My Training Advice: Newbies


***I’m not an expert in anything except my personal experience.  What I did worked well for me but should never replace your own common sense or advice from trainers, coaches and/or doctors who know you and your unique situation.  With that said…

The Complete Newbie Runner

Before I decided to make my life change I was pretty chill about working out.  In fact, a meander through the mall while I followed my toddler daughter was counted as a workout.  I just didn’t.  At least on purpose.  So when I started running it was incredibly intimidating.  Sustaining a jog for even a minute sounded intense.  

  1. Run for your comfort level: I found Katie, from Runs For Cookies, and she started running by planning a 30 minute walk.  Over a period of time, she started trading walking time for running time.  She started by running for 30 seconds, walking for 29 minutes 30 seconds, so I did too.  The next day she ran for one minute and walked for 29.  The next day was two minutes of running, 28 walking and on and on.  You may simply need to condition yourself for a long walk before considering running at all.  Eventually I got annoyed with the timing thing and just went for distance.  After I could run for about seven minutes straight, I pushed myself to run a mile, then a mile and a half and so on.
  2. Add Distance: I started adding another half block, full block etc.  I would tell myself I could walk when I got to the next goal destination, but then I would self asses: was I stopping from legitimate exhaustion or because of fear?  I found out that it was usually fear.  After about a month of running, I was able to run 20 minutes at a time without stopping.  
  3. Make Goals: I made a mileage goal every week and found that some weeks I would run a little bit every day, then other weeks I’d be busy and I’d cram more distance into one day.  The result was that when I should be adding miles turned out to be fairly straightforward and common sense.  I joined Run the Year in an attempt to earn 2016 miles in 2016, and boy.  That got me moving toward half marathons and long distances just for fun.  Yeah.  Fun.🤣
  4. Treat Yourself with Rewards: I like medals, craft supplies and beauty products.  When things are hard for me, I never hesitate to offer myself a treat for meeting my goals.  I’ve earned boots, make up, a squatty potty, NKOTB merch and more.  While I don’t care much about the reward by the time I’ve usually earned it, often it can be the thing that propels me forward at the onset.
  5. Dress Like a Runner: If you commit to the clothes you’ll make sure you use them.  If you have the clothes, you’ll blend in better at the gym, on the road or at the track.  You may feel like a poseur, but it will help you as you try to fit in until it all feels normal.
  6. Ladies: Buy a Good Bra: I get nauseous if the ladies bounce around too much.  My back hurts, not to mention how self conscious I get when my chest is bouncing around with some pretty terrific motion!  I like Living Comfort, the Juno and Jubralee have excellent support.  They’re the only ones I don’t have to double up to keep things in control.
  7. Sign Up For an Event: I signed up for the Color Me Rad 5k.  It was taking place six months after I started training- more than enough time- but it allowed me to be certain when the day came that I’d be successful.  I’ve since learned that having a race in front of me makes all the difference in the world for motivating me to continue training.  I never want to embarrass myself or not finish, so I train my butt off leading up to most events.  I’m never training to be competitive with anyone except myself.  I mostly just want to finish.
  8. Allow Yourself to Fail (Call it Learning): Whenever you fail or fall off the wagon, instead of seeing yourself as a failure, choose to see how successful you were before you took your misstep.  You learned so much from that attempt, use that to make yourself that much stronger this time around.  
  9. Fresh Starts Happen Anytime: You don’t need to wait until tomorrow or Monday or summer or 5:00.  Every moment is an opportunity.  Don’t let it slip by.
  10. Be Unapologetic About Your Health Shift: Whether its running, weightloss or going vegan, people feel the need to question your shift in a way that doesn’t always feel good.  I realized that some of my relationships were with people who wanted a fat friend for one reason or another.  They’d caution me against losing too much weight, tell me that running would ruin my knees, warned me that Bradley may get jealous when his hot wife emerged, that they better start losing weight too otherwise I was going to be smaller than them and on and on and on.  It was sad and strange.  My health choices made people I love question their own and they felt judged.  They wanted the old Tamara back.  The one who made a lot of food for holidays, decorated cookies as a weekly hobby and who wasn’t afraid to commit to a weekend full of pizza, donuts and video games.  I had to learn that without me I have nothing.  If I lose myself I lose it all.  Staying heavy would eventually make me very sick, very dead. I wasn’t going to be able to be anything for anyone if I didn’t get healthy, so I had to stop listening to the naysayers.  If it was between my knees and my heart, I said I’d kill my knees because I can’t live without my heart.  

    That’s a hodgepodge of advice, but hopefully someone gets what they need.  😉

    One Comment

    1. Paula

      Excellent advice that I needed to hear. 8 & 9 really hit home. I have fallen off the wagon. I finished the year with a weight gain & no direction. Took your advice & signed up for my 1st half marathon for my goal & began to eat healthier. This past week I finally saw the gaining stop. This weekly weigh in I hope to see a loss. I just want to be healthy.

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