As I approached 40 and my kids were at the point where they needed chasing, I decided to take up running. I had never run in my life, apart from short sharp bursts on a netball court in my 20s. I was someone who thought the words “fun” and “run” should never be found in the same sentence.
However, one day out walking on my new “get fit to keep up with the kids” regime, I found myself powering along so quickly that something told me to start running. Five minutes turned into five kilometres, which turned into a half marathon. A few years later, I was running 100 kilometres (yes, in one go) and loving every second! Back in high school, dodging cross-country runs and athletics carnivals was my specialty, so how did I get here?
I am living proof that anyone can take up running and learn to love it. Since my own transformation, I have successfully coached hundreds of others to find their inner runner. If you’ve ever had even just a tiny inkling that you’d like to start, let’s bust a few myths that may be blocking your way.
1. You’re Not Fit Enough
This may be true, but this is the start of your journey, and hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. Get out a few times a week and set yourself mini goals like running for one minute, two minutes or five minutes. Repeat for a few weeks and then increase your run time. Little by little, day by day, week by week, your fitness will improve. It’s like kind of like magic. Just start.
2. You Don’t Have Enough Time
Everyone is busy – fact! I’m a wife, a mom of two teenagers, a full-time worker, a part-time running coach (and sometimes I even write blogs), but I make it work. If you sit down with your journal, calendar, or list-making app and add in all your must-do items each week (work hours, appointments, kids’ activities, and the rest) you can find the gaps. This may be lunch time, early mornings, afternoons while the kids are in sports.
And you needn’t seek out hours for long hauls on your feet—even ten minutes a few times a week will get you on the path toward a healthy routine (and still have meaningful benefits for your health)
If you really want to make something work, you can (and will) find a way.
3. You’re Always Too Tired
This may sound counterintuitive, but the less active you are, the more tired you become. If you can psych yourself up to take that first step out the door and get yourself into a routine of regular exercise, you will actually become less tired, have more energy, and be running free in no time. Plus, you’ll sleep better, too.
4. You Need Expensive Running Shoes
When I set my sights on becoming a runner, my first pair of shoes was a pretty blue pair on sale at a local sports store. Although they weren’t top-shelf running shoes, they were new, they were designed for running, and they provided some support – win, win, win. To get yourself started, the most important thing is to check that your shoes are designed to be run in, not shoes for the gym floor or simply a fashion shoe. If you do discover your inner love of running down the track, you can then invest in more expensive runners if you wish, but it’s not a necessity.
5. You’re Too Old to Start
Since taking up running when I was close to 40, I have also coached many, many others to do the same, the majority of them between the ages of 35 and 65. There is no age limit as to when you can start running. The time is right now.
6. You’ll Get Injured
To ponder this before you even start is pure excuse-making. Most injuries in newer runners are caused by doing too much too soon or not being strong enough. Be sure to accompany your running with some strength workouts and seek advice from a coach, personal trainer or more experienced runner. Heck, the internet has plenty of learn-to-run plans, and there are also apps you can use to help you start running, as well as build strength.
Most importantly, don’t forget to warm up thoroughly and let your body recover fully after each run. Learn how pros use massage in their recovery routines.
7. You Have No Place to Run
Do you live near a park, a street, a beach, a gym, a bush trail? You have plenty of places to run.
8. You’re “Not a Runner”
Exactly – you’re not a runner yet, but it’s never too late. Start today! As mentioned above, there are plenty of plans out there to get you started sensibly. Seek one out, ask an expert for advice, find a running coach to set you on the path to success, and maybe even find a friend to join you as an accountability buddy. After all, running friends are friends for life!
Now get out there and have fun! Already on the runner’s path? Recover like a pro with an in-home sports massage:
This article was originally published in Tonic Magazine
Rachel Allworth, a level 2 accredited running coach, operates a 10-week online learn to run program, a running fitness program via Zoom and more. You can learn more about Rachel and her program at RachelsRunners.com