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How to Run (It Feels Good, I Swear)

Running Tips

Last weekend, I was supposed to run the NYC Half Marathon. But the universe had other plans…

Like so many things, the race was canceled. Soon after, gyms around the country were closed. Suddenly, running — a solo activity that can be done outdoors, away from other people — seems more important than ever, for both our health and our mood.

Though I haven’t always liked it (and sometimes still begrudgingly pull on my leggings and drag myself out the door), running invariably feels great. The wind in your face, the feeling of your own heart beating, the sense of being alive. Afterward, my mood is always lifted and my anxiety lessened. (Doesn’t that sound good right about now?)

If you’re interested in picking up a new running practice or rekindling an old routine, here are some helpful things I’ve learned over the years. And if you’re a longtime runner, please share your own tips in the comments!

Go at Your Own Pace
For a running practice to be sustainable, you have to want to do it again. So, start small and build slowly. Take it one meter, one block, one mile at a time. If you’re brand new to running, it’s okay to walk as much as you run. Find a pace that you feel you could comfortably maintain for a long time. Do not go so fast that you huff and puff like the Big Bad Wolf. (Long, deeper breaths provide the body with more oxygen than short, shallow ones.) Do not concern yourself with catching up to that speed demon in the park. Do not feel the need to run any amount, or any distance, before you feel ready. You are doing excellent just by being out there.

But! Don’t Be Afraid of a Challenge
I know, I just told you to go slow and now I’m telling you to challenge yourself. Choose a future goal that’s appropriate for wherever you are right now, like running a solid mile or tackling the loop in your nearby park. Or, consider a race. I never loved running until I ran my first road race when a friend strong-armed me into it, and then I was hooked. Races are such a thrill — you experience the full range of emotions and feel like part of a greater whole. (There likely won’t be any in-person races for a while, but you can still sign up for virtual ones.) Once you have your goal in mind, find a plan to help you get there. (These programs are a classic.)

Listen to What Moves You
For some, that might be a killer playlist. For others, your favorite podcast. For others still, the meditative sound of your own breathing. When I know my uplifting playlist is waiting for me (give me ALL THE SIA), I look forward to my running time as an emotional and spiritual pick-me-up. Perhaps it goes without saying, but don’t listen to your music on full blast, so you can be aware of your surroundings and stay out of harm’s way.

Recovery Is Your Friend
First things first, stretch to prevent injury. That’s so important I’m going to say it again in all caps. STRETCH. Immediately following your run. Here’s a handy guide to get you started. And, while we’re all stuck at home, in-person stretching studio Racked is currently offering daily stretch-from-home classes on Instagram Live.

Just as importantly, HYDRATE! Drink water both before and after you run. Proper hydration helps with muscle recovery and keeps you feeling good.

A foam roller is wonderful for rolling out muscles before and after runs. Rolling your feet over a tennis or yoga ball (or a spiky massage ball) feels great, as well.

Ever since dancer Courtney Lavine touted the healing powers of Arnica, it’s been a go-to part of my recovery kit. If you’re not familiar, it’s an herb (typically found in cream or gel form) used to treat bruising and muscle soreness. Personally, I’ve found it really works!

If you’re serious about training and looking for a more intense recovery routine, I adore my Hypervolt massage device. I thought about it for months before taking the plunge, but it quickly became an essential part of my nighttime routine.

Recruit a Coach
Many people swear by running clubs or coaches. For an in-person experience, classes like Mile High Run Club have coaches who offer feedback about breathing and technique tailored to your level. For remote running support, there are many apps tailored to different levels, like Couch to 5K (for beginners) or Strava or Nike+ Run Club (for more seasoned runners). There are even options like Zombies, Run!, a running story app, with narration where zombies “chase” you and you have to speed up.

Gear Helps
Back in the day, whenever I got a weird free T-shirt at an event, I’d say, “I’ll wear it to the gym!” Now, I marvel at the fact that my gym clothes are some of my nicest! But I’ve found that quality gear can be a real motivator.

Good running shoes are a must. Either go to a specialized running shop, or read the online reviews, which are often copious and will let you know how a certain style fits. An ideal fitting shoe feels snug in the heel and mid-foot, and has about a thumb’s width of space at the front, to avoid your toes kissing up against the shoe and causing angry toe nails. (Had ’em! They’re not pretty.) The rule of thumb is to buy running shoes at least a half size larger than you typically wear, because your feet swell as you run.

Beyond that, I recommend a pair of wireless sport headphones (which loop around your ear to stay in place), sweat-wicking fabrics, and a lightweight waterproof jacket if you plan to run in the rain.

Find the Greater Why
Maybe it’s cardiovascular health. Maybe it’s carving out some meditative me-time. Maybe it’s quelling anxiety. Maybe it’s going a distance you didn’t think you could run. Personally, running races for charity keeps me motivated to continue whenever it starts to feel tough. No matter your reason, find something that resonates with you, and let it carry you forward, one step at a time.

If you’re a runner, what would you add? What helps motivate you and keep you healthy? We’d love to hear.

P.S. The art of (bad) running and how to run even when you dread it.

(Photo by Nicki Sebastian.)

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  1. Elizabeth Milligan Cordova says...

    For beginning or veteran runners, The Happy Runner by David and Megan Roche is absolutely delightful – as a running + life philosophy book!

  2. I love running! The only thing missing from your gear section is the need for good sports bras – maybe a future post idea? But really boob chafe is no joke and if they bounce around too much they get sore – and I have small boobs so idk how to more endowed manage!

    • Cynthia Miller says...

      Try two bras at once? One of my friends does that and when I finally take up running I plan to, too.

  3. Mina says...

    I have tried many times, but never really gotten to that point with running where I don’t hate pretty much every step. But this post was really inspiring and I feel motivated to give it a go. With 3 kids currently banned from school (schools are still open here in Stockholm, Sweden, but my kids have a cough so we’re staying home), and trying to juggle working from home and home-schooling, we have been going for bike rides in the evenings before dinner. Maybe I’ll run while they ride one of these days. Thanks CoJ – love how you very often give me that little nudge I need to improve myself and my life.

  4. Claire says...

    A few years ago I was running around a soccer field, admiring the men playing. Soccer players, in my opinion, are the most fit athletes with the best bodies. It struck me as I ran past that many of the players on the field were walking. I thought to myself how ridiculous it would be if they were to beat themselves up about the fact that they were walking. They wouldn’t, because it’s part of the game. So that’s how I try to frame when I need to walk during a run. As long as I am still getting out there, it’s all part of the game.

  5. Claire says...

    When I run, which isn’t often, I run for mental health. I love to travel. It would be very motivating for me if I signed up for a 1/2 marathon in a beautiful city that I’ve never been to. Buying a flight would also keep me accountable to the goal.

    Curious what are the most beautiful places other readers have run 1/2s? First thought was Colorado but then thought the altitude might be a beast. Second thought: Portland, ME.

    • Andi says...

      Hi Claire-

      I was supposed to run the Antelope Half this year and decided not to travel with everything going on- but the company that hosts it has incredible looking races! https://vacationraces.com

  6. Erin says...

    I am an occasional runner but now that we are all isolated and my kickboxing gym has closed, I am running again. I’ve been using the Couch to 5K app and it’s great. I like being able to check out and being told to run, walk or stretch. I have been adding a few extra rounds of running because I have been feeling great. I am already loving running and will definitely continue when I can go back to punching and kicking

  7. Katha says...

    This post is so timely for me. I hated running so far. But lately (a.k.a. during my stroller-walks around the park keeping a distance and otherwise spending the days indoors – hooray for yoga with Adriene) I caught myself thinking about it. Never have I felt the urge to move more than necessary (not a sports person). But these days… So maybe after this encouraging post and comments I’ll give it a try.
    Just need to find a good sports bra first.

  8. Marjan Hammink says...

    Running is still allowed here, but I wonder when it’ll be forbidden (people have ignored social distancing, alas).
    This must have been mentioned in the comments, but what got me started again two years ago was sticking to the ‘couch to 5k’ app. Got me running 5k in 8 weeks. Working towards my first half marathon right now.

  9. I’ve been training for my very first triathlon since January and it was just cancelled :/ I’ve had absolutely no motivation to make time in my new life of social distancing to keep training without a goal but now I just may get out there because I am dying to try this zombie run app!

    xx

  10. C says...

    Yes. Running is an intensely personal thing for me. My husband (boyfriend at the time) encouraged me to start 8 years ago when I was stuck in an awful job, staying in bed as much as possible, gaining a lot of weight, and falling ill with some new virus every month. The first few months were torture. I mean, I grew up in a very unhealthy family and had never sweated for anything in my life or eaten a meal that didn’t contain sugar. So, running my first quarter mile was a victory; I’d never pushed my body that much. And then a half-mile. Then a mile. Then two. Then, finally, painfully, barely running at a snail’s pace, three. We moved from the permafrost of the Midwest to Colorado, so I’m very lucky that even in our snowiest months (March and April), we’ll have a moderate 3-6 inch snowfall on a Thursday, but have enough melt and sun by Saturday to get in another run on the trail. When we changed elevation in the move, I basically had to start my training over again, but finally worked my way up to 4.5 miles! Then…training started again after an injury. And at first, it really sucks. People are passing you left and right and you have to walk every 10 minutes. But each time you get a little farther. And then you’re finally back to your old routine. What I found is that running is the thing that helps me complete the stress cycle (Emily Nagoski, anyone?) and a place where I can simultaneously let my demons yell at me and degrade me while my deeper stronger self steps in and says “Hey, stop with your bullshit. Look at her go!” I’m always refusing running partners and races because it’s my thing, my solitary thing that reminds me that even when I’m my most depressed, that being alive is good.

  11. Rosanna says...

    I am a truly terrible runner – elderly ladies overtake me effortlessly – but I love it. Now, stuck in my small apartment in Madrid, I miss it with a deep, visceral longing. If you’re thinking about starting to run, I think it can be helpful to say to yourself “I get to run” instead of “I should run.” It’s a privilege!

    • Suz says...

      Ugh! Rosanna! I feel for you and our planet. In Australia we are coming to the realization that this will happen to us to. I’m going to run this afternoon for you. Lots of love from Aus 🤗

    • Rosanna Thomson says...

      Thank you Suz! That just made my day :) Wishing you the best of luck down under. Have a wonderful run!! Xx

  12. Patricia A Perez says...

    I run seasonally (aka spring and summer). My doggie is a big motivator—she needs a lot of daily exercise so, I’m already giving her 40 minute walks…might as well make it a run. Plus, i love the look on people’s faces when they see us together. The NRC app is addicting and they have wonderful guided runs. My favorite is the ‘Thank You’ run.

  13. Zena says...

    Can you share a link to the shoes you are wearing the photo? They are so cute!

  14. Vava says...

    I ran a marathon some years ago and immediately stopped running afterwards. LOL. How strange, huh? I prefer hiking, walking around town, bike riding.

    • christie says...

      LOL- same here!

  15. Katherine says...

    Not a runner but absolutely agree that you gotta find some form of fitness and go with it. For me it’s high-intensity reformer pilates. Whatever it is, make it part of your routine. I work out for my mental health and that’s what keeps me motivated

  16. Allison Lipsman says...

    Would love for you to make/share a running playlist on Spotify! Thanks!

  17. Poppy says...

    If anyone is in the market for further running inspiration, may I recommend reading ‘Jog On’ by Bella Mackie, and ‘Running Like A Girl’ by Alexandra Heminsley?

  18. Kelly says...

    Where’s your outfit from, Caroline?

  19. Agnès says...

    In France, running is not allowed for more than 2 to 3 kilometers. So, yoga with adrienne for right now…

    • Kiki says...

      is this all the time? Or just recently? I ask because I had a friend (a few years ago) get stopped by police on her morning jog in Paris. They thought she was in danger! Is running not a thing there at all?? So fascinating :)

  20. Hannah says...

    I love the Zombies, Run app! I’m actually a legacy member (meaning I started using it years and years ago), though I’m still in season two, which tells you a lot about my running. ;)

    For most of the year, I do bodyweight fitness – I use Mark Lauren’s programm (available online and for home workouts primarily). But as soon as the weather is better and the mornings are lighter, I return to running. And especially in times like these, getting outside and getting some air, preferably alone, is so important!

  21. Heather says...

    Find the greater why…yes!! Absolutely..for me..it’s my mental health more than anything..I started running to get in shape but it has turned out to be the best thing for my mental well being and a great way to clear my head..

  22. Rachael says...

    My advice for running is to not walk during your run! Oops- I said it. But hear me out. Run as slow as you need if you’re feeling like you need a recovery mid-run, or better yet-start your mileage low (1/4 mile is still an accomplishment!) and increase ever so slowly at a realistic rate that is comfortable for your body. Even for my ‘long run’ days, I only ever add one more mile to last weeks mileage. You’ll get faster eventually, I promise. If walking isn’t an option your brain learns how to push and pace, and your body learns how to endure. On your slow days you may find yourself ‘running’ at a walking pace, and that’s okay!! Keep on going! There is something about that rhythmic pounding of tennis shoes against the pavement that alieves my anxiety and calms my heart. I’m getting that jittery/nervous/excited feeling just thinking about someone experiencing a run for the first time!! Go, go, go!

    • Eva says...

      100% agree! For me if I stop mid run I have a really hard time getting into it. If I slow down considerably but still run it’s easier to pick up the pace. But whatever rocks your boat I guess :)

    • I second this! I finally Broke the back of “being a bad runner” this past year and am now working toward a half marathon and then the marathon (so far 1/2 is cancelled). I used to run too fast starting out, and would get shin splints and just generally feel like every step was a fight. I started running with My Aunt, who is running her 10th marathon this year and she trains slow. I thought, “this is fun! I can breath! I can keep going” :) It was an epiphany for me. She said her trainer recommended this slower pace to build capillaries and lower your heart rate, you slowly increase your pace. over time… Also, Strength train! Even if it’s just body weights or adding a simple kettle bell – planks planks planks :) Good luck out there! xo ~K

    • Jane says...

      As much as it pains me to consider this, your advice makes sense re why I’ve never been able to push past the slog and into the endorphin zone. I’m going to give it 90 days and see if it improves how I feel about my run. Thank you!?

    • K says...

      Not a runner, but I’ve found I can walk/hike great distances as long as I do not stop. Even when climbing up a mountain, at that point where it really sucks, I know the only way I will reach the top is if I keep my feet moving, however slowly that needs to be. You can regain breath control or work out a cramp by pacing around in circles or stretching, but I do not come to a complete stop or sit down until I reach a destination. Stopping makes it so much harder to get going again. Yep, it is wonderful, that high from realizing you went farther or faster than you thought you were capable!

  23. Amelia Szasz says...

    I don’t love running and never have. Of course these days it’s so nice to get outside. A good playlist is a must for me and I recently was gifted AirPods. I have one pair of running pants with a zipper pocket for my phone, but otherwise I’m never quite sure how or where to carry it. What do people like to use to carry their phones/music?

    • Amy says...

      A Koala clip! It fastens onto the inside of your sports bra, on your back. Sounds weird but it’s so comfortable, totally sweat-proof, and fits a huge variety of phones!

    • Eva says...

      A running belt! Holds your phone, keys and whatever other small things you need :)

    • Fatema says...

      http://www.flipbelt.com

      I had the same problem, so I ordered one of these, and it’s amazing! I do recommend getting the combo deal with the water bottles as well. They fit perfectly inside.

  24. Sarah says...

    Highly recommend the Nike audio guided runs on the NRC app and the Peloton outdoor runs. Both are excellent mod boosters and emotional releases

  25. Meg says...

    I’m a new runner too! I ran my first 15k “virtually” last weekend when Portland’s 25,000-person Shamrock run was canceled. Running has changed my relationship with pain in unexpected ways. My knees hurt in the first few weeks, but my wonderful physical therapist suggested taping and icing them— and they completely adjusted and became pain free. I read a few weeks later that running actually improves knee cartilage! The same with my shins- at first I was fearful that pain in them would be insurmountable, but I learned it was my body’s way of telling me to adjust something- so I did. I thought that at 34 my relationship to my body was “set,” but I have been so surprised to trust it in new ways and discover I am so much stronger than I knew! I am not condoning ignoring pain— but reconsidering it carefully with help from an expert can be incredibly helpful while getting started.

    • veronica says...

      I love this. Thanks Meg!

  26. Cas says...

    I wish there was more conversation and awareness of how difficult running (And other night impact exercise) can be after birth and recommendations to support and promote pelvic floor health. I had no idea how important it was until it was too late, and recommendations beyond kegals. It impacts soooo many people after birth and is very under discussed.

  27. Kristin says...

    Don’t think, just go!

  28. Akc says...

    I run to get high. Toward the end of my runs (usually 4-7 mi) I push myself to run faster. That climax is the best feeling in the world. Once you feel it you get hooked on running.

    • Rachael says...

      runners high is real and so cool to experience. I am never in a bad mood after a run.

  29. Sally says...

    I was supposed to run a 1/2 marathon along the Grand Canyon last weekend, but um, yes, the universe had other plans…. my suggestion: let’s all agree we’re “jogging”. It takes some of the intensity away, and then you can find a comfy pace that gives you wings. Do it! – it works!

    • Lizzie Cogan says...

      Funny I much prefer “running” and “slow running”.

  30. Jes says...

    Starting running after age 40 and I am totally fine with being a slow runner. A few things I’ve embraced:
    1. scheduled walk breaks, especially when just getting started with running (or going long distance)
    2. The first mile is the worst (for me) so I tell myself if I am still miserable after mile one, I can turnaround and walk home.
    3. Getting a dog has helped motivate me!
    4. Find a local running club when group runs can start back up. My local club has monthly tortoises and hare races, in which slower runners start first so that no matter what your pace, everyone finishes around the same time.

  31. My fiancée is training for a 10k now and I’ve gone on two runs with her (the first in my life since… elementary school??) but I go for 0.5 mile or “that tree” :) I realized doing it with someone instead of on my own is what makes it worthwhile and not miserable

  32. Kerry G says...

    I would like to make one tiny request: in this scary time of coronavirus, PLEASE do not breath into the faces of people you pass on the sidewalk. I have had this happen to me multiple times just this week, so now when I see a runner approaching me (in either direction) I have to step into the street to avoid the blast zone. Thanks for keeping everyone safe!

    • Rita says...

      I’m having trouble with this on my regular mountain bike rides up a popular 4wd track. Suddenly there are five times as many runners, walkers and bikers and I feel like I’m risking my health passing and being passed by so many panting people. I can’t help thinking that if I can smell their perfume, then I’m getting a little bit of ‘them’! As for the sweaty guys on bikes, arghgh. The men in my life think I’m being paranoid.

    • jane says...

      Start earlier in the day to beat the crowds. . .

  33. Amy says...

    I read this right after getting back from a run :)

    My tip for new runners is to plan on having it suck for the first four weeks but if you stick with it, it’ll be so much better after that. My other tip is that I always do my runs based on number of miles rather than time. That way, I know that if I run faster, it’ll be over sooner.

    • Suzanne says...

      How many days a week do you recommend when starting out Amy?

    • Marjan Hammink says...

      agree! use a ‘couch to 5k’ app – it’ll guide you flawlessly

    • veronica says...

      My tip is to run for as long you want. Haha.

      That was actually why I started running last year: I didn’t have time to do any other form of exercise. 18 mins or 11mins, or 33mins, that was it! So I do my best to make each of those time slots count. Maybe I didn’t reach the palm tree last week, but I’ll get there this time.

      Embrace the flexibility of running, new runners. And if you peruse blogs or people that are snobby about it, come back here. We’ll cheer you on! :)

  34. Gretch says...

    I run half marathons too. I’m not sure if I like running, or like that I can run; it’s a great way to clear my head.
    And I second what others have said. The first mile is the hardest. Working up to running 1 mile is harder than working up to two miles. And the first five minutes of any run are never pleasant.

  35. Mindy says...

    I started running about a year ago using the Couch to 5k app. When I started, I couldn’t run more than .2 miles without getting winded. I ran my first race – a 5 miler in November – and have since run 3 5ks, each time beating my previous PR. I wouldn’t tell you I like running, even now. In fact, most of the time I hate it. But I love the feeling about a mile in, wind in my hair, anxieties somewhere behind my breathing, the instant connection to birds, the trees, the elements – it’s magic. It’s done so much good for me that I can get over how bad my quads feel sometimes.

    • Cherie says...

      I have been running for ten years now and I started (very unfit, couldn’t run to the end of my street!) with the Couch to 5K program. Highly recommend as a great starting point. I now run several times a week, both competitively and for fun, on the path and on the soft sand at the beach.

  36. Amanda says...

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a foam roller? I have a small trigger point, grid foam roller at home. While it’s great, it can be a bit too intense for me at times. Plus, it would be nice to have a longer foam roller too.
    Also, has anyone brought the cheaper models of theragun? Worth it? Or should I pony up for the full monty?
    One last question, does anyone have any suggestions for where to buy restorative yoga props for at home practice? Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

    • Katy says...

      I ordered a really plain one off amazon and it is great. Look for a really firm one in the reviews. It was less than $20

  37. The best advice I can give to new runners: it’s ok to walk. In fact, intervals are great no matter what level runner you are. You can build up endurance and burn more calories. Whenever I get back into running, I do a slow jog for 10-15min, then 3 or 4 intervals of 1min hard run, 1min walking. Then I finish with another 10-15min slow jog. Gradually you can work up your intervals so you are running longer. And you can swap the walking with skipping instead (it is harder work to skip than you might imagine!). You’ll be surprised when your work out is suddenly a solid 50-minutes.

    • Aunth067 says...

      Totally agree with this. Walking burns calories too! I have done a full marathon, currently training for my 4th half. I swear by walking during my runs, it’s a huge part of the enjoyment for me, AND motivates me to push harder when I know I have a break coming. I also find that planning the time and route to have a mile (or more!) to walk at the end is a lovely warm-down, highly recommend.

  38. Meredith says...

    I would add that cross-training and strength-training are key! Both to increase your overall fitness and to avoid injuries. During this time of social distancing (but really all-the-time), I highly recommend fitnessblender.com. Always FREE, very varied workouts for all fitness levels, many require no equipment, etc.

  39. Kamina says...

    I begrudgingly took up running at the behest of my husband (an enthusiastic runner) about 3 months ago. Now I’m so glad I did! It’s an activity I can still do under social distancing conditions and a reason to get out of the house every couple of days. My husband and I run short distances while having a conversation or longer distances with podcasts in our ears. I’m incredibly thankful for running right now. And I was the most reluctant runner in the world. We started by shuffling for 2km with me complaining all the way and now I can run an easy 7km without slowing to a walk. It’s not as hard as you think!

  40. Meg says...

    I too was all set to race a half marathon this Sunday in Philly (as part of a weekend visit with my girlfriend since childhood who lives there–double bummer). To be honest though, I’ve always loved the daily practice of running/training more than the race itself for the exact reasons you describe. I ran competitively at a D1 college but it took a few years afterwards for me to finally realize how important it is for my mental wellbeing. 99% of the reason I run now is to manage anxiety and improve my mood. Focusing on that instead of changing my physical body or looking a certain way has made ALL the difference.

    Anyway, it’s been a little joy amidst the chaos of this virus to see so many new people out running in my neighborhood. My message to anyone new to running is this: if you think all of the “real” runners will notice you or judge you for your pace or distance, I can promise you we won’t. We’re just happy to have more people to smile and nod to. If you run, you’re a runner!

  41. riye says...

    I had a knee replaced so its tough to run outdoors although running on an indoor track or treadmill works fine. My local gym is closing tomorrow so I’m looking at doing yoga at home, walking in the neighborhood, and climbing the stairs in my apartment building (41 floors). Work is a ghost town now so I might walk in the parking structure and do the stairs there as well. I just try to make sure to keep aware of my surroundings at all times.

    Good luck everybody! Stay safe and sane!

  42. Tracey says...

    I love this! I have a few half marathons under my belt and am in the middle of training for my first full, the Colfax Marathon here in Denver in May, which has yet to be cancelled, but I feel like it’s inevitable. But, oh well, like so many others, running is my saving grace right now. It’s the only thing that relieves my anxiety and grounds me at the end of the day during these uncertain times. Love hearing from all these other runners! My best advice, as others have said, is to just stick with it. Some miles, some days, are gonna feel like crap, but that’s OK, just keep moving and know that it’s just that mile or that day that sucks. It always gets better. :)

  43. xenawpx says...

    Been a runner for nearly 15 years. On and off, through injuries and hard life times and good life times. Two pieces of (related) advice:

    1.) Slow down! Go slower than you think you need to, especially as a beginner. You will enjoy your runs more.
    2.) The first mile will ALWAYS suck. Always. Forever and ever amen. If you can get past the first mile (with as many breaks, or as slow as you need), you can probably finish your run :)

  44. Momzi says...

    This is incredibly complicated. Just run <3 PS. Magnesium for recovery. And just run <3

  45. lkb says...

    Oh, I was so smug about having running during this social distancing period. And then, mid-run today, something went way wrong in my back and I can barely walk. I know it’ll only be a few days of recovery (I HOPE), but even so, I miss running already. It’s finally beautiful outside–perfect running weather!

  46. Megan says...

    I would add the tip: don’t be afraid to take breaks! If you want running to be enjoyable, sustainable without growing to loathe it, listen to your body. Find a type of running that works for you. If going for a run first thing in the morning sounds less appealing than getting a root canal (as it does for me) don’t do it!

  47. Amanda says...

    Love this! thank you!!

  48. awads says...

    As a long-time runner, i feel like it’s really paying off now. i mean, it’s always paid off in terms of health (physical and mental), but now it is my absolute saving grace! i would recommend that you really commit to it, if you start. It’s so hard to build endurance, but once you do, it’s magical! ok, sometimes it does suck. Do it anyway.

    Please watch “Brittany Runs a Marathon” on Amazon streaming!!

    • mandy says...

      Yes that was such an inspiring movie!

  49. Neela says...

    Does anyone have tips for me? I used to be a twice-weekly jogger, managed a 10k in an hour at one point. But since having 2 kids I haven’t run again (nearly 4 years now)- partly because I barely have time for exercise, and partly because I went to pelvic floor re-training after birth and the therapist told me that running was the worst possible exercise for a weak pelvic floor. I ran once or twice since then, and haven’t been able to stop imagining my PF bulging out like a trampoline on every step!

    So my question for mums (preferably those who might have had light stress incontinence) who have gotten back into running- what were your steps? How did you build up again?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Lindsey says...

      My friend Sara is a runner and a PT who does PFPT, she has an IG @pelvicpotential. She has tutorials on running with a stroller and maintaining your PF. She has just had to cancel all in person appt’s and is now doing online consults until this C19 mess is over. Good luck!

    • H says...

      My PF PT told me to run with a tampon in! She said it helps slowly train your PF muscles to wake up. It’s worked for me!

    • Neela says...

      Great, thanks guys!

  50. I says...

    I was once a runner, stopped, had 2 kids and have started 8 weeks ago. I hope to fulfill a 5k on my daughter’s first birthday in 2 weeks.

    These tips are great! I always stretch afterwards and walk for 5 minutes to cool down. I also use Runkeeper to track my runs. When I run outside, I just run wherever I feel like running. It is my alone-time, just me and my thoughts. When I run on the treadmill, I listen to podcasts to make it less boring.

  51. B says...

    I am a walker, as running is a migraine trigger for me, but I can attest to how good it feels to get out and get sweaty, especially when I’m anxious, which is 24/7 right now. I turn up my podcasts and go for as long as I can.

    One benefit of opting not to drive/never owning a car is that I’m well-versed in walking reasonable distances. I feel lucky to not tire after a mile and to be able to walk to the grocery store as needed.

  52. A says...

    I know how you feel, Caroline. I was supposed to run the LA Marathon a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t cancelled, but I voluntarily decided not to run it because 27,000 runners and the coronavirus together sounded like a bad idea. I don’t regret the decision, but I was still pretty bummed considering the 7 months of training that went into it (it would have been my first marathon). BUT! In hindsight, it really is the journey and not the destination. Running a race is great motivation (I have done a few half-marathons), but the determination to get up and run consistently is what I am most proud of.

    Also, as another reader said, don’t let that first mile dictate your run! That first mile almost always sucks, but push through! It’ll be worth it. :)

  53. Katherine says...

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed looking for gear to help you get started, The Wirecutter is an amazing resource for everything you need, at a range of price points: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-running-gear/

    For running I use the Aaptiv app, which at $10/month is well worth it in my opinion! They have amazing guided treadmill and outdoor runs, as well as guided stretching.

  54. Rose says...

    Another recommendation of the BBC Couch to 5k podcast! It got me running a couple of years ago and now I’m hooked. When it’s cold and rainy out I promise myself that I can turn back after 5 minutes if I really hate it – funnily enough, I never do! I like running off road and sploshing through mud and puddles makes me oddly happy.

    • Diane says...

      You inspired me to get the app and i did a run today and then did several sets of stairs! Thanks for all the great ideas here. I used to be a runner and then stopped in deference to other exercise, but right now it feels amazing. we have tons of hills and stairs in my neighborhood (Queen Anne in Seattle) so it couldn’t be more perfect.

  55. Dana says...

    I second the Peloton app. As a ClassPass member, and someone who thrives on someone telling me exactly what to do and when to do it any time I work out, running is difficult not because it’s strenuous, but because I want to be told what to do! I signed up for the Peloton free trial and have done several of their guided runs already. Can’t recommend it enough!

  56. teresa says...

    I like using the free Strava app to track my runs and progress. It has a gps tracker that maps your route including the distance and elevation. It keeps track of your pace and compares your progress if you repeat the same route. It also has a social media aspect so you can share your workout (run, walk, hike, bike, swim…) and get kudos from your other friends that are using the app.

  57. Christine says...

    Caroline! When I was a high school freshman in 1984 in Wall, NJ, Bobby Donofrio was my history teacher. He had a penchant for golf and plaid pants. That year, he and his wife welcomed a baby, whom they named Caroline. It’s got to be you! It’s too much of a coincidence not to be!

    • Neela says...

      Oh how cool!

  58. Elle says...

    I’ve recently learned why I have lower back problems and that running (for me at least) exacerbates that. So I’d like to add that fast-paced walking is really great too! I think exercise walking (not strolling) is really underrated. I love it because I can go a bit farther than I did with jogging (especially after some time off) and can still push myself with the pace. Hope this encourages someone to try walking if they don’t want/can’t jog.

    Stay active everyone!

    • Eleanor Frances says...

      Thanks. Good suggestion.

    • Kalli says...

      I hear you. I’ve walked for years as my main form of exercise, but will likely never transition into running. Only in my 30’s and relatively healthy in most ways, but had a back injury as well as a heart issue, so high impact/intense exercise could do more harm than good for me. Do what you can, just get some fresh air and movement if possible, away from others.

  59. Mimi says...

    Caroline, I’ve been searching your name on Apple Music for your running playlist. Of course, I could compile one from the suggestions, but I want to hear YOURS!! Please? :)

  60. Nicole says...

    Great post. Running, like starting anything new, will take time to become part of a routine. I might be easier to get going if you attach it to an existing activity or habit. I used to go as soon as I got in the door from work. I would throw on my running gear before I had time to think. Getting out the door is one of the biggest challenges. If I did anything else I would get side-tracked and not go.

  61. alison says...

    Hydration is SO important. You need to be hydrating before, after AND during your run! Your local running store has hand held water bottles that makes the task more comfortable.

  62. A says...

    The best!!

    If you are just starting running, two things that have really helped me over the last decade of running (at various distances and speeds):

    1) When you’re just starting to build your stamina it helps to focus on your breath. If you find yourself getting really out of breath try taking three breaths in through your nose and three breaths out through your mouth and do this for as long as you can. This helps modulate your pace (in case you’ve been speeding up and didn’t know it!) and also helps prevent cramps.
    2) You can have the best run of your life on a day when you think you’re not feeling it, and the worst run ever on a day when you are super amped and prepared. Stick with it! No matter if it feels like you’re running through sludge or traipsing on air, you still get the endorphins at the end :D

  63. Diane says...

    For real beginners the the BBC-sponsored Couch to 5k app is fantastic. Holds your hand through a gentle programme that both stretches and supports you. I am doing it with my daughter and highly recommend it.

  64. Liz says...

    Not a runner, but I once tried. One of the best pieces of advice I read on it was to: “Run so slow that if you saw someone you knew, you’d be embarrassed. Then if you do see that person you know, during this embarrassingly slow run, you just pretend you were coming to slow stop to tie your shoe.”

    • Tina, NYC says...

      Hilarious!
      And I totally must employ this tactic.
      Gosh, I hate running. Like despise it. Love sports that need time to run to play in them basketball, tennis, soccer but just running, nope.

    • Alice says...

      Hahaha that’s similar to my mindset which is always “however winded I look, NO ONE knows how long I’ve been running for. For all they know, I could have done 10km already!!”- it helps me not to feel embarrassed when I’m out of breath or red faced!

  65. Joyce Farnsworth says...

    Also, the best non-obvious running tip? When you go to sleep, make sure your feet are flexed. Lots of people have their feet pointed by the weight of the covers, and that makes for tight calf muscles and reduced ankle flexibility for runners.

    • Adrienne says...

      As a chronic plantar fasciitis sufferer, I second this! Also, untuck the covers at the bottom of the bed, to lessen the weight. Love this whole post! Happy running. :)

  66. Elizabeth says...

    Yes to Zombies Run!!
    I have run forever, but the fun/challenge aspect of the app is so motivating! They have training programs and used it to work up to 10 km, way faster than I’ve ever run. I am usually not into anything fantasy, action or sci-fi, but there’s something so compelling about it. I am aware there are no zombies chasing, but when the app tells me there are you, better believe I am kicking it into high gear and trying to drag my confused dog with me.
    Even if Zombies don’t turn out to be your thing, they have cool ones where you’re going on deep-sea dives or exploring space.
    As a bonus Naomi Alderman the badass feminist novelist is one of the creators, and it really comes across in the super inclusive plot lines. Try it!

  67. Betsy says...

    For all new runners but especially those with kids, check out Another Mother Runner. Sarah and Dimity have an enormous library of resources, including two training books and a podcast that covers every aspect of running you can think of.

    • Alex says...

      YES! I love AMR!

  68. Lee Ann says...

    Long-time long-distance runner, mostly on trails these days. I would suggest for a more meditative experience to skip the music — listen to breathing, your heartbeat and, if you can the sounds of nature.

    • Emily says...

      I wholeheartedly agree. I run in the city, so I don’t get nature sounds – but I love listening to my body and the sounds of the city around me.

    • Megan says...

      I agree. I recommend Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham. He’s a Buddhist monk who took up running to gain more insight into the connection between running and meditation to better answer his students questions, and then became a lifelong runner and marathoner! Food for thought for mindful running, and also a delightful intro to meditation.

    • awads says...

      i totally agree with you. no music! i listen to my inner thoughts and work out all of my life’s problems, and possibly everyone else’s. i live in a city and run in the very early hours of the day, so it’s also about being aware of my surroundings.

    • Renee says...

      My favorite running music is bird song. I run at 6am in Golden Gate Park and love to hear the birds wake up. It brings me into the present moment and reminds me of how wondrous our world is. They seemed especially happy and chatty this morning. I felt a bit envious that they weren’t bogged down with virus anxiety. Most likely, they were enjoying the less-polluted air!

  69. Karen says...

    The guided runs on the Nike+ running app are wonderful. They have some where they partnered with Headspace, and it’s great to have the coaches in your headphones to keep you focused and aware of what your effort should be at any given point and what that effort feels like in your body and also in your head! You can also play your own music at the same time.

  70. Eevin says...

    Running used to really HURT my body, so I didn’t do it much and when I did, I was suffering. Then, I hurt my back really badly, needed surgery and ended up in regular PT and then sports PT (which was GREAT!). My Physical Therapist *changed my running stride* and it changed EVERYTHING for me. It stopped being painful and started just being regular-exercise-hard. I’m NOT a medical professional, but/so I encourage folks who are uncomfortable running to play around with their strides and maybe get a little outside pro-input if possible. Now I love to run; it’s my main form of exercise!

    • Julie says...

      Yes— I was trying to run for years with an ankle mobility issue. I had no idea until I started PT this winter!

    • Megan says...

      After about ten years of running and 2 months into training for my first marathon, I started noticing the signs of my first running injury (IT band issues) and backed off right away. I learned how important strength training and stretching are, and started seeing a sports massage therapist/rolf practitioner who also helped me change my stride and posture. I think those steps are going to make this much more sustainable for me over the long run! Also, because I slowed down, did more cross training, and took proactive steps to heal and prevent the injury, I was eventually able to gradually ramp up my training and completed my first marathon!

  71. Amy says...

    If you are “of a certain age” (maybe over 40) I suggest you check with your doctor or health care provider before you begin running if you have never done it. Running is amazing for many reasons but it can be really hard on your body and may not be the best type of exercise for every body. Maybe try a brisk power walk if you are just starting out!

    • Heather says...

      Chiming in to say I loved Alex’s article. It helped to bring a sense of calm to what has been a very emotional week.

      I stepped away from running for a while in favour of spin class, but now that my studio is closed for health and safety I’m planning to get back into a running routine again. Thanks Caroline for the encouragement!

      Sending everyone in the COJ fam a great big virtual hug and wishes for health and peace right now. <3

  72. Daniela says...

    This post was timely as always, as I’ve been wanting to start a running regimen.

    But.. I would love some more tips on preventing injury if anyone has them! I love to run and it’s a huge anxiety relief for me, but inevitably whenever I start running again I sprain one of my ankles to the point of needing crutches. It seems to make my ankles weak and I always have an ankle give out on me (not even while running, last time I was just carrying groceries a few days after starting running!).

    I stretch and try not to over do it, but I’m terrified to start again without good injury prevention.

    • Julie says...

      If possible, physical therapy sounds like it might help you. I had issues for years and thought I just wasn’t supposed to run. Turns out I had an old sprain and a muscle imbalance in my hips. It finally got to the point where I was willing to spend the money and it has been so worth it. I went to a running sports medicine doctor first, and he sent me to PT.

    • OO says...

      I am NOT a runner but a friend who’s been running almost daily for the past 15 years told me that asphalt is much easier on the body than concrete. If there’s a path or a quiet street near you, that might help if you’ve been running on the sidewalk up to now.

    • Daniela says...

      Thank you to both of you! I’m going to try both tips :)

    • Tenley says...

      Hi Daniela! I ran Cross Country/Track & Field in college, and second the suggestion for physical therapy as a preventative measure, if you’re able.
      To get started, here are a couple things I picked up from my school’s athletic trainers:
      • For strengthening, exercises like toe pickups (See example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWFSgq_jCbo) and using your foot to draw the alphabet in the air (rotating through the ankle)
      • These goofy looking Myrtl Drills for strength through the hips: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85B1dfmgxrg)
      • Using a muscle roller to aid in recovery (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSpFjmmAFEI)
      • Running on grass, gravel, or dirt surfaces to help your joints

    • Rachel says...

      2nd year doctor of physical therapy student here. I’d highly recommend that you see a PT if you’re able to figure out what’s underlying the issue and get a running evaluation. Chronic ankle instability (repeated ankle sprains) is really common, and a previously sprained ankle significantly increases your risk for future ankle sprains. Fortunately, there are plenty of ankle strengthening exercises that a PT can prescribe for you. Some ankle strengthening exercises that we often recommend include walking on the heels/toes, drawing the alphabet, etc. This article has a bunch of common ones you can do at home: https://www.verywellhealth.com/ankle-exercises-a-complete-guide-2696480. This article from the American Physical Therapy Association can help you find a PT in your area and has more info on ankle instability https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-ankle-sprain. Hopefully this helps!

  73. Em says...

    I love this post! I was a (very) nonathletic kid and young adult. When I was in university and was fearful of gaining weight as a complete non-active person, I started running because I didn’t know how to do anything else. That was not the best reason to start, but man am I glad it was a motivator that has since led to a love of running. Note that love does not equal enjoyment or ease — like you, Caroline, I often am not in the mood and the first few kilometers are physically unpleasant. It nevertheless is a constant in my life that quells anxiety and allows me to focus on putting one foot in front of the other; nothing more, nothing less. If I am feeling low or not myself, a run will 100% of the time bring me back to my centre. It is also good for you and your health (though in the end, it has never had an impact on my weight).

    Tips wise, I agree with the above. Organized runs (often called ‘races’ but don’t think of them that way, because unless you’re a competitive runner then the term race is stressful and also inaccurate, because one’s time is completely irrelevant to the event itself) are awesome because the route is set out for you, no cars or traffic lights. This is key when running on your own outside – plan a route! I find it is difficult to have a good run when you’re unsure of your next turn, or whether there is a good enough sidewalk or path, etc. Also (personal preference) but I don’t love running with others. Some people want to chat (makes me extra tired and out of breath) and others will usually throw off my pace by being too fast or a bit slow (usually the former!) It is very much a me-time activity and I enjoy flying solo!

    Great post for the present times, thanks Caroline <3 now I just wish it would stop snowing up here in Calgary!

    • KP says...

      Hi Em! I’m in Edmonton and always want to try running, but how do you do it in the winter? I keep imagining myself slipping on ice and twisting an ankle… Do you use different shoes? Or do you simply not run outside in winter?

    • Em says...

      Hi KP! Nice to see another Albertan on CoJ! Hope you’re doing well and staying warm and healthy up in Edmonton :)

      While I have friends who run outdoors year-round with crampons (e.g. https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5044-174/NANOspikes-Footwear-Traction), I am a fair weather outdoor runner and prefer to run on treadmills in the winter. They’re not for everyone, but I enjoy being able to totally. zone. out. on a treadmill. It is also a good way to learn about pacing and to find a pace that works for you, because you can totally control the speed on a treadmill. I would recommend keeping the incline setting at at least 2.0 to mimic the added friction/resistance that comes when you’re back on pavement/trail/asphalt or any other non-moving surface! Good luck and happy running!

  74. Jenny says...

    Keep a distance when passing! I can’t run due to a bad back, but I’ve been going on long walks since Seattle shut down and holed up. So many runners don’t keep a distance when passing! This is annoying any day, but right now – if I can feel your breath you’re too damn close.

  75. Maryn says...

    Needed this post! Thanks for the extra motivation to finally get into running. It’s never been my thing, but lately I’ve wanted to make it my thing—and I needed this push. Excited to give Couch to 5k a try!

  76. Katharine says...

    Does anyone have suggestions for in-shape non-runners? I’m in good shape but I’m not a runner. Should I just use couch to 5k?

    • Beverly says...

      I prefer nike run club, you can dial in your level of fitness and goal distance.

    • Claire says...

      Couch to 5K and Hal Higdon both have some good plans! I’ve also used a generic walk-run schedule to come back from injury multiple times (e.g., 2-3 days of walking 4 mins / jogging 1, for 20-30 mins… then then next week walk 3.5 mins /jog 1.5, and so on working my way towards more running). It’s almost hard to be patient at first, but it’s a good way to ease your body into it!

    • Maura says...

      Yes! It’ll help you evaluate where you’re at. Depending on what you do, it’s probably a different type of fitness (and the reverse is true, too). Don’t be discouraged if you expected it to come easier to you, and you’ll probably have the advantage of getting into running shape a bit faster since you have a fitness foundation. Like Caroline says, I can’t emphasize taking it slow enough–you should be able to have a conversation while you’re running. Start with endurance. You can focus on speed later!

    • Betsy says...

      I’d vote yes for a couch to 5k for any non-runner, knowing that you can accelerate a little bit. Depending on what other exercise you do, you likely have some stamina but will use new muscles. Give it a week or two to figure out how sore you get and how quickly you recover.

    • Anna says...

      I’d recommend couch to 5k – try the first workout and if it’s wildly easy just skip to week 2. I’ve dropped in and out of running the past few years because of babies, career switches, depressive holes… but I always walk a lot (urban life) so when I’m ready to start running again I just go back to the beginning of couch to 5k and gauge how far into it I can skip. Generally I go – run 1: first workout. If that’s way too easy, run 2: week 2… and like that until I find the one that’s the right balance between challenging but not exhausting.

    • Alyssa says...

      I’d still suggest couch to 5k because even if you’re in good shape, your body still needs to adjust to running often to avoid injury. Running can take a toll on your body, and couch to 5k helps ensure you’re not jumping in too quickly. You might be able to start at week 2 or 3 though.

    • Lee Ann says...

      I second Hal Higdon. Good basic advice, easy to follow.

    • Leah says...

      Good question! I think one of the most common mistakes when beginning to run for people who are relatively fit is that they push too hard too fast. Running can be taxing on tendons around your knees, and you need to slowly build up their strength before tackling longer, harder runs…So even if it feels good in the moment, be conscious not to push it too hard otherwise it can lead to a variety of knee injuries!

    • Katharine says...

      Thank you all so much! I’ve gone running a few times this week and while it’s not physically hard in that I’m not super out of breath, I have weird aches and pains. I’ll back off a bit and take a look at some of these programs. I need to move to keep my sanity.

    • Marjan Hammink says...

      yes

  77. Audrey says...

    Love this post! Running seems so important to overall health during this wild time. Also, in case anyone is looking for more affordable wireless headphones …. I lost my nicer ones and needed a quick fix, so I popped into a city Target and bought their Heyday Bluetooth headphones for $20, and they work great! The reviews online aren’t that good, but I have had zero issues and am glad I saved $100.

  78. Samantha Klein says...

    My running advice: SPEND MORE MONEY ON YOUR SPORTS BRA THAN ANYTHING ELSE OTHER THAN SHOES.

    I just went to Outdoor Voices to grab my personal recommendation and I’m not seeing it there, which is causing mild panic. As a not super-busty but definitely not flat-chested runner, I can’t stress enough what a difference a good bra can make.

    • Samantha Klein says...

      It is/was the Outdoor Voices Zip Bra, for future reference. Hopefully they’ll bring them back if they’re currently sold out, because I’m working on amassing one for every day of the week.

    • Nectar says...

      What brands do you suggest?

      I did a long run this weekend and got my first sports bra-chafe. :(

    • Claire says...

      Which would you recommend? I’m a 30G and this is what has kept me away from most sports. I just physically… can’t comfortably do them. I’ve tried some sports bras but they don’t comfortably keep things in place without heavy “bounce?”

    • Roons says...

      Completely agree. I would recommend buying a sports bra in your bra size if busty, NOT a clothing size AND activity level. Athleta (https://athleta.gap.com), Title Nine (https://www.titlenine.com), specialty bra stores online or in person are great places to start. Not always cheap but so worth it.

    • Misha says...

      I second Samantha’s comment about investing in quality sports bras! They truly make all the difference. I’m a big fan of zip closure bras. I haven’t tried any by Outdoor Voices, but have amassed quite the collection of Victoria’s Secret high-impact zip sports bras.

    • Megan says...

      YES!! If I had to choose, I would hands down be choosier about my sports bra than my running shoes. I’m a D cup and I have worn nothing but the Cuz She Says So bra from Title Nine for the past 7 years and they’re worth every penny. They keep everything solidly in place and don’t give me uniboob, so that I actually feel comfortable, natural, and even sexy in my running clothes. I’ve also found that they hold up very well over time (of course don’t put your second most expensive piece of equipment in the dryer, ladies). They have other 4 and 5 “barbell” strength bras as well. They chafe a bit when I’m training, running often and for a long time – but chafing comes with the territory at that point and I tape up under the band if needed.

      https://www.titlenine.com/product/updated-cuz-she-says-so-bra-300702.do?sortby=ourPicks&refType=&from=fn

    • flossy says...

      I am a 30H and used to double up on bras when running until I found the Wacoal sport underwire bra. The underwire is actually on the outside so it’s super comfortable. The smallest band size is 32, but they tend to run small in the band so it works for me. Panache also makes a wired sport bra in a HUGE range of sizes. I love how supportive it is, but the cups are molded so it does draw a little more attention to the chest (not my fav look when working out).

    • Sabirah says...

      @claire I love the panache high impact sports bra. I’m a 34G so I feel you! There are often sales on figleaves and they carry other brands in “bra sized” sports bras. A good investment!

    • jane says...

      Can not recommend SheFit workout bra’s more. I stopped running because I couldn’t find a sports bra that actually worked. They also have sizes for larger women. They are on the pricier side but running is free so I figure it’s still money saved.
      I got this one in yellow and I love it:
      https://shefit.com/products/ultimate-flex-sports-bra-charged

  79. Jess K says...

    Long time reader, first-time commenter here. Also, a long-time very slow runner. I remind myself every time that I lace up my trainers that the first mile (or however long it takes to find your stride and rhythm) is a liar. Eventually, it feels better, if not good. Sometimes the whole run feels like a lie. But taking that time for myself and to think about my body instead of everything that’s running around my head always feels amazing when it’s done.

  80. natasha says...

    what are those nikes called?

  81. Jovana says...

    Jillian Michaels offers 2 running workouts on her fitness app: prepping for a 5K and a 10K. If anyone is interested.
    Also during this time, FREE 7 minute daily workout when you download her app. Everyday, new 7 min workout for FREE.

  82. OO says...

    I can’t recommend the app Couch to 5K enough. It starts off with walking and light jogging (mostly walking) for the first few days and gets a little more intense week by week over 9 weeks. I still haven’t gotten past week 7 (my knee started acting up after using a treadmill in the winter) but even that was a huge accomplishment for me, as the person who ran a 17-minute mile in high school.

    Bonus, the app is free. I also found perfectly suitable shoes and leggings at Target, so there was little investment up front. Time wise, it’s only 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week if you go at the app’s pace, which I found very reasonable.

    I am not affiliated with the app in any way, I just really like it!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’ve heard the best things about that app!

    • Rebecca says...

      I second this! I’ve always wanted to be a runner and finally realised that unless I actually got started it would never happen. This app not only got me out the door, but is turning me into someone who wants to get out the door. Plus I find it rather hilarious to hear Michael Johnson chime in and tell me how brilliantly I’m doing, or that it’s okay to slow down. Download it now!

    • Rosie says...

      Hi, I know you’re happy with the sneakers you bought at Target, but as someone who has blown her ACLs on both knees twice, has severe cartilage damage, and still manages to run, better shoes will make a world of difference with knee pain. Don’t pay attention to cuteness. Go to a running store where they will have you run on a treadmill and take a look at your feet and get you in something super supportive. Over the holidays, I tried to go for a jog in cute non-running specific Nikes because I forgot to pack my good ones, and I only made it a couple of blocks before I was in pain. Nice shoes make a huge difference. Think about it this way, yeah, the shoes are more expensive, but so is that doctor’s visit, the physical therapy you have to do after an injury, and the many Advil you have to pop.

    • MelB says...

      That’s how I got started running about 8-9 years ago. I have flat feet and wide hips, and I’m hardly built for running. But I love to be outside, it’s super efficient and it’s the perfect time to be with my friends. I’ve been doing a half-marathon most springs and falls as motivation to get me out the door. Once I spend the money on a race, I know I need to show up and be able to finish in a respectable time.

    • OO says...

      Rosie, I hear ya on the shoe front, but if you’re completely new to running I don’t think it hurts to start off with a cheaper shoe. Not everyone is ready to dive in feet first (lolol) when they start something new, especially if they’re on a budget. For walking and jogging the Target sneaks worked just fine. If I get back into it again I’ll probably invest in a real running shoe, because I agree with you that they definitely have benefits.

    • CD says...

      Everyone’s body (and gait) are different, so advising people to buy shoes from Target is bad–and potentially dangerous–advice. It’s SO important to buy shoes that work for your body in order to avoid serious injuries. Who knows–your knee issues may have even been caused by wearing the wrong shoes and not from running on a treadmill. You can get fitted for a real running shoe and shop around for older (thus, cheaper) models to save some cash.

  83. Emma Brett says...

    I used to hate running, I tried it a few times as my partner runs marathons but I hated it, I mean really loathed it and decided that I just wasn’t a runner. Then my brother died suddenly and unexpectedly and on the first anniversary of his death (which was also his birthday), I decided to mark it by raising some money for the Samaritans charity. I wanted a challenge, something really difficult, to make it worthwhile and I chose a 5k run. I couldn’t have done it without my partner who ran alongside me every single time, encouraging me but friends and family also started to donate money to my fund raiser and this was a huge motivating factor. I used the Couch to 5K which I’d highly recommend.

    Anyway, I really struggled but I managed to complete the 5k run on the anniversary and raised about £1,000. That was nearly 5 years ago and I still run on a regular basis. I don’t always enjoy it but sometimes it is just the best thing ever and I always, always feel great afterwards. I still use the Couch to 5k app when I have fallen behind a bit and not run for a while (which happens quite a lot). So there’s no such thing as ‘I’m not a runner’, honestly if I can do it anyone can. It’s free (apart from the importance of good shoes if you can afford them), it’s great for stress relief and it’s so good for your health.

    • (hello from someone else missing their sibling)
      <3

  84. kash says...

    Any ladies out there with a herniated disc or other lower body injuries that have recommendations for safe (but heart pumping) workouts? I just got diagnosed with a herniated disc hitting my s1 (which explains 2 years of leg pain!!) and I sooooo miss working out but don’t want to do more damage!

    • Audrey says...

      Liz Plosser, the EIC of women’s health, has a lower body injury and is posting workouts all the time on her instagram for people with similar limitations. Highly recommend!

    • Georgina says...

      I have a recurrent herniated disc (L5S1 which I think is the same as yours) and my physio has basically told me the only truly ‘safe’ exercise for me to do is Pilates. It was injured for a while and so now the left side of my whole lower back is weak. Pilates helps with that but I’m still really careful! I only went to physio after it fully prolapsed after a couple of years of being a bit ‘funny’ and I never want to experience that pain again! So not cardio but it is pretty good strength. Hope that helps!

    • Hello Kash, Ugh so sorry to hear about your discomfort. Wondering if you are familiar with Dr. John Sarno. He has passed away, but, he was a pioneer in healing back/sciatica/neck as well as other ailments. It is an alternative approach from traditional. Deals with Mind/Body. In fact there is a documentary about him called All The Rage and several years ago 20/20 did a piece on him which you can still find on youtube. I have found it to be kind of miraculous in relieving some intense back/sciatica pain.
      Wishing you wellbeing, Jane

    • jkbrennan says...

      Yes! I would love some ideas about this! After living (and exercising) with a badly herniated disc for many years, I eventually got to the point where physio and steroid injections were no longer effective. My surgery helped me tremendously, but I’m now wary of re-injuring myself, so I’ve avoided running. I’d appreciate any suggestions or feedback. I really miss my former barre and yoga workouts.

  85. These are excellent tips! I am really missing my gym and also got back into running this week.

    I’ve run two half marathons in the past few years, which I LOVED, and I trained starting with Couch to 5K (a very manageable app for beginner runners!). My other piece of advice is to find a breathing pattern that works for you! I breath slowly in, out, in my nose and then one long breath out of my mouth. Once I found this pattern, I was able to run a lot more comfortably.

  86. Kristen Coia says...

    The Peloton app is currently running a 90-day free trial, and there are outdoor running and walking workouts on the app that are great! The instructor coaches you on when to sprint, jog, recover, turn around, etc, and coaches you through the run/walk. Definitely recommend checking it out!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i didn’t realize peloton had running! thanks for the rec.

    • C says...

      Also love the Peloton app for stretching, yoga, meditation and strength videos that can all be done at home!