Last updated on January 31st, 2019
Running Tips For When Running Doesn’t Come Naturally
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I love lifting heavy weights. I love all forms of working out but mostly I like weights and even more when they’re heavy! And the truth is, I was never a runner. In fact, I despised it with a passion (more on that below!). In the last three years though I have come to enjoy my time running (which is still so freaking odd to say!) and thought I’d help you out with some running tips, lessons and rants if you’re thinking about jumping in.
So, getting started, as I mentioned above: I was not a runner. Ever.
In my childhood I simply wasn’t active and, in my teens, and early twenties I was a smoker. So, there was zero physical activity let alone running!
Who the hell wanted to be one of those fitness weirdos anyways? They’re crazy 😀
Once I got into working out and lifting weights (read about my journey here), running was still pretty far down on my “I’ll do when hell freezes over” list.
I was one of those trainers who believed that running killed #gainz and more than that; it was horrible for you, you’re prone to injury and your joints will hate you. And while all of things can be proven true to some extent, running is not the worst thing you can do in this world 😛
Injuries can come from any kind of training and truthfully speaking, before we allowed to get to this point of laziness, running was pretty common on the “I have to survive front”. So, a case can be made both ways.
My bottom line opinion is always to find something you love and rock it. If that’s running, lifting, flipping, fighting it doesn’t matter.
Train smart, safe and rock it. And never be scared to try something new!Train smart, safe and rock it. And never be scared to try something new! Click To Tweet
Alright so back to running. Part of the reason I refused to run (aside from not being able to breathe, run down the block or enjoy it) was that my knees hurt. This is kind of a blanket excuse (more on it below) and a crappy one at that.
So how the hell did I end up running?
When I was pregnant with my first, I hated not being able to do everything I loved the way that I wanted. I stayed fit through all my trimesters (read more about first, second & third fitness help) but it wasn’t exactly how I would normally train.
So, at about 30 weeks pregnant with baby bear, I promised myself I was going to do something I’d never done before. I was going to push outside of my comfort zone, smash a goal and push as hard as I could. I was going to run a 5k. (you can read more about my running goal and it’s hilariousness here on my training website)
My husband laughed.
Part of the reason I picked running stems from The Walking Dead. So, before you read further: I am a TWD fanatic. Seriously fanatic. I love that show. But have you ever noticed how much running you have to do in a zombie apocalypse?! Seriously, there’s a lot.But have you ever noticed how much running you have to do in a zombie apocalypse?! Seriously, there’s a lot- so learning to run was on my priority list #running #fitness Click To Tweet
And while I like to think my strength would help me in that kind of world (I can climb, I could probably fight a bit, I could carry) one of the flaws in my approach is the ability to run. Seriously, I couldn’t. not even one block!
And so my running journey began. For the sole purpose of being able to outrun zombies if the need arises.
Fast forward to when baby bear was eight months old and it was time to get started on this running goal. FML. I was SO GRUMBLY about training- and of course I neglected to read anything on running tips 😛
I used the app Couch To 5k as it was recommended and jumped right in. in my stubbornness, I refused to alter the rest of my training to accommodate this ridiculous goal. So, I was putting in an insane amount of training hours!
The first time I ran, I couldn’t even make it thirty seconds.
By the second week I got horrific shin splints. That shit is real ladies. It sucked.
But I pushed on. Once I’m committed to a goal, I have a tough time letting up. I ran in heat, rain, before bed. I got it in.
I’ll save you the rants about my hatred while completing this goal… there were a lot. In a blog on my training site, I remember actually writing “what the eff is wrong with you people” coming home from a run. But know that little by little it got better. Hard. Sweaty, challenging. But better.
The first time I put in the full 5k I came home and felt like vomiting. But I did it.
And I did run my first 5k when baby bear was just ten months old. It was hard but I had done it. And after that goal was when I realized… I actually didn’t hate running (GASP). Trust me, no one was more shocked than I was!
For the rest of the year I ran sporadically, when I wanted to and not for a full five kilometers. Without the goal I found I liked running even more. Actually, it helped clear my mind.
Then it got cold here, and I got pregnant again and running ceased. Once I had my second I (oddly enough) itched to get back to it. And here I am, running once again.
I’ve taken a lot of time to think about how in the hell I came to like running! Aside from the fact I feel proud that I could at least temporarily out run zombies running helps me think.
I work out with my girls every day of the week (read why here). While it’s awesome, it’s not exactly “me” time. When I run, I can leave the house, I can zone out, I can calm down and think. I don’t run hard, fast or overly far (I normally average 2-2.5 miles so not even 5k) but I still do it. And this year, I even braved running through the winter- which is sheer insanity!
So, my crazy journey was not all pointless. Which brings me to the second half of this post (I bet you probably didn’t come here just to hear about my need to run from zombies right??). I learned a crap load of things those first few months running.
Having never been a runner, having previously been a smoker and having experienced some joint issues, I learned far more than I had signed up for.
And since I’m being nice I thought I’d share some crucial running tips from my experience.
You Need To Be Strong To Run
As much as I hate to admit it, you really do need to have a base amount of strength in order to be a running!
The complaint of “me knees hurt” way back when was because my glute strength sucked (here’s why you want to strengthen the glutes!) and I had poor ankle mobility. All of this led to my knee caving in and not tracking right upon impact which caused pain.
If you have poor mobility or strength, running is a terrible form of fitness for you to start with. Because the repetitions are so high, the repetitive nature causes a lot of pain if your form is off and your body isn’t performing properly.
Seriously, your time would be better spent fixing first.
I love the couch to 5k app. It’s amazing. But it also has you starting off running 3x per week. While this may be ok for some, I refused to adapt my regular workout routine for my initial goal. And since I had never ever run, this caused the worst case of shin splints of life.
I scaled down to twice a week afterwards, but it was a good lesson.
Start slowly in terms of how frequent you’re running and also how intensely. If your body isn’t used to it, give it a chance to build up!
Learn About Shoes
Sigh, this one enraged me too. Just grabbing a pair of sneakers and hitting the pavement if you’re not a runner may not work out well.
Due to my poor ankle mobility (my glutes were strong by this point!), running and I were not friends. It wasn’t until my osteo told me I needed shoes with “forefront cushioning” that it eased up.
Basically, I don’t like to run properly, and the shoes force me to. Once I sucked it up and purchased a really good pair, running felt AMAZING.
I still sigh when I tie up my runners. They feel that great. Asics is easily my most favorite brand of running shoe- mainly because they solved all my issues.
Make A Good Play List
This is actually the most crucial out of all the running tips. When I workout, I love harder music like Eminem and Linkin park. It turns out they SUCK for running music for me though.
Instead, I need upbeat songs that basically make me want to busy out in dance (Flo Rida or whatnot).
If you have crap music, about four minutes into your run you’ll wonder wtf you’re doing running. Instead, take the time to craft a play list or two so you don’t weep about the fact you’re trying to run- especially if you’re winter running!
Have A Goal & A Plan
Just like lifting weights, if you don’t have a plan you kind of just aimlessly do crap and never really achieve much.
My goal was to run 5k, no more. This time around my goal is the same: run five kilometers. To me, this is just a good amount.
Each time I run, I try and progress a little; push a bit longer, change my intervals etc. If you’re not progressing your workouts your body won’t adapt to them. If you’ve not idea how to progress your running workouts, snag the app: couch to 5k – it actually does a really great job!
Update: I’ve used a lot of tracking apps in the last year. I adore the couch to 5k app when you’re LEARNING to run. From there I use an app called Runkeeper (again loved iy) to track my distance and pace. This past year I broke down and got a Garmin Forerunner35 which is so far my absolute favorite tracker because I can look down and see my pace (or set it to the pace I want and follow my watch). I’ve also used AISportage Smart Shoes which tracks everything from your feet and transfers it to an app. Trial and error trackers and see which one works best for you.
Pay Attention To Your Body
It turns out, while I have an ideal body to run my body actually hates running. Seriously, it is just not something that comes naturally to me. So not only do I need to pay attention to how I’m running while I’m running. But it also means that I need more recovery between runs.
My issue with workouts is that I love them. I love pushing or escaping or just the sheer physical-ness of them. Unfortunately, my body doesn’t tolerate this and I’ve learned (the hard way) that I can’t run on back to back days or do two five kilometer runs in a week (though hill sprints + one long run works).
You know your body best, so pay attention to it! If your ankle/hip/knee is just feeling a bit off, instead of heading out for your run and placing a bunch of repetitive impact on it, opt for something else. Foam roll, stretch or do some mobility work but listen to the signs and cues your body gives
Don’t forget to pin these running tips!
Honestly, there’s a lot that goes into learning to run. And for most of us, it doesn’t come easily. You’ve got to work for it. I never (seriously ever) in my life thought I would say I enjoy running but I do. But in the last few years there has been many lessons learned! Hopefully these running tips can help you not make the same silly mistakes I did when learning to run.
Quick Tip: My go-to store for equipment is Pro Source! They have awesome gear at fair prices.. plus, if you use the code “mamabear15” you save fifteen percent on the best price on the site – win!