5 tips for the amateur runner (like me!)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

if you have been following house of h for awhile, by now you know two things about me for certain: 1) I love chocolate cake, and 2) I hate running.

these aren't exactly the fine qualities you'd expect to hear about someone who is supposedly running a half marathon in august. and yet, here I am! one of my friends recently ran a marathon and ever since, I've been really motivated to get better at running (despite my hatred).

since this revelation, I have been "training" for my half marathon for almost 2 months now. I have good days and bad days and some days when I don't run at all. I'm not following any sort of training schedule (oops), but instead am just going at it with the attitude of I'll do the most that I can and the best that I can today, and that will be enough. 

I could lie and tell you that I don't hate running anymore and that in these 2 months I've become this amazing olympic runner, but, I won't. (I doubt I could fool any of you anyways) running is still really hard and during most of my runs I'm secretly cursing my friend who tricked me into encouraged me to do this. sometimes I'm worried that I get tired too quickly and that I'm not fast enough and what the heck am I thinking - a half marathon?!

but! the good news is, i'm making progress. *running update: I've gone from barely being able to run 1/4 of a mile without keeling over to being able to run up to 6 miles without stopping! getting there, slowly but surely.

so, while I'm really not qualified to be doling out advice, here are some tips that have helped me along the way:

1. keep track of your success!
I use the Nike Running+ app on my phone to keep track of all my runs. it really is the best running app out there, if you ask me. it records of all your runs (including distance, time, calories, speed, etc.) so you can keep track of your progress. at the end of each run it tells you how much farther/faster you went than your last run, so you can actually see yourself improving! the best part is, at the end of each run, some professional athlete tells you how fabulous you are. (for instance, at the end of my run today I was congratulated by Serena Williams. "hey, this is Serena Williams. your last 5k never stood a chance. keep running!")

2. find music that motivates you.
nothing slows me down more than being able to hear myself breathe while I'm running. once I start focusing on my breath, it's game over. the best way to distract myself from hearing myself gasping for air is turning up the volume on my running playlist. music is absolutely key to keeping me motivated during a run.

3. look up!
I realized that while I'm running, I tend to focus on the road. staring down at the path tricks me into thinking that I haven't gone very far because the scenery isn't changing! focusing on the ground isn't helpful. look up! whether it be a nearby skyline or even just the sky, find something to focus on other than your feet. this keeps things interesting (because after awhile running can be pretty boring!) and helps you to know that you really have covered a significant distance.

4. talk to someone who runs.
if I hadn't talked to my marathon-running-friend, I would absolutely never have been motivated to start running on a regular basis. magazines and blogs can only help you so much. talking to someone that you actually know really makes a difference. being able to look at my friend and realize that she had been able to conquer something as monumental as a marathon made me think, "if she can do it, why can't I?" find support in your friends and family, but find extra support in fellow runners! 

5. keep going. 
nothing is worse than having to get back into shape. when I took a little vacation Seattle, I didn't run at all. ("this is vacation! i don't have to exercise! ha!") by the time I got home, it was like starting from square one with my runs.  i had to build up my endurance all over again - it was the worst! so. even if it just means going for a jog around your block, try as best you can to do something every day. in the long run (no pun intended), you'll thank yourself! 


  1. Oh, I used to love running! I don't get time now since I'm full time mommy-ing but I hope to get back into is as my kids get a wee older. Definitely would like to do a half marathon one day! Because a full one would be nuts...

  2. thanks for sharing..
    I don't run, never have.. i think i will one day when the kid(s) are all off to school..

  3. LOVE. and, you are awesome. that is so much progress in such a short time, and I kind of feel like if you are able to run six miles, you can run twelve. and eighteen. and twenty-whatever. (not that I've done those last two numbers) you just keep going. the hardest part is keeping your ipod updated and the playlists new and interesting.

    so excited for your race!!

    p.s. I ran my first half marathon in november and you should know that I limped the last seven miles (because I was stupid and didn't care for my knee). kinda pathetic but still really fun!

  4. Oh no, I LOVE running. I'm one of those crazy people that will tell you running will completely change your life if you just give a try. I've had really bad anxiety my entire life, the only thing that has made it tolerable has been running. It really is so soothing.

    I love your five tips and I have used all of these at one point or another. Number 2 though is the big one for me. I cannot run without music, I've tried and I'm done for in ten minutes. It's impossible! Music really gives me that extra push.

  5. Dude! I'm so proud of your progress! 6 miles is pretty awesome in 2 months :) Keep it up. Your tips are great too, especially #3. I find that when I look around I get a little more distracted from the act of running and can appreciate my surroundings (except when I run on a treadmill, that's really the worst way to run in my opinion) haha!


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