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Nearing the finish line of my first half marathon!

I get this a lot, “So you run, eh? I wish I could run!”

My response? “Yeah, that’s what I said!”

If you were to travel back in time ten years and tell 22 year old me that I would one day not only learn to run, but that I would one day run a half marathon I would have laughed in your face. I felt as akin to a runner as I did to a tree.

Just about anybody can run, you don’t need to be a special breed of person to do it (well, maybe unless you want to run marathons, those are crazy people!) you just need the curiosity to start and the desire to see it through!

Other than getting cleared from your doctor to start running, you really only need five basic things to get you pounding the pavement in no time:

1. Create a goal

Whether it be to run a 5k race or just to run for 30 minutes without stopping, creating a goal for your runs will help you to get start, keeping going and know where you’re running towards! My first goal was to run the 5k Run For The Cure – it was a race that didn’t rely on time, you just finished whenever and that was a perfect starting point for me. Whatever it is, make sure it’s a goal you can achieve within a couple of months. If you decided to run a half or full marathon your first year out, you’ll more than likely give up because it’s too overwhelming. Start small and build up!

2. Get a program

Running isn’t as dangerous as people say it is but, like any exercise program, you can really do yourself in if you just wing it. To decrease your chances of injury, get a program that will teach you how to run and you’re best bet is to get one that starts you off with a walk/run program. This type of program (like the ever popular Couch 2 5k program) has you walk more than you run to start and gradually increases the amount of time you run and decreases the time you walk. This not only helps your body to transition into running it also helps you mentally cope with it. Many running stores also offer newbie running programs, these usually offer the walk/run style of learning to run plus you get to meet a lot of great people with the same goals you have!

3. Get fitted for good shoes

If you decide to get serious with running, this is definitely an investment you’ll want to make. Everyone has a unique body type and that includes foot stride (the way our feet land when we walk or run), properly fitted shoes will “correct” your stride so that your body is better able to absorb the shock of running and help you to avoid injury. To get fitted, actually go to a specialty running store. The employees should ask you to run around the store without shoes on to gauge your stride and then will have you try on several pairs of shoes to get the right fit. Do NOT just go with the brand your running friend tells you to get, everyone is different, so do yourself a favour and take the time to get fitted!

4. Get support

Whether it’s support from friends and family or an online community, having support around you will help you to get out the door on the days you don’t want to leave the house. Perhaps you can even get someone to run with you! It’ll be great for accountability and you have someone to share your victories with because, at the beginning, every run is a new victory (I’ll never forget the day I ran for 5 minutes straight! I was so proud!).

5. Take it one run at a time

Do yourself a favour and don’t look ahead at your program! When you’re only running for thirty seconds, five times right now, knowing that you have to run for 30 minutes straight months later is really going to make you panic! Just take it one run at a time, trust in the program (and in yourself) and enjoy the process! Running is a fantastic sport to take up and will create great confidence in yourself!

So what are you waiting for? Go kick some asphalt!

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