6 simple ways to become a runner

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It amazes me when people say that they ‘can’t’ run (note: I used to be one of them!) because realistically, when you think about it, running is just walking at a quicker pace. You can be unfit when you first start and you can hate it but we are all able to run in some capacity.

When I first moved to Bondi Beach last November, I couldn’t run. Translation – I was too unfit to run. Hardly surprising given that I was just getting over a serious illness requiring high dose steroids which had wasted my muscles and added a lot of weight.

But within a few weeks of starting I was running approximately a few kilometres several times a week up and down hills on the Bondi to Coogee coastal path. ‘I’m not a runner’ I would tell anyone who congratulated me but I was; it just took me some time to realise it.

And I want you to know that the biggest thing preventing you from getting out there is your mind (I know because I’ve gone through it) because it’s a lot easier than you think it is to get running so here are my six super easy ways to get into it…

Buy work out gear that feels comfortable not expensive

One of the biggest things, mentally, that prevents us from running is that when we look for inspiration to get fit we see incredibly toned men and woman in shorts and crop tops looking amazing and it puts us off.

We look on Instagram and see everyone wearing sculptured Nike shorts or an Addidas crop top and think we have to spend hundreds of pounds before we even begin. Wrong. Whilst everyone appears to be obsessed with LuluLemon over here, where cropped work out pants can cost approximately $80 but I bought mine for $15 in the local kmart. They work just as well (and they’re just as unflattering as the expensive stuff).

Invest in the RIGHT kind of work out gear

You only really need to invest in good running shoes when it comes to buying your work out gear. They will be taking the most pounding (run pun intended) and therefore need to stand up to a lot of wear and tear. Not only that but if you have a specific way of walking i.e. on the outer or inner side of your foot or you have a heavy step, buying a shoe that doesn’t fit your feet like a glass slipper means you can cause yourself all kinds of short and long term problems with your body.

Side note – if you have big boobs, another investment should be your running bra. Again, it doesn’t have to be an expensive brand but a logical purchase i.e. you don’t want to be buying a sports bra with spaghetti straps if you don’t feel it’s supporting you.

Find your style & don’t psych yourself out

Just like the way we walk, we all have our own way of running. Maybe you look quite posed running like a movie star or perhaps you’re more like Phoebe from Friends flailing all over the place. It doesn’t matter. And you know why? Because you’re running.

Try not to tell yourself that you ‘can’t run’ or that you won’t be able to complete the race you’ve signed yourself up for. Just run.

Don’t think about the distance or tell yourself that you you’re ‘so unfit compared to everyone else’. You’re running and that’s a great deal more than people sat on their sofas only talking about going for a run.

Maybe you need to aim for the next half kilometre to push yourself or tell yourself that you’ll run to the ‘next set of traffic lights’ and see how you feel after that.  I’m the latter and using ‘real’ markers to increase my distance each time I felt able to was a great way of doing it!

Some days, for reasons out of your control, you won’t be able to run because you’ll be too busy or you won’t be able to run as far as you did and that’s ok!

Set realistic goals

This is absolutely one of the easiest ways to fail before you’ve even begun.  Don’t sign up for a 5k run in a months’ time if you’ve never been running before.

Likewise, don’t tell yourself that you’ll run 4 times a week when you know you won’t have time.  There is a fine line between making excuses not to run and genuinely being busy which only you can know but going from zero runs to four a week is likely to do you more harm than good until you get into a routine.

As the saying goes; slow and steady wins the race.  So give yourself realistic expectations so as not to feel frustrated!

Get support and reward yourself

Everything in life is better with support so whilst you don’t have to announce your running goals or the race you’ve signed up for, why not ask a friend if they want to run with you or start a Facebook page or blog to document your journey if you do feel you want to share your goals. Maybe you want to tell no-one by the written journal you keep.  Support came come from many places.

And when you do start to achieve things such as your first kilometre or your first big race, reward yourself with something you’re looking forward to. Maybe you want to splash out on some new workout gear or have a night out with your friends with a few drinks; reward yourself for the ‘little’ achievements that feel so big!

Start

Put one foot in front of the other and just keep going at your own pace in your own time.

When I began my training I could only run 0.5km from the South of Bondi beach to the lifeguard tower in the middle without stopping and I had to walk back. Half a kilometre!! That’s all I could manage. But over time I ran a few steps further then managed a whole kilometre to the other end of the beach before managing to run the return trip. Before I knew it I was running a couple of kilometres to Tamarama Beach and back, then Bronte (4-6km depending on your start/end point) 4-6 times a week and on my furthest run, managed 8.4km along the coastal path with an elevation of 314m up and down the hills.

I never believed I would ever be able to run that far in my life! But I did it because I continually put one step in front of the other and celebrated my achievements.

And though I would never consider calling myself a runner, my friend who runs marathons all over the world does. He sat there over dinner one night listening to how I felt when I ran – that I hated and loved it in equal measure but that I couldn’t think of ‘walking’ as exercise anymore and he said that is how he knew I was a runner because of the mental peace I felt despite the physical difficulties I experienced.

So to you out there who say ‘I can’t run’, I have this to say to you:

Put one foot in front of the other and your feet will take you the rest of the way.

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