You know, I love seeing all those runners, and triathletes, and all these people who are active. I can’t even fit the time into my schedule, let alone figure how I’m even going to get started. Don’t worry, ladies. I’ve got you. I understand where you are coming from. We’ve got obligations. You’ve got family, kids, career, all these other things in our lives. But guys, we have to make time for self care. I want to share with you guys how I got started in my fitness journey and some quick little tips to how you can make sure you stay healthy in the process.
All right. For me, my personal story of how I got started in running is a little interesting. Just for full disclosure to give you guys some background here, I was a swimmer through high school and somewhat in college. I was never a good runner, though. In fact, it wasn’t until my 30s, which my story will start here in a second, that I really started being able to run. Some days I still feel like I can’t run. Right?
And so, just understand when I tell you this story, I didn’t come from a long years of running in the past. The extent of the running I did was either on the tennis court in the confined season in high school, or when we had to do dry land stuff for swim team. I’m going to tell you right now, and coach, well, my old swim coach, if you’re listening, I’m super proud that you’re watching me, but don’t listen to this next part. Because I used to walk the hills and walk during our runs. I was not a very good committed dry lander, because I didn’t know how to run right. No one had ever taught me.
It’s still a lesson that I’m working through. So, just know, you guys are watching, you’ve never run before, that’s okay. You can end up where I am. You could end up even surpassing me, or just in your own goals can be accomplished, depending on what you want to do. I want to share with you guys my tips of how I got into running, give you some context of that, and so that you can use and apply them so you can get healthier and fit running into your life, as well.
Now, when I was 30, it was right before I had baby number five, and if you guys know any of my story, I have lost over 100 pounds. It didn’t happen before I started running, though, so that’s really key in this, in the history of me, that I was up and down, up and down. I had thyroid cancer. I have no thyroid. I’m on hormone medication, which makes it even harder for me to lose weight.
Every single pregnancy, whether I ate healthy and was active, or I sat on my butt and ate hamburgers, I still gained the same amount of weight. My last three babies were boom, boom, boom, super close, so I never really had time to take the weight off before I added more on.
By the time that I was 30-ish and realizing that I needed to do something, because my back hurt, my knees hurt, my hips ached all the time. Some of that was obviously from childbirth back-to-back, but a lot of it was my weight. I knew something had to be done, and I didn’t know how to start.
The first thing that I did was I got into the app store, believe it or not. Because I knew that if I got a schedule, and I didn’t have some coaching, which I didn’t have the funds or the willpower at the time to hire a coach. I didn’t even know, honestly, that it was a thing for non-professional athletes to have a coach. I dug into the app store, and I found the Couch to 5K app. This isn’t sponsored, just sharing you with what I used.
The great thing about the app is that you download it, you have it. It gives you a structured plan, and some of them, depending on which you use, I used the specific Couch to 5K app. There’s a bunch of different types of apps out there that can get you to different distances. But each of them will give you a certain amount of weeks to build up to your goal distance, like a 5K, then 10K, and half, and that was my trajectory. I just built upon that.
The great thing about the app is that it starts with run/walk intervals. It’s very similar to the Jeff Galloway method if you’ve ever heard anyone talk about that. You start with longer walk intervals and shorter run intervals. You’ll do four or five minutes … Well, that’s probably a bit long. But, four or five minutes of walking, and then two minutes of running. You’re going to do that, and the app will tell you, it will give you audio cues of when to walk, when to run, and you just commit to that. By doing that as you go along, it starts to reduce the amount of walking time and increasing the amount of run time.
Which is actually the exact same method that I use now when I’m running all the time when it comes to mileage. You don’t want to jump from zero mileage to 26 miles. You want to incrementally increase, and you’re going to do that on a time basis with this Coach to 5K app.
Now, with using that, in order for it to be successful for somebody like me, I had to sign up for a 5K. Losing the weight just wasn’t enough, because I knew I could somewhat manage it with diet and kind of just hopes and dreams that it would fall off. Right? But by signing up for an actual 5K really kept my feet to the fire and feet to the pavement, and I completed the Couch to 5K up, did a 5K, then I did the build from 5K to 10K, a 10 miler, half marathon. And I stayed at halves, and halves is about the time that I switched to the triathlon, which, that story will be in another video for you guys.
But just understand that I didn’t jump from nothing. I didn’t have a running history. I didn’t jump from nothing to Iron Mans and to Team USA. Incrementally. Hated life the first few times. I started in the middle of summer, very humid, very hot. I wasn’t smart enough to go early in the day or later in the day. I was going when I could. I’m glad I stuck it out. I’m glad that I really adjusted my body through that process from walking to running, into just solely run intervals. It takes a while, though, guys. Fitness takes time to build, and so you just have to be patient and trust the process.
Now, before you can even jump into doing any of that, it’s one of the most important things, well, two, I guess. But the most important thing that you need to have when you’re going to start running, whether you’re using just a walk app, a Couch to 5K app with walk/runs, or you’re just going to go out and just start running, you need to have good shoes. You don’t have to run out and get the best run shoes that are out there.
But I do recommend going to a local run store and getting a gait analysis. Or there’s things that online now that you can video yourself running, with your iPhone or whatever, and you can send it to them, and they’ll do a gait analysis for you. What that means is, they’re going to look at, these professionals, they’re going to look at your gait, which is your run. How do you hit the ground and what are the best shoes for you?
I went through multiple types of shoes before I finally found the pair that I like, and now I’m obsessed with them. That’s why I talk about them on my social media all the time. I utilize Newton Running. What’s interesting is, I had gone to a run store and got a gait analysis, and I got a pair of shoes, and they were okay. But, and this is where my big tip comes in for this gait analysis, make sure that the person that is doing your analysis truly understands gait analysis and is not just confined with the shoes that are within their store. Really good local run stores will tell you, “You know what? Your gait is like this. But, we don’t hold anything here that’s best for you. You might want to check online.” That’s eventually in step two of the process that happened to me.
Step one, I had gone to somebody who, they only wanted to sell what was in their store. Which I get it. I’m a small business. They want to sell their own products, but those shoes didn’t work for me. And so I ended up having to donate or sell off those shoes. I went to another store that really understood and got me into telling me what type of runner I was, and not so much necessarily just specifically the shoe.
If you’re having shin splint issues. If you’re having plantar fasciitis, achilles issues, all of that in your first starter running out, understand you’re going to have little aches and pains, but if you are having a lot of those issues, it’s probably your shoes. I remember sitting on a park bench and messaging my friend, and I was like, “What is going on?” I was running in some stupid Pumas that were meant for looks and not for running. It was combination of my shoes, and tip number three, socks.
Don’t wear cotton socks. I actually was trying to look for socks to show you guys, but all of mine are in the dirty clothes. That’s another tip for another video. There’s a lot of laundry that comes along with the running world. I stick with Features or Balega socks, anything that has more of like a synthetic material with it, not straight cotton. They are more expensive, but I’m going to tell you right now, if you don’t get that, you stick with the cotton sock, you’re going to be in pain, and you’re going to spend more money on healing the blisters, and also on the Band-Aids and everything that you’re going to have to put on there, and you’ll probably end up missing a couple of days of running. Not that I speak from experience or anything.
Couch to 5K app. Get your gait analysis. Get the right shoes. Get the right socks that you’re going to have. And that’s relatively all you need to get started. Obviously, the major goal of whatever the first race is going to be. I think a 5K is a good start. A one mile is a great start, or wherever you’re at in your fitness. But that’s the story of how I got started. It’s nothing fancy, and looking back, I used my fitness pal to track some of my runs, and it is some of the worst runs I’ve ever had, but as I look back, it’s some of the best runs I’ve ever had, because it put me on this path to be enabled to be healthier and to lose the weight.
If you guys have any questions about anything I said on this, please feel free to reach out. Again, I’m not a professional. These are just everyday athlete tips to help you guys get moving and to dig into some self care of running.