How to become a runner in 4 steps

Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018

Running just for the sake of running never appealed to me, from my youth until recently. Just a few years ago, if you had asked me if I would ever be a runner, I would’ve responded with a resounding “no.” It’s not like I never ran; I played almost every sport I could when I was younger, but running was a necessary part of the game, running up and down the basketball court or around the bases on the field.

Running as a hobby, be it a 5km or just around the block, was not something I wanted to do, let alone ever thought I would enjoy doing…until recently! I have transformed myself into a runner with four easy steps, and you can too!

Step 1: Find a buddy

Being a grown-up is tiring! From working all day to taking care of the house and kids, life can be stressful and busy with little time to do other things. When you have free time, you just want to watch Netflix or sleep, right?

While talking about this with a friend, we decided that we wanted to try something new. We agreed that taking up running would be easiest, and being committed to going together helps keep me motivated to lace up and get out there.

Step 2: Download an app

We had agreed to start running together, but my friend and I still didn’t know quite where to start. Given my scientifically-inclined brain, I started to study up on how to start running and found that there’s an app for that! Several, actually!

All of the running apps we looked at applied the same principles. They started with run-walk interval training (alternating between the two activities varying in speed and effort). The app helped us stick to the recommended pacing of these activities and made the whole process easier!

Some good ones include Learn to Run, C25K, Running for weight loss, 5K runner

Step 3: Ease into it

The run-walk intervals started off fairly easy, with more walking than running at first. I felt a bit lame doing more walking than running, but when I did start running, I was able to recover and not feel terrible after.

We quickly saw that we were improving, steadily increasing our running time and decreasing walk time, and spending more time out on the overall run. Don’t try to push too hard at first, easing into it will get you the results you’re aiming for soon enough!

Step 4: Compete with yourself

Once we got up to spending most of a 30-minute outing running, we wondered what would come next? How do people do this for hours at a time?

Find ways to set goals for yourself using both time and distance. You can push yourself to see how far you can run, how fast you can run a set distance, or try to maintain a certain pace. Don’t try this on every run you do, but try challenges to keep it interesting for yourself.

Want a more advanced challenge? Using my physiotherapist brain and exercise physiology knowledge, my friend and I started using our heart rates to guide our workouts. We monitored how long it took us to reach training target heart rate zones, how hard/fast we had to run, and how long recovery took.

Not sure how to do this yourself? Stay tuned for a blog later this month about target heart rate zones!

Running is a fairly easy and healthy habit to get into, giving you a good workout with minimal equipment and training. (For a full guide on what you need to start running, check out our How to Start Running on the Right Foot blog). Grab a friend, download an app, and ease your way into it – you’ll start to love running in no time!