6 Ways To Start Running

6 ways to start running without a program, coach or plan!

Runner ComicRunning is tough, and if you are reading this – there's a good chance that you think running sucks.

I'm not here to convince you that running is awesome, or that you should do it – but if you WANT to get a little better at running, and wouldn't mind lacing up and hitting the pavement from time to time, I can help!

If you're a seasoned runner, and want to snag a PR this year – the timing is right for you to talk to a coach. My coach is at Studeo55 and I'm looking to improve my 10k time this year.

BUT, if you AREN'T a seasoned runner, and every time you head out the front door you feel like DYING after 5 minutes: I get it!

Cardiovascular conditioning takes time, and the most common mistake I see is that people try to go too far, too fast, too soon.

Is this you?

Do you head out the door, envisioning an hour to yourself on the Vancouver Seawall but tank out 10 minutes in and think “this sucks!!”?

You haven't got the endurance yet. You've got to start small, just like lifting weights, and if you're going to keep going back out there – you need to have some fun along the way.

So, here are…

6 Fun Ways to Start Running without a Coach, a Running Program or a Plan!

1. City Block Circuit 

Your city block should have 4 sides. 2 long, 2 short. Sprint the short ends, and walk the long ends.

Bored? Is that too easy? Then sprint faster.

Does it feel too hard? You're sprinting too fast! Getting that pace just right takes practice. That's what you are doing. You are practicing.

Go around 4 times to start, next time: go 6. After 2 weeks: sprint the long sides and walk the short sides. You got it! If you start to notice that you are recovering quicker on those walks, start jogging them! You're getting fitter!

2. Stairs

Do you have a flight of stairs in your house? Do you live in an apartment or condo? Office? No excuses, just find some stairs! Sprint up the stairs!

Here is the trick: decide BEFORE you start this workout how many flights you are going to complete. Tell yourself that you are going to do 15 flights of stairs. Put 15 nickels (or pieces of Lego, or paper clips or whatever!) in your pocket and drop a nickel each time you complete a flight. Trust me on this one. You are less likely to tap out, or lose count, if you've got that built-in accountability right in your pocket!

Exercise Quote - Can You or Will You

Wanna up your game here?

You might want to talk to the Moose is Loose about adding some burpees at the top – but for now just do the stairs. Your heart and lungs will let you know that you're working hard.

3. Neighbourhood City Street Relay

Do you live in the suburbs? Do you have a friend that wants to get out there with you?

This is a non-competitive, fun, safe way to exercise in your front yard – and really works no matter what level you are each at. She runs to the end of the street. When she gets there, you sprint to her. When you get there, she sprints back. Get it? Keep going! Get your sweat on!

Just like the stairs: agree AHEAD of time how many times you are going to run! 10 times? 20 times? You decide, but stick to the plan.

Time it? Meh. Just go run. Please. Just stop thinking and get out there.

4. Play Tag

If you have kids, this one's for you. Show me a kid that doesn't want to play tag! How about you go to the playground, and leave your phone at home. Just go outside. Let them run, run after them.

Slip this activity into your day and I promise that your heart and lungs will start to respond. Maybe you want to tell your kids that they are helping you. Maybe you want to ask them to help you. My son's eyes light up when I ask him for help, maybe yours will too.

5. Treadmill ladder

Treadmill Ladder WorkoutI made this one up one day when I got so bored of the pace!

Turns out, it's a solid, reliable and tough workout!

Jog for 6 minutes, then up the pace by .2 for 2 minutes. Do it again at 8 minutes. Do it again at 10 minutes, do it again at 12 minutes. If you started at 5.8, you'll be at 6.4. Now at 14 minutes: gear down. Drop the pace by .2 for 2 minutes. Drop down again at 16 minutes. Drop down at 18 minutes. At 20 minutes drop back down to your starting pace and jog that pace for another 6 minutes.

You've not only pushed the pace and busted out of your comfort zone, but you've also just run for about half an hour and covered almost 5 km.

You've given yourself something to focus on when your brain wanted to quit. If that felt easy, start at a faster pace next time. You'll figure it out.

6. Telephone pole out-n-back

Decide how long you have for your workout.

40 minutes?

Great, then you're going to run in one direction for 20 minutes and then you're going to turn around and come back.

Here's the thing though, you're going to try to come back faster than you went out. At 20 minutes, make it home before 40 minutes has elapsed. Not by a lot, just a bit! You're racing yourself!

In order to really rock this workout, run to that next telephone pole, then walk to the next one. Repeat. If you repeat this workout, on the same route, I promise you a solid smile when you realize that you are going farther in that first 20 minutes. That's what getting fitter looks and feels like.

I hope you can see that it comes down to this:

Trust yourself to figure it out. Running doesn't have to be marathons and splits and PR's and programs and coaches. Just go run. Have some fun. Make it up!

…and if you get the bug – and it's going well – I'll be here to tell you what to do next 🙂

andreaBio: Andrea French

Andrea is a mom, 5 time marathoner and recently completed her Level 1 CrossFit Cert. She is a teammate at Studeo55 and is training to PR at the Santa Barabara marathon in November. She still sucks at wall-balls. Connect, follow and engage with Andrea on Instagram and Twitter at @chezyvr

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One comment

  1. Great stuff Andrea. Nobody ever ran a marathon… just the next little bit, and then the next. Here’s another trick for just getting yourself out the door. It’s a variation of the city block run. Most cities have more than one block. Leave the house telling yourself you’ll only run around one block. Usually, once you get warmed up, going a little farther becomes easier. So run one more block away from home. If that feels okay, go another block. Repeat until panic sets in about how far you’ve come. You’re likely not to walk home, but you could if you’re dying. Most likely you will run back, and even faster than you ran out. Next time leave the house with the same intentions: one block, that’s all. When you get to that furthest block point, you may be surprised how you feel about adding another block to the stack.

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