I only write that because it makes me sad when I hear someone say, "Oh, I could never be a runner." I felt the same way... until I became one ;)
This past summer, I was asked to write a "Run Your First Mile" plan for From Fat to Finish Line (the company that produced the documentary I was in). My teammate Rik had already written a plan for them, but considering the people who will be using it, I thought it would be a good idea to have a second plan option that is different from what they may have tried before. Rik's plan follows the standard "walk-run-walk-run" intervals, which is what most beginner plans do; as I've mentioned several times on my blog, I despised doing intervals when I was learning to run.
|August 2011 (still wearing cotton instead|
of tech fabric! haha)
The main reason I didn't like running intervals was because I was always dreading the next running portion. I lived for the moments where I got a quick walk break; and then it was back to huffing and puffing during the run parts. Also, intervals are HARD. I had zero confidence in my ability when I was feeling like death after the first interval. I started thinking, "Why do I have to do intervals at all? Why can't I just get all the run portions out of the way in the very beginning, and then I can walk the rest of the time?"
And so my own plan was born--and this was back in 2010, before I knew anything at all about running. I began to do my own thing, and it worked much better for me. Since then, I've run dozens of races, tried several different training plans for various distances, obtained my RRCA running coach certification, and written numerous running plans for others, as well as myself. I still believe that my "Run Your First Mile" plan is a solid one, and a good option for people who may hate intervals like I did.
From Fat to Finish Line ended up using Rik's plan for their needs, but Angela encouraged me to make mine available here in case someone decides intervals just aren't for them. This method is what got me started as a runner, as well as dozens of my readers who used the same method (using my Walk to Run plan). This "Run Your First Mile" is very similar to the Walk to Run plan, but the end target is to run your first mile rather than run for 30 minutes straight.
Here is what the first two weeks look like:
Here is the link to download the whole plan in PDF form. (It's free)
The plan is great for anyone who is capable of walking 30 minutes, 3 times a week; and it will help you to run your first mile anywhere from about Week 5 to Week 8 (depending on your pace).
The number one thing I want anyone to remember when starting to run is this: If it feels too hard, SLOW DOWN. It sounds so simple, and it is--just by slowing your running pace down to the slowest you can possibly run (a slow shuffle is just fine!), you'll be amazed at how much farther you can make yourself go. My brother gave me this advice when I started out, and to this day, it's the best advice I've received about running.
There are some things I wish I knew as a beginner, so I'll share those as well. Here are some random tidbits that may come in handy:
- Cotton gets very heavy when it gets wet (from sweat, rain, etc). I would definitely recommend getting some moisture-wicking clothing. It doesn't have to be expensive, either! Some of my favorite running clothes actually came from Wal-Mart and cost about $10.
- Invest in your running shoes. Even for those just beginning, I strongly encourage you to go get fitted for running shoes at a proper running store. These likely will be expensive, but they will last you for about 400 miles of running. And good shoes can prevent injury, make running more enjoyable, and make you feel less sore.
- It's okay to stop during run--to take a drink, answer an important phone call, chat with a friend you bumped into, pick up a quarter, or anything else. When I first started running, I thought it "didn't count" if I stopped at all, even at a stop light. That's silly! Runners stop all the time for various reasons. Just keep it brief and keep going. It still counts.
- Likewise, you can still say you "ran a half-marathon" (or whatever distance) if you walked through the water stations. Believe it or not, this is one of the most common questions I am asked.
- If a friend offers to run with you, don't fear that you are "holding them back" because your pace is slower. Chances are, you friend already knows you're not out to qualify for Boston as you prepare to run your first mile; and they wouldn't have offered to run with you if they didn't want to. I always enjoy running with people who are slower than I am, because it's fun to chat and it makes the time go by fast. If I have speed work or something that must be done, then I just choose a different day to run with a partner.
I don't want to put too much info here, because I don't want anyone to get overwhelmed before they even run their first step! But when the time is right, here are some more posts I've written that beginners may find helpful:
How to Get Started as a Runner
50 Running Tips
On Starting to Run and Running Faster
Running Motivation (my favorite books and movies about running)
On Fueling For/During a Run
Tips for Training For and Running Your First 5K
Tips for Training For and Running Your First 10K
Tips for Training For and Running Your First Half Marathon
Tips for Training For and Running Your First Marathon
Best of wishes as you run your first mile! xo