Chick Chat: Advice for Beginners

Every January, treadmills and tracks see a new flurry of activity. One has to arrive earlier than usual to find a space at yoga. There’s a line for the weight lifting equipment at the gym.

I used to work at a gym, so I’m familiar with the whole “January Joiner” thing. A new year provides a perfect opportunity for a new beginning. A new attitude. New goals. New shoes. (Okay, that last one might just be me.)

However, the whole concept of a “January Joiner” is that these individuals will be done by February, and I hate that that’s a thing. Why can’t we encourage others to be fit? Active? Their healthiest, best self? We were all beginners once, right?

Two of our Scoot chicks are getting back into the swing of running things, and what better way to celebrate them- and other runners either returning to the sport after a hiatus or those who are dipping their toes in the running pond for the first time- than with some Chick chatter. We want to help you make the best start on your running journey; whether you are running for general fitness or adding miles for a race goal. Our advice:

CAM:

I haven’t clocked any miles since Wine and Dine, so it’s like I’m a newbie. I’d have to say the 2 min work/1 min rest routine is helping me immensely. It’s not so daunting when you have a guaranteed rest. There are awesome apps for phones that keep track of your time, and of course, there’s those fancy schmancy time-pieces that everyone’s sporting nowadays. I use HIIT Interval training timer. Also, get a buddy. I’m far less likely to slack if I know someone’s expecting me. Or even better, if someone’s picking me up!

MER:

When you begin (or begin again) I think it’s really easy to compare. Comparing yourself to other runners or to the runner that you once were – whether it be your high school self, your pre-injury self, or your twenty pounds ago self. My advice would be to treat yourself kindly. Use positive words and remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can within this given moment. When you’re running consistently, it’s very easy to forget just how difficult it is at the beginning of things.

Be consistent. But also be forgiving. If you have a bad day or a bad run, acknowledge it and then let it go. Don’t carry it with you.Try not to let it turn into a bad week or a bad month.

When I first started running, I was heavily reliant on my friends. I’d ask them to meet me at the park. It kept me motivated and they never minded going my pace (which was always slower than theirs). Now I’m more of a solo runner for many training runs but I still check in on the daily mile and chat with friends.

VIC:

Any journey begins with a step. It sounds cheesy, yes, but it’s also true.

Anytime anyone asks me about starting to run, I suggest they start with a run-walk. Run for a minute, walk for five. Run for two minutes , walk for five. Run for three minutes, walk for five. You get the idea!

Soon enough, you will be running without wanting – or needing – to stop and walk! I did this when I first got back into running. I’d actually count light poles on my route. I’d run past 2 light poles, then walk for two more. Then repeat. And again.

For me, the break was enough to look forward to, to get me through “the tough part.” And by distracting myself to look for and count light poles, it went by in a flash!

BROOKE:

I’m a big fan of small goals; they can add up to Big Things. Start with 20-30 minutes of running, 2-3 days a week. Once that is routine and comfortable for you, you can up the time, number of days and/or switch to a mileage goal. And don’t forget to celebrate your achievements!

Missing a day is just that. Missing a day. We all do it- hell, I did it last week. Don’t be too hard on yourself, just get back on track tomorrow.

Find your fit people. I’ve been lucky to find a regular crew to run with each week. We motivate each other and we laugh a lot too.

Happy running, everyone!

Any new runners out there? How’s it going? Experienced runners, please add your best advice in the comments!

11 thoughts on “Chick Chat: Advice for Beginners

  1. I love this post. I’m always frustrated with snarky remarks on my Facebook or Twitter feeds about the influx of people at the gym. I look at it as an opportunity to make new workout acquaintances!

    Having friends to run with is always a plus. I’m a huge fan of the run-walk method as I try to improve myself after a bit of an (ahem) hiatus. I also connect with my mom online and we write to each other about our workouts.

  2. I love the run/walk method. I might be doing my next 5k that way. We will see how I feel. I haven’t been able to run since my half marathon. SAD!

  3. Thanks girls! I’m starting to get back in the swing of things after probably 15 years of not running–don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been laying around a la Jabba the Hut, but life kind of got in the way–you know, it started with “gym or frat party?” in college (guess what I chose–the one with the cheap beer, you’re right!) to living abroad to marriage and kids, and I’m finally at a point where I can take 30 min for myself (gasp!) every night.

    So here I am, right back at square one with out a team I’m trying to be faster than or a coach I’m trying to impress so he’ll put me in as a starter. I think that’s the challenging part. The last time I was a “runner” I ran in a pack, and my competitive nature always got the better of me and made me run faster than some of my rivals, and there was always a “plan”. I have a plan now, I’m following a C25K app (currently on week 5) and it’s hard to just not “dog it”. When I do, I try to be honest with myself and make myself repeat that workout the next day though…slow and steady, right? I figure even if I’m walking more than the app says, I’m still doing more activity than I would have been otherwise!

    Thanks to Meri, Vic and the other Scootadooters…The races you complete and post about are one of the things that inspired me to start this–Who wouldn’t want to dress up like a fairy and run a 1/2 marathon!?!?!

    • Thanks!

      Slow and steady is so important when starting out- I had to tell myself this daily (after my son was born) so I wouldn’t try to get ahead before my body was ready. Not worth risking injury, or even just soreness that makes you want to cling to the couch instead. Keep at it!

  4. Thank you for the encouragement girls! There’s nothing worse than mustering up the courage to start an exercise routine and then being poo pooed by the “in crowd” at the gym. I, too, used to work at the gym at witnessed the January Joiner / February Failer cycle thing and I hate it too. I hate when people post in Facebook about how all the newbies are taking up “their” parking spots at the gym. Shouldn’t we just be happy that they are trying to get fit? Ugh. Oh well… Rant over. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I mean…it’s not convenient for me when the gym is busy, but we all benefit when we have a healthier population. And I don’t really like mean people, in real life or on Facebook. Haha.

      Thanks!

  5. Great tips, guys! I think it’s super important to be encouraging to newbies because changing your lifestyle is hard enough as it is without people being snobs. (Can you tell it bothers me? haha)

    • I want all my friends to run, so I’m always encouraging them to start (sort of like when I love a book and want everyone to read it). I like to have a lot of fitness buddies.

      I read an article a while back about being a lifelong runner, and the author was basically like- you won’t know if you’ve made it a true habit until you’ve done it for a decade because true life changes are extremely difficult. So with that in mind, we all should continue to encourage one another. Glad I’m friends with awesome people like you and not jerks. 🙂

You’ve heard my thoughts! Would love to hear yours here.