fort4Fitness Half Marathon (which she ran pregnant like a fitness rockstar).  For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of meeting her, let me tell you how sweet she is.  She immediately greeted me so warmly and made me feel welcome into her circle of blogging friends.  (Homegirl also let me use her body glide that I had forgotten and saved my thighs from some serious chaff-age).

Anyways, I'm so honored that Megan would ask me to write a guest post for her blog.  She has a way of writing that makes me want to get off the couch to go workout and redecorate my house all at the same time. Since Megan is an awesome runner, and I'm trying to become an awesome runner, I thought I'd share some of my favorite tips for getting started and actually enjoying running.

First, a little about me.  I've never really been a runner.  I used to DREAD the days in gym class when I knew we had to run.  In high school and college, I would try to go out on a run and end up walking after a minute or two.  I was tired, nauseous, embarrassed, had a stitch in my side, and couldn't breathe.  How on Earth did people do this? People think THIS is fun?

Well, after 3-4 failed attempts at being a runner, years of boring elliptical workouts, and learning that biking hurt my "hoo-haa" too bad, I decided to give it another shot.  In January of this year, I decided that I was going to try it one more time.  Fast forward to today, I've done two half marathons, with one more coming up, and a full marathon in December.

Here is what I've learned that helped me not only get better at running, but fall in love with it as well.

1. Count your victories in minutes, not miles.

This may be the most important piece of advice that I have ever gotten.  I was SO stuck on running a mile without stopping, and I was getting discouraged.  I started making my goals 2 minutes of running, then I'd tack on another minute until I reached 10.  Soon I was running 20 minutes at a time and then 30.  The couch to 5k program didn't work for me, so just adding a minute on little by little was what I did.

2. Slow it down!

I used to laugh at the words "conversational pace." Um... I couldn't even gasp the words, "help me" let alone have a full conversation.  Start slow, and don't even give a second thought about what others think.  If you're not able to talk in 3-5 word sentences, you're going too fast.  Slow it down!

3. Find some music that motivates you.

I run with music whenever I'm running alone but do not when I'm running with others.  Music helps to distract you from discomfort and motivate you to keep going.  My favorite music comes from Bootie Jams.  The music is mostly top 40 with some 80's and other random stuff thrown in.  It is up beat and FREE!  They put out new music every month, and did I mention it's free?!

4. Give it 3 months.

This is another piece of advice that I've gotten that I believe to be so true.  As you run regularly, you change your physiology a little bit.  Each time you run, your body has a better idea of what is going on, and it gets easier.  It gets easier to take those first steps out the door, too.  In three months your mind and body will be more trained, and you'll be ready for my next step.

5. Sign up for a race and let it be known.

The Greek, me, and my dad at my first race, a 5k in July.
This is one of my favorite parts about running.  Not "racing" or the competition, but the fellowship that runners share at races.  Everyone has the same goal, which is to do their best, and no one really cares about how fast or slow you are.  You will get cheers, give cheers and enjoy the endorphins.  Signing up for a race also keeps you motivated knowing that you will put your hard work out there.  Extra points for telling a friends and family.  Chances are, they will help support you and maybe even come cheer you on.

6. Find a running buddy.

My aunt is my coach and running buddy.  This was taken after our first 16 miler.
This isn't essential, but certainly helps.  Finding someone to keep you accountable will really help in the beginning.  Make sure that your buddy is aware of your goals and keeps you positive.  Don't let them run too fast and get you discouraged.  A running buddy should push you instead of drag you.

7. Keep a journal.

Make sure you write down how much you ran and your time.  I love to look back and see my progress.   Writing down other details like what you ate, where you ran, and the weather can also help you look for trends and figure out what works best for you.  I use the Daily Mile, and I'm always looking for new friends (beautygreekblog).

8. Realize that you will have good days and bad days.

This is something that I'm still struggling with.  Just because you exceeded your goal yesterday does not mean that it is the new norm.  You will have days where you feel like you're flying and days where it is a struggle to put one foot in front of the other.  You have to trust yourself and know that just because you're in a funk that week, you will continue to get stronger.

9. Find what motivates you.

For me, reading blogs motivates me.  Reading about running and hearing of other's experiences helps me get my booty out the door.  Whether it be a picture, a song, a website, etc., keep it handy, and use that when you need a boost.  

10. Reward yourself!

Parking my butt on the couch and eating Subway is my favorite reward.
Anyone that knows me personally knows that I have a tradition of getting a tuna sub after runs 10 miles and longer.  Last weekend, on my 18 miler, I swear I could see that sub rising from the horizon.  I was running to it.  You don't have to reward yourself with food.  You can reward yourself with a new running top, a bubble bath, a new song on iTunes.  These are all things that I've used to help me meet my goals.

I know that none of this is groundbreaking information, but this is what I wish I had known when I first started.  I'm hoping that this helps some of you who are interested in getting started.  Thanks again to the wonderful Skinny Meg for hosting me.

What would you add to the list?


  1. Love love love this post. I am definitely going to check out Emily's blog. This was great advice because I have been struggling with my running lately. I have gotten frustrating with taking a week off then trying to get back on it and sucking at it. Not being able to run a mile straight has gotten me so frustrated so I'm going to try adding on minutes instead. Thanks for the tips!

  2. I am on dailymile too! I will be adding you! Congrats on the two half marathons and the upcoming full! :)

  3. I love this post! I just posted about how much I hate running and feel like I will never actually enjoy it - this feels like a response made for me :) today is a cardio/running day for me and this is a really helpful and motivating post. It gives me hope that maybe one day I won't hate it so much!

  4. Awe. Love this!!! I'm excited to have a new blog to read! Love the tips! And how did I not know about bootie jams.

  5. Great post! I'm FO SHO having trouble falling in love with running! Great tips!

  6. As a new runner, I found myself nodding at so many of these. I've always been pretty athletic but running has always been a challenge. I figured I'd just work at it for a few "weeks" and be a marathon runner in no time! HA. It's been a learning experience, that's for sure!

  7. Love this post! I love running too, but I haven't run in a while, so this is helping my motivation!
    Thank you!

  8. Such great advice Emily! Thanks for sharing! Both you and Meg are amazing runners!

  9. I actually just started running last week, for the first time in my entire life. I have always dreamed of being a runner and it has taken me a long time to get here. My runs are short though, I'm still over my weight and mostly do brisk walks however I began running slower last week and this got me beyond my 1 minute mark up to 6 minutes with a small 1 minute break in between. I'm glad you shared tip #4 as I was thinking I would be great in only 2 weeks, surprise surprise I am getting better but not where I want to be yet. Thank you for sharing all of your tips Emily and thank you Megan for having a great guest post! :D

  10. What a great post! baby steps...it all comes in time

  11. Really good post, thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only one who fluctuates back and forth between great runs and crappy runs! Go girl!

  12. Love all of this!!! Great advice!!

  13. I freakin' love Emily! I've been reading her blog for a while and was stoked to see her guest post! So inspiring :)

  14. I love this too! One thing that helped me push myself to run a little further was basing my running times on songs. I would tell myself that I needed to make it through 4 songs that day and if I did, I would do 5 songs the next, and so on. It especially helped me with treadmill runs because I wasn't staring at the time. Just throw a towel over the time, crank your tunes, and get your run on! :)


  15. YAY! Even if you already love running these are great reminders. Great guest post Emily!

  16. Thank you! I've struggled twice now to stay on the C25K schedule, because I ended up just adding minutes instead of tapering back and forth.

    But I'm happy to report that I think its stuck finally, I'm enjoying running! Or more specifically I'm in love with the runner 'high.'

    found Emily on dailymile!

  17. LOVE HER!!!
    And I especially love her little comments during her good days and bad days! Oh so true!!!

  18. LOVE HER!!
    Also love her comments for the good days and bad days! So true! :)

  19. This whole post seriously had me smiling the entire time I was reading it! Thank you, this was exactly what I needed to hear (read?) to keep my motivation going :)

  20. You give the best tips! LOVED this :-)

  21. Thanks so much for sharing Em!! I know your going to rock this marathon!

  22. Great post!! I was a runner in high school and college but have gotten out of it. I'm going to set a goal for a 5K in the spring and get back into it...the endorphins are amazing!!

  23. This is a great post!!! It's helped me to stay motovatied with my first half marathon comnig up in September!!!

    xo Jen


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