Guest Post – Get Running!

Posted: June 17, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Well, we are back to guest posts for the next week or so. I will be leaving early tomorrow morning for the beach and I cannot wait. I plan on having lots of book reading and sun time as well as enjoying family I only get to see a couple of times a year. I am looking forward to it. I hope you all have a great week+ until I "see" you again!

Hi, lovely Faith Fitness Fun readers! My name is Hallie and I write a blog called Healthy Twists. I have lost about 40 lbs and kept it off for about eight years, and in that time I’ve discovered a love of healthy cooking and trying new types of exercise.  My blog documents my adventures in cooking, exercising, puppy parenting, and more. As far as exercise goes (or anything else, really), I get bored very quickly, so I always need to have something new on the horizon. This August, I’ll be running my first (only?) half marathon, the America’s Finest City Half in my hometown of San Diego, CA.

Back that up. I’m running a half marathon. I feel like I have to repeat that over and over again because I don’t really believe it. When Tina suggested I write a guest post about running, I first thought, “what the heck do I know about running? I’m not a ‘real’ runner. I suck at running. Other people are so much better at it.” But then I thought, if a “non-runner” like me can do a 10k and train for a half-marathon, then anyone can. It’s all about believing in yourself and getting out there. And if I can share my tips and experiences and it inspires someone else to run even once, then I have done something right.

So, here are a few things that I’ve found helpful in my running journey. And oh man….is it a journey!

1.  Sign up for a race, and then pick a training plan.

Like just about everyone else, I had heard about the Couch to 5K program, but it wasn’t until two summers ago, an intern at my job told me she was doing the program, and it REALLY WORKED. At that time, I had registered for a 5k run/walk that was about 3 months away, with every intention of walking it. But for some reason, hearing from a real live person about the C25k program was more inspiring than reading about it in blogs (ironic, yes) so I decided to give it a shot.

At first, I did my runs on the treadmill and went by time for the run/walk intervals, and then I took to the streets and went by distance. The first time I ran a mile without stopping to walk, I was SO proud of myself. And every quarter-mile after that was a victory (still is, actually). When the race came around, I made the rookie mistake of starting too fast, so my running partner Jenny and I walked a little towards the end. But I gave it my ALL and that’s all that matters.

Last year, my boyfriend and I did a 10k (not together; he’s much faster than I am.) and I used the Hal Higdon novice 10k plan. I like Hal’s plans because they include cross training, the mileage increase gradually, and you don’t have to do things like “tempo” or “splits” or any other runner lingo that’s beyond me. You just run. For my half, I’m going with my friend Hal again, except I extended it to a 16-week plan. Any training plan needs to  be flexible to your real life, and realistic to your ability and expectations. Don’t set yourself up to fail!


That’s me, “sprinting” to the finish line at my 10k race. I was expecting it to take me an hour and a half but I came in around 1:15! It was great.

2. Experiment until you figure out the gear and routine that works for you.

I love how running is a cheap activity that can be done almost everywhere (weather permitting). But I do recommend splurging on quality running shoes, purchased at least once with the help of the experts at a running store. I have older sneakers that I wear to the gym or for walks so my “good shoes” don’t wear out as fast. I also get new running shoes every 5-6 months. Oh, and I was really intimidated the first time I went to a running store, because of the whole “not a runner” thing. But I’m over that now. My money’s just as green (or plastic-y) as any cross-country star. In my experience, everyone there just wants to help you be your best and find the perfect shoes, socks, etc. If they don’t, you need to find another place to shop. I’m a little more thrifty when it comes to running attire, so I like Target, Old Navy, and the Nike Outlet store for shorts and bras. And I will wear any free t-shirt I ever get 🙂

I’ve also learned that if I don’t run first thing in the morning or right after work (no going home!) I probably won’t go. I hate waking up early, but I love knowing that my workout for the day is done. I also have decided I don’t like running on an empty stomach, even if I technically don’t “need” the fuel for a short run. On weekdays, I either have a z-bar or piece of fruit if I’m running after work, or a small glass of OJ if I’m going in the AM. On the weekends, I like toast with PB and coffee eaten an hour and a half before my long run. I haven’t run long enough distances to really need fuel mid-run, so you’ll have to check out my blog to see how I do that in the coming weeks! If you have any fuel tips or want to share how you fuel your workouts, comment it up!

3. Believe in yourself. The only one you have to beat is you.

Now, I don’t think I’ve said anything revolutionary here about how to get started with running. Go slow, sign up for a race, wear good shoes, etc. You’ve probably heard all that before. But what if you read all that and think, “that’s great, but there’s NO way I could do that.” Well, I want to tell you that as cliché as it may sound, if I can do it, you can do it too.

I used to get side cramps if I ran for more than a minute, so I thought running just wasn’t my thing. But I decided I wanted it to be my thing, so I started working at it. And honestly, I still think I’m not built to be a runner, and I think running is HARD 99% of the time. I think if you read a lot of healthy-living blogs, you read things like “I went on an easy 4 miler today” or “I was SO slow, I ran a 9-minute pace” and feel discouraged. I used to feel that way, until I decided that as long as I was trying my hardest, or some days, as long as I was getting out there at all, I was doing well. I ran 12-minute miles for a long time, and now I’m at about 11-min. I used to be embarrassed to post my running times, but now I’m proud of them. When it’s especially hard, I just remember how good I’m going to feel when it’s done. And I tell myself the faster I run, the sooner I get to stop!

I also agree with those that say running is very much a mental game. There are so many times that I want to stop to walk, for no real reason. I “check in” with myself when this happens and ask, “does anything hurt?” and since the answer is usually no, I keep trucking. I firmly believe that walk breaks are ok, but for me, it’s SO easy to stop to walk once you do the first time.

When I run, I usually people-watch and I get motivated by the other exercisers I see out there, of all ages and shapes. I tell myself that I’m doing something good for my body and my mind, and I’m doing something that many people, myself included, thought I could never do.

What is your exercise of choice, and why do you do it?

I use running to help me sleep, to keep my past issues anxiety and depression at bay, to hopefully ward off disease as I get older, and I’ll be honest, I sometimes to balance out my raging sweet tooth. (I also lift weights, dabble in yoga, and I think there’s something to be said about the benefits of a nice long walk. I said I get bored easily! It’s all about balance, right?)


I don’t think you should run if you don’t really want to…but if you do and are scared to try, I challenge you to find a 5k in your area and sign up! You might just surprise yourself and if you’re totally crazy like me find yourself running a half-marathon before you know it.

And now, my plea. My race is August 15….please check in on my progress over the summer and tell me I can do it! I need all the encouragement I can get…yikes!!

Question from Tina…What is a type of exercise you thought you would hate, but grew to enjoy? Mine is yoga!


6 Comments to “Guest Post – Get Running!”
  1. Katherine says:

    I actually used to hate running. Great guest post and hope you have an awesome trip!

  2. Awesome post:) I’m FINALLY getting the running itch back.

    Have a great vaca girl!

  3. Mine is running-I don’t love it, but I used to really hate it, and now, there’s times when I crave running! Have fun on vacation!

  4. Definitely Yoga! I resisted it for so long and now I don’t know why!!!

  5. Rachel says:

    I felt like I was reading my “running autobiography” with this post. I never considered myself a runner either, but I just decided to get out there and do it. The training isn’t always the most fun, but i LOVE LOVE LOVE races! They are so uplifting, exciting, fun, and addictive! Now I love seeing people out running in the neighborhood, and I’m so proud of myself for stepping outside of my comfort zone and accomplishing something like this. I’ve always had the most respect for runners.

    I just put together my training plan and am using Hal Higdon for an 8k plan for a race I have coming up in September! The plan starts with running 2 miles at a time, and I was so pumped that now I CAN run 2 miles at a time. I never thought I’d see the day!

    Oh, and I proudly run 12 minute miles! Maybe I’ll get faster one day but for now I’m just so excited to be RUNNING.

  6. great article! how inspirational!!! for me this would be at home dvds!! i never thoght I would get such a graet workout without being in a gym, but i LOVE THEM! they are so convenient and look forward to throwing in a DVD and getting my sweat sesh on!!

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