10 Tips To Running Success

Posted: August 23, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I shied away from running for a long time. Why? It was hard. It didn’t come naturally to me like many other activities. Plain and simply, I feared not doing well. I allowed myself to believe that if I couldn’t run marathons or do a super speedy 7:00 minute mile, then it was a waste. I didn’t want to venture into running because I wondered if it would make me feel less worthy in my fitness. Oh, how silly.

4 9 run

Once I began reading blogs, I noticed how many other women out there loved the sport. They didn’t all have to compete in races to enjoy it. They weren’t all super speedsters. They were real women doing an activity they truly loved and learning more about themselves along the way. Seeing the personal side of running made it more intriguing to me. I decided to give running a more serious try and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.

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Quite frankly, running kicks asphalt and I don’t want the same fear of running failure to hold anyone else back like it did to me for so long. So, here’s some ways I took those first steps to tackling runs and making the journey work for me.

10 First Steps To Running Success

Remember you don’t have to be great. It may surprise you that when you take the pressure off running, you enjoy it a lot more than anticipated.

Follow a realistic, steady plan. I cannot recommend the Couch to 5K program enough for starting out. It gradually builds up runs with walking and running intervals, which you can adapt to YOUR body and abilities.

Continue making small changes. After I reached the point I could run the 5K distance with the Couch to 5K, I would try to increase my mileage just .2 or .3 miles one or two runs a week. That built up gradually until I reached 5 miles at a time. Then, I started adding around half a mile a week to my longer runs, while keeping other runs in the 3-4 mile range. Before I knew it, I was cranking out 8-9 mile runs on long run Saturday.

Don’t try to do it all. I run 2 or 3 times a week. I pick one thing to focus on during each of my runs. A bit longer distance? Then, I keep it slower to focus on achieving that new distance. More speed? I will do a shorter run to be able to push the pace. A mental break? I just go out and go with the flow without any set plan. Decide what you want from each workout and be reasonable.

Stretch! Stretch! Stretch! The foam roller is my best friend after runs. I don’t want any injuries if I can avoid them. I have learned from other runners that flexibility plays a huge role in that. Also, ice baths. They bite monkey butt but they work.

Get Good Running Shoes. You want your feet, knees, hips, etc to survive. Invest in some shoes that will provide the support right for you.

Cross and Strength Train. I give a LOT of credit to strength training, cycling classes, and plyometric drills for improving my overall fitness which, in turn, improves my running speed and endurance. My muscles get stronger and my cardiovascular efficiency improves with each of those workouts. It shows up in running.

Find inspiration and insight from others. Learn all you can from others on how to make the most of your training. Bloggers are a fabulous resource!

Sign up for a race. Once you get to a certain comfort level with running, pick an event to motivate you. I know it gives me something to look forward to and feel excited about.

Never forget why you run. Why do you want to run? It should be for the personal challenge. The thrill of achieving new things. Having fun!

So, give it a shot if you haven’t already. You just may fall in love. Winking smile

  • Seasoned runner? What tips would you give?
  • What is the last thing that a fear of failure has kept you from doing?

Please keep in mind I am not a professional and these are tips solely based on personal experience and research. Thanks!

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58 Comments to “10 Tips To Running Success”
  1. Kara says:

    I freaking love this post.

    My biggest running tip is to never limit yourself. My attitude is “Why not me?” Most people don’t want to run 50 miles at a time, but I think most people are more afraid of the idea of it versus actually not wanting to do it. I’m not the strongest or fastest runner out there, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do whatever race I want. :)

  2. Oh I love this b/c I fought calling myself a runner for a long long time. I only started running when I no longer found ballet classes that fit into my adult work schedule. Kind of not fun dancing with a bunch of 16-18 year olds after a while.

    Running was not easy at all and I’m a perfectionist. I want to be the best at everything. Not the best at running. But I fell in love and that’s what matters most. I don’t have any advice other than get out of your head. Don’t think, just enjoy.

  3. Ok, this post may have given me the nudge I needed. I just found out that my university is hosting an all women’s 10k in october. I’ve never raced before and I would need to do some training, but I think I want to do it! :) Kinda scary!

  4. Denise says:

    I did the Dirty 30 with Lisa recently and learned 1 thing. I CAN’T RUN!!!! Don’t like to run never have, that being said I am going to conquer this. So I bought a good pair of shoes and the Couch 2 5k App for my phone and I have done 2 workouts. Got side tracked with vacation and need to get back in the saddle and start over. Wish me luck:)

    • Tina says:

      Good luck! You can do it. You’re so inspiring with your determination in so many other ways, Denise, that I have no doubt. :)

  5. Coco says:

    I’ve been running for 10 years and think your list is perfect!

    I would just add that if you do try running and don’t like it (after approaching it gradually, no one is going to like a hard run on day 1) that’s OK. Running is not the be all and end all of fitness or health.

    And, if you do enjoy running, but find yourself not enjoying running–take a break! You may find yourself craving a run after a few days or week, or you may fall in love with a different activity.

  6. jobo says:

    LOVE this Tina, especially as I am clawing my way back to calling myself a runner and believing it. Even though my half marathon wasn’t what I wanted it to be, performance wise. It’s okay. I’m not a racer, I am a runner. plain and simple. Because I love it! Great post!

  7. Love this tip! Don’t try to do it all.

    I try sometimes to pick up speed AND go farther, doesn’t work out too well, I get tired and even less likely to run later on. Great post Tina!

  8. My advice for running is to just get up and do it. And it’s ok if you have to stop and walk party of the way through. IT’S REALLY OK!!!!

  9. I definitely agree with getting good shoes — get fitted!!! It made a huge difference for me!

    A tip that I didn’t see here (sorry if I missed it!) is that every runner has a bad run now and then. Don’t let that discourage you!

  10. Julia says:

    This is a really good post because it takes the fear away from running; however I just want to say that your first point might be modified:

    Remember you don’t have to be great. It may surprise you that when you take the pressure off running, you enjoy it a lot more than anticipated.

    You ARE great if you run at any pace! I know when I “race” I’m only competing with myself because my pace is a lot slower than those that win the races (I actually like to call them “organized running events”) but those people are professionals. The rest of your post is so positive – if the first tip was that you ARE GREAT at any speed, there would be no negativity attached to it.

    You are an awesome blogger and an awesome and great runner, period.

    • Tina says:

      Very good point! I guess I meant you don’t have to be what you think defines great. But regardless – you’re so right that running or getting out there and active in any way is somethign to be proud about! :)

  11. Anna Marie says:

    I love this post! I never wanted to run because I doubted I ever could. A friend of mine and I did the Couch to 5K program last year. Today I was told I look like a runner and that had me beaming. I love it and do not see myself giving up the running anytime soon.<3

    Happy birthday!

  12. Amanda says:

    I don’t run, not due to fear of failure, but due to certainty of injury :) I’ve tried C25K on a few occasions, the most memorable of which resulted in stress fractures of both legs. And it torques me off because I’d *like* to run, but each time I try my body reminds me that, genetically, I am not an athlete. This doesn’t mean I don’t work around that as much as I can, but it does mean that I have to try to get more intensity from my cardio via incline rather than impact.

    Plus side? I’m a monster on hills ;)

    • Tina says:

      Definitely! I hope this post didn’t come across as you have to run to be a true athlete or its the only way to really workout. Every body has different interests and thigns that work best for them. You keep rocking those hills! :)

  13. Kendra says:

    I really liked this post Tina, because although I didn’t like running a year ago or even six months ago, I have come to quite enjoy it, especially the runner’s high! :) However, I must have done too much too soon (was training for a half marathon hiking up and down a mountain, wanted to be able to do some interval jogging as well as hiking), and was overcome with severe knee pain and even hip pain, on the same leg. Two weeks from race day, I realized I absolutely had to stop running, and just keep up my weights and cycling and walking and hiking. On race day, I tried running a bit, and sure felt it around the halfway mark. Pain! Then, I just dragged my leg literally behind me, pain and all, to the finish line as fast as I could go. I have been taking it easy since then regarding running, tried again the other day and the pain came back within 15 minutes of intervals. So, I really want to try the Couch to 5k program, hoping to start in three weeks time.
    Any suggestions on my knee?

    • Tina says:

      When it comes to things like that I always suggest seeing a doctor or other medical professional. Pain should never be ignored. :)

  14. Heather says:

    The best advice I can give (but hardest to follow) is to compete ONLY with yourself. I have had MAJOR setbacks over the entirety of my running career which have made me not able to reach what i feel is my potential. I have had times of serious pity parties when those around me were getting faster and I was nursing an injury! It totally doesn’t do you any good to compare results to other bloggers, just tr to do better than YOUR own time in the next race!

  15. Great tips. I think I need to show this post to my husband. I’m trying to convince him to run a 1/2 marathon with me after Baby Bean is born, but he’s sooooo not having it.

    My tip is listen to music when you run! :-)

  16. Great tips!! Always listen to your body too!! You don’t want to over do it and get injured!! It’s okay to take a day off.

  17. I’ve been running for about 7 years now, on and off. I’d echo getting fitted for the right shoes. They make a huge difference.

    I’d also say that no matter your pace, if you run, you’re a runner. Do it because you love it, not because you “have to.” Otherwise, where’s the fun?

  18. I’m glad you posted this, because it’s something I struggle with daily! I do run a lot, but I don’t necessarily enjoy it every step of the way, and it doesn’t seem to come as naturally to me as it does to some bloggers. Sometimes I will think to myself “I’m so BAD at running!” But really, how can a person be bad at running? It’s putting one foot in front of the other at a quicker pace than walking. Whenever I start beating up on myself (usually after a difficult run), I think of that, and usually crack myself up.

  19. cathy says:

    thanks for your 10 tips, tina! i’m glad you are enjoying running so much!
    i’ve been running for 22 years and work in a running store! :) yup, love the sport!
    my suggestion: don’t hesitate to ask questions about products, techniques, how you’re feeling….ask your running friends, running bloggers, go to a local running store – don’t be embarrassed! trust me, we’ve heard it all!
    and get proper running shoes!

  20. These are really great tips. I think making small changes is the biggest one for me. I tend to want to increase my mileage or speed toooo quickly and I get burnt out on running :( But, I’m trying to do small steps instead of the normal gigantic steps.
    ooo- foam roller. I need one of those. and some running shoes..because I just went to go get a pedicure for my birthday, and the lady told me that my toe nail is starting to come off….uh oh!!

  21. Love these tips! As a somewhat “natural” runner I still have to employ a lot of that advice so I don’t burn out or petrify myself into not running at all! Thanks for posting : )

  22. Great tips!

    I think if I had to add something that works specifically for me is to have a running mantra and repeat it constantly while running. It helps me zone out, control my breathing and if it’s a positive one, I stay focused and positive during my run which helps me keep going.

    It’s especially helped during my pregnancy….now I always repeat to myself “suffer now, easy labor” or “suffer now, play later” haha!

  23. Anna Crouch says:

    My advice is to listen to your body and do what’s best for YOU! someone once said I should be able to run everyday…so obviously I decided I needed to run everyday. My body did not like that. The same person told me I needed to get some barefoot shoes. So I did and proceeded to have some painful injuries because of them. From this I learned that what works for one person may not work for another. Now I listen to my body and do what’s best for ME. :)

  24. I…am obsessed with this post. Seriously. SO much truth in here! Love love love.

  25. Hallie says:

    It totally cracks me up that I wrote a guest post for you about running back in the day because now you’re Miss Runner Chick (welkl, Mrs., I mean) and I am the world’s worst runner. You’re awesome!

  26. Great tips! I didn’t begin running until about 4 years ago. Before that I always joked the only place I’d run was to the dessert table. :)

    Entering races has been my biggest motivator. It’s so much fun to get out and run with a few hundred others and you should NEVER feel intimidated – there are so many different fitness levels and everyone is out there sharing a common interest. Plus you often are contributing to a charity at the same time!

  27. Marni G says:

    Great post! I started running a couple years ago…I’m definitely not a natural runner – but I’ve learned to accept if I run…then I AM a runner! I’ve had to stop due to an injury back in July and it’s driving me CRAZY!! I think I’m just about ready to test the foot out and see how it goes :)

  28. Khushboo says:

    Great suggestions. I would add: run at your pace, not at what you think you ‘should’ be running at! Even if it seems like it’s too slow, you’re still lapping down everyone sitting down :)

  29. Great post! I thought the same about a year ago, that I’m just not an athletic person and can’t run. But then I just started a C25K program, finished it, ran my first race, and had lots of fun. Almost one year later I’m still running. It still bothers me, that I’m horribly slow, but I guess I’ll just have to be patient, add some tempo runs, and hope for the best.
    I’d add: listen to your body, stick with your own pace, no matter how fast or slow, and be proud of yourself.

  30. LOVE running but I’ve been getting frustrated by my slow pokiness :) This has inspired me to actually try out a training plan. A 10K in 50 min? You’re my hero!!!

  31. Amazing post. I never thought I would like running.

    Another great way to catch the “running bug”…remember how great you feel when you are done. I describe it as walking on air, and I feel invincible. Take a photo of you with a smile of your face to remember that feeling.

    Another rule: I give myself the benefit of 10 minutes. If I want to stop after 10 minutes, I realize that running is not for that day. 99% of the time, after 10 minutes, I am loving it. Endorphins are addictive.

  32. Amy says:

    Great post!
    I did take up running until I was about 18, after years of being extremely unathletic in the slightest. Now I love it!
    One message I would pass on is never to underestimate yourself. I started out unable to run even 10 minutes and now I’ve completed a half marathon! I can’t wait for my next opportunity to race. I’m not in it to be the fastest, this girl plods through 10 minute miles, but I’m smiling every step of the way :)

  33. MizFit says:

    Great tips post!

    especially the reminder to crosstrain.

  34. Kimberly says:

    Love this post,Tina! Whenever I lack in motivation I read blogs and that helps put the fire under my buns to lace up my sneakers. I also love the last tip “never forget why you run” :) Hope you had a fabulous birthday, girlfraaaan! :)

  35. Someone probably already gave this running tip but my most important on is to FUEL PROPERLY! Nothing sucks my running wind out of my like a lack of fuel or bad fuel!

  36. Abbie says:

    I love this post! I’ve been running more this past year and I love it. I’ve signed up for my first half marathon (in November) and I can’t wait.

    It’s definitely a mental sport. As I run, I just tell myself you can do this! I don’t over push myself, but I know if I can run a bit further instead of calling it quits too soon.

    :-)

  37. I love this post because, like you used to be, I’m not a runner. I just never really enjoyed running, and I think it’s because I’m just not very good at it. I love that you shared the “Couch Potato to 5K” link because I’m going to begin incorporating that into my workouts :) Hopefully one day I’ll love running just as much as all of my favorite bloggers seem to!! :)

  38. I know I need to stretch after running … this is helpful :-) I am trying to convince the Husband to go on runs with me at the park a couple times a week. We live so close! It’s just sad not to utilize the park. We also speed walk/jog with our dogs a few times a week. I’m glad you found running (or tried it) because I’ve enjoyed reading about your running journey!

  39. Jessica says:

    What I love about running is that I am only competing with myself. Training pays off when I pr, not by beating the person next to me. Also, the goal of every run is not to go out and run your fastest and longest. Each one has its own purpose and together they make you a stronger runner.

  40. Dawn says:

    There are some very good points that you are making. I use to hate to run because I did not feel like I can match up to what other people do. Running is not about what other people do…to me it’s about learning more about myself and doing something that makes me feel good. It’s time for me and I love it.

  41. [...] than diet and workouts. Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginLast night I posted ten of my “running tips” that helped me get started running. You all dove right in there with some other awesome tips to [...]

  42. LindseyAnn says:

    My biggest advice is, “Don’t Force It”. That can be interpreted in so many ways:
    -if your body isn’t ready to make the jump to a higher mileage/speed, don’t force it. Pushing is OK, but if it’s bad painful, or if you’re uncomfortably sore, back off. Let your body adjust slowly!
    -if you don’t like it, you don’t HAVE to do it. I know SO many people that say, “I hate running, but I do it to get in shape”. You’re a grown person, and this isn’t high school gym class. There are SO many other great forms of cardio and exercise. If you don’t like running, then don’t make yourself. Devote the time to something you do love.

  43. Lisa says:

    Great reminders. It’s hard not to get sucked into the “world” when you first start running. It’s easy to think our abilities are more than they are, which leads to injury. When I got injured that woke me up to this fact and I took a step back.

  44. Great post! I just started back into running recently after taking a looong hiatus, and when I started I felt like I had never ever run before. And I’ve done 9 half marathons! My goal is just taking it slow, doing walk/run intervals and easing my way back into it. But you are so right, sticking to a plan and taking it easy is key. Good stuff! :)

  45. What a GREAT and inspiring post. As a beginning runner I always get discouraged when people talk about their 8 miles and I struggle through 3. But I love your tips and I love to know that you didnt love it at first either! It makes me feel a lot better, thank you Tina! And happy belated birthday!

  46. [...] a couple posts recently, I’ve decided that I can break out of this mindset by using a few of Tina’s tips on how to enjoy [...]

  47. these tips are awesome Tina. Thanks for sharing them. I need as much help & encouragement as I can get!

  48. The state of New York alone is sitting over a large pile of $10 billion and Texas isn’t far behind.

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