So, you’ve downloaded some 12 week beginners running program, splashed out on some fancy new running shoes, carefully curated the PERFECT Spotify playlist, mapped out a route to run, and, at the crack of dawn, you step out your front door, stretch and begin to run.
And for a few glorious moments you’re sailing through the streets like a gazelle, your eyes focused, ponytail streaming behind you as you take long, powerful strides.
You’re a goddess.
A FITNESS INFLUENCER!
Actually you’re quite puffed, come to think of it. Your legs aren’t quite that powerful, in fact they’re in pain. It hurts!
Your whole face is red, fuschia, beetroot! You can’t breathe, your legs won’t work. Why won’t they WORK?
YOU’VE ONLY GONE HALFWAY DOWN THE STREET!
Beyonce’s still on the first chorus of Single Ladies. You stop. You’re exhausted. You’re embarrassed. “How am I ever going to run, if I can’t make it more than 200 metres down the street?!” you think, berating yourself.
Well, here’s three reasons why you’re not making it further the end of your street….
You’re going too fast
Running is not really running.
At least, not when you first start out. I think most people assume that running means, y’know, a super fast, confident pace. But it’s not. A slow shuffle is perfect! So, GO SLOWER!
If you start to struggle and feel like stopping, go slower again.
If this means you’re going so slow that the lady walking her 18 year old toy poodle starts to overtake you, that is perfectly fine!
And if you find yourself thinking “Why am I bothering to run if I could walk faster?” Well, running and walking are two very different movement patterns.
So by running (no matter how slow you are going), your body is learning the movement pattern for running. The more you do it, the better you’ll get! Slow and steady, my friend!
2. You’re being a dickhead to yourself.
Listen to what’s going on upstairs in your head when you’re running or thinking about running.
Are you saying things to yourself like:
“Wow, I’m really proud of you mate. This is tough but you’re sticking to it”.
“You’ve got this!”, and;
“Yes! Just one more lap to go!”
Or are you thinking things like:
“You’re never going to get faster”,
“This is embarrassing, what’s the point?”,
“I bet that dog walker thinks I’m pathetic”, and;
“I should have never stopped going to the gym last year”??
Be honest. Which one sounds more like you?
If it’s the latter, you’re being too harsh to yourself!
In my running program, Run with Turia, I share lots of strategies to shut that inner mean voice down.
But for now, start by being kinder to yourself. Notice when your inner mean girl comes out to play.
And remember, when you plant a sunflower seed, you don’t stomp on it the minute it starts sprouting tiny green fronds, yelling “That’s not a sunflower!”, just because it doesn’t look like what you expect.
You water it, you give it sunlight, you care for it. And over time, that little sprout becomes a giant yellow flower.
Don’t expect to become some perfect, fast runner straight away, and don’t be a dickhead to yourself while you’re learning and growing and getting better.
3. You’ve brought your ego along for the ride
Here’s the thing:
When you first start out (and even when you’ve been running for a while), you’re gonna be slow. And if you’re not, well, see point one: you probably should be!
That is perfectly OK! You’re doing something new. You have to give yourself permission to be a beginner!
To have a go at not being “good” at something just yet. You are learning and growing and changing. This is a good thing!
So, leave your ego at home. You’re not running to put on a show for other people. You’re doing this for yourself. Take it at the pace YOU can go at.
Now, there’s one more bonus reason I wanted to explore:
You haven’t warmed up properly!
I know, warming up is boring. And y’know,m the sooner you actually start running, the sooner it’s over, right?
But warming up and activating your muscles properly BEFORE you start running will make it easier! Inside Run with Turia we have some warm up videos and exercises from our women’s health physios that help fire up and activate the right muscles. Doing these will help prevent injury and encourage better results. But if you need a simple routine to try now, just start by jogging lightly or walking for 5 minutes before you start running. It will help!
A few more things…
Now look, these are just a few tips that can help you get started.
I have a few more up my sleeve.
In fact, I’ve gonna be breaking down the Beginner Running Basics that have helped more than 4,000 women learn how to run (for the very first time).
I’m sharing them in a free, three-day Learn to Run challenge at the end of September.
And remember, it’s OK if you can’t run yet.
Give yourself permission to go slow, stop being a dickhead to yourself, and leave your ego at home.