I can’t believe I’m making this blog post…
As someone who used to HATE running, I can’t believe I’m now making a blog post all about why I LOVE running and how you can begin to run! My goal for 2023 was to read 25 books and run the Philadelphia Marathon in November of 2023 (26.2 miles). I’m not too sure what came over me. I ran a half marathon in 2021 and didn’t feel the urge to keep running. I enjoyed it, yes. But I don’t remember into a love and passion with it the way I have with this marathon training. I know what you’re thinking, “Tori, anyone that hates running doesn’t sign up for a marathon”. And you’re probably right! But I really was someone that hated running. I would go out (very rarely, may I add) for a run if I felt motivated to do so, and I always would quit halfway through. I’d end up walking home or call my dad to come pick me up. I’d huff and puff the whole time cursing out anyone that said running was “fun”. Better yet, that they’d get a “runner’s high”. You’re kidding right?! Well, I am now one of those people. Every run is “great!!” and as someone that has had a runner’s high in this marathon prep, I can tell you, running is a lot of fun!
I am posting a lot of my running on my social media right now because it’s a huge part of my life. It’s harder to not talk about it than it is to just post about it. I was worried my followers would find it annoying, but frankly it’s been the opposite! When I post about running, my followers have never been more engaged! I get a lot of questions about how to begin running, what accessories I use, how to fall in love with running, and more. So I wanted to dive in deep today and discuss it all.
LISTEN TO MY PODCAST EPISODE ABOUT RUNNING:
OR IF YOU’D RATHER WATCH VIA YOUTUBE:
OKAY, LET’S DIVE IN
I love running for a lot of reasons and as a former hater of running, I can’t believe I’m about to proclaim my love of running! If you’re on the fence, here’s why I personally love running.
I LOVE THE ACCOMPLISHMENT I GET WHEN I RUN.
There is something really cool about your own two feet bringing you miles and miles. The other day I had a 10 mile run and I ran 5 miles out, 5 miles back. At the turn around point, I was 2 towns over from my house by the movie theater! I said out loud to myself “I just ran to the movies!!” and that’s pretty cool!
I LOVE THE SOLITUDE RUNNING GIVES ME.
It’s truly the ONLY time in my day that my phone does not matter. It’s the only time of my day that work stress does not matter. The ONLY thing that matters when I’m on my run, is my run. I find it incredibly hard to think about anything other than my run and positive thoughts. Any stress I feel before a run simply dissolves on the run. I am clear headed, I am at peace, I am in my own bubble, and truly nothing can disrupt me. It’s meditative.
I normally do not listen to music or podcasts when I run, I go out with just my mind. I’ve never been able to achieve this headspace in anything other than a run, ever.
I LOVE WATCHING MY PROGRESS.
When I started running in January, I started at 20 minute runs and my minute per mile pace was about 10:30/mi. 20 minutes was tough! I would listen to All Too Well (10 min version) twice and that would complete my run. I thought it was tough but I couldn’t wait to do it again. Then my runs would increase to 30 minutes, 40 minutes, 45 minutes, 50 minutes, 1 hour, 75 minutes, 90 minutes, etc. With each progression, I would be nervous going into it, then through repetition of these times, 40 minutes became my new “short run”, when at one point it was my long run!
I am now very comfortably sitting at 9:55-10:10/mi for my slow pace. I’m shaving off minutes (okay seconds but almost 1 minute!) from my pace, and getting comfortable running for longer periods the more I run. It’s been really cool to see my endurance progress.
RUNNING STARTS MY MORNING WITH A WIN.
I get to start the majority of my mornings with a WIN from running. The high from running lasts all day.The days I run are significantly better than the days I don’t. Even on the days I don’t want to run AT ALL, I always come back feeling on top of the world. I truly love it and am so grateful I get to run.
HOW TO BEGIN RUNNING AND STAY CONSISTENT
You can download the running plans by clicking here. These running plans are for anyone looking to incorporate running into your fitness routine. I have 1 beginner and 1 intermediate plan. Neither plan is prepping for a race, but rather to enter the routine of running into your lifestyle. Even after this blog post and podcast, if you are still confused on where to start, these plans are your go-to!
In order to begin running, you need to put yourself in the mindset of a runner. This ties back to the episode “YOU ARE WHAT YOU REPEAT” . Being a runner is a mindset. It’s an identity. Anyone can call themselves a runner, but it’s the repeated action of physically going out for runs that makes it feel real for us and validates our behavior of calling ourselves a runner. You do not need to run in races or run 10 miles a day to consider yourself a runner. If you run for 5 minutes a day, 5 miles a day, or 5 days a week, YOU ARE A RUNNER!
There is no threshold that you must pass in order to be a runner. So first and foremost, I want you to start calling yourself a runner, believe you are a runner, and show up each day as a runner would. Begin with the identity and mindset of a runner, because you are one.
DECIDE HOW MANY DAYS A WEEK TO RUN
I think starting with 3 days a week is great and gradually building up overtime to more days a week is a great start. Slowly progress from 3 to 4 days. Then 4 to 5. Don’t progress too quickly, otherwise you’ll be knocking on injury’s doorstep. Maybe you run Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Perfect! Whatever you days are, decide your running days and stick to them.
RUN MINUTES INSTEAD OF MILES
This changed running for me! Running 2 miles sounded daunting, but running 20 minutes, I could do! Even though for me, they equated the same time and distance. Running is a mind game!
Running 60 minutes sounded daunting, but running 30 minutes out 30 minutes back, I could do!
It also became about the time on feet, not how long until my next mile marker. I was running for 30 minutes, whether I hit 3 miles or 5 miles in that 30 minutes, it didn’t matter how slow or fast I was going because I was running 30 minutes regardless. I would just simply slow down if I was out of breath because I was running for TIME not mileage. If running 1 mile took me 11 minutes, then it took me 11 minutes! If it took me 9, then it took me 9! It didn’t matter the mileage, just the time. And that made running really welcoming.
Because I was running for minutes, I allowed myself to surrender to the run and just coast rather than be caught up in “2 more miles to go” or “1 more mile until I turn around” mindset. Running by time also goes by quicker. If I looked down a straight road, I would pick a spot and be able to guess that it would take 2 minutes to get there. Those 2 minutes would fly by!
Run for 20 minutes until you feel comfortable moving up to 25. Then up to 30. Then up to 35. Then 40, and this goes on and on. Before you know it, your new “daily run” will be what was once an unthinkable time for you!
If you have a “wall”, which is essentially where anything after this distance or time is a struggle, if you have a at 2 miles (or 20 minutes, whatever it might be), then stay at 20 minutes until you’re able to bump it up to 25. Let me remind you that whether you run 20 minutes or 20 miles, YOU ARE A RUNNER! You don’t become a runner after your first double digit run or hitting a sub 8-min mile. You become a runner by running regardless of the distance and pace.
The longer the runs, the easier it is. Which sounds so backwards and so weird, but when you’re in the mindset of “I’m in a long run, I may as well get comfortable and cruise”, it gets a lot easier to get lost in your runs which makes time fly by. Slowly progress to avoid injury and give yourself grace while building distance.
1/3 OF YOUR RUNS WILL BE AMAZING, 1/3 WILL BE GOOD, AND 1/3 WILL SUCK
And most runs, will have all 3 feelings during it! When I am on a run and feeling really sucky, I remind myself that it’s temporary and I will eventually feel good again. When I start to feel good, I really lean into it and smile. I look around, soak up the scenery, thank my legs, thank my heart, thank my lungs, thank my body for being able to run, and then when I feel amazing, I feel like I fly. This cycle repeats throughout the run. After every run when I track how my run went, I always write down “great!” because every run, though some parts challenge me, are always great in retrospect!
When you’re in the sucky part of the run, focus on what feels good. Running, while a physical sport, is totally mental. It’s easy to stop and walk, but it’s rewarding to push yourself past the suck to feel good again. The good feeling is always longer than the sucky parts of a run. You need to experience it all, but trust me it is so worth it. It’s part of the run! ALL RUNNERS, no matter how professional they look, struggle during runs. It wouldn’t be a run without feeling all the emotions, but that’s what makes it so awesome. Smiling helps. Talking to yourself helps!
I ran a 10 miler recently, alone, and if anyone saw me on the trail I looked like a total looney toon! I was clapping for myself to myself, encouraging myself, talking to myself, but I didn’t care! The only thing that mattered to me was finishing the run, no matter how crazy I looked!
TO BEGIN RUNNING:
- CHOOSE 2-3 DAYS A WEEK THAT WORK FOR YOU
- RUN MINUTES RATHER THAN MILES
- GO SLOW
I used to think runs had to be fast. That I was only a runner if I was hitting 8 minute miles or less. That’s why when I used to go out for runs, I’d go WAY TOO FREAKING FAST and burn out on mile 2 or 3! This would cause me to HATE RUNNING and say I wasn’t good at it when in reality, I was just going too fast!
Running a mile in 4 minutes or in 12 minutes is the same distance. Run slowly and build a cardio base. I was AMAZED to learn that runners get FASTER by running SLOWLY in the majority of their training runs! That’s why you see elite runners being able to “slow run” at 7, 6 minute miles because they’ve lowered their heart rate so much from running slowly for years. I myself have begun to see this! My slow run used to be 10:50 or so minute miles, now it’s about 9:55 to 10:15, which is a huge change! My level of effort is the same, but I’m just getting faster because I’m running slowly! For my marathon program, I have 1 speed workout a week, 1 tempo run where I play with my tempo, and 2-3 slowwwwww runs. The majority of my runs are slow.
Slow meaning I can hold a conversation at that running pace. If I can’t, I’m running too quickly. So run SLOW. There’s no medal waiting for you to sprint in your slow runs. Run slowly, and you will actually be amazed that you will shave minutes off your mile if you run slow the majority of your runs. Speed work is fun, at least for me I really enjoy it, but the slow runs are the base of it all. SO RUN SLOW!
DO I NEED TO HIRE A RUNNING COACH?
My answer to this is it depends. For me, when it came to marathon training I wanted a running coach that I was paying for so it held me accountable. It’s easy to skip runs when you’re not feeling it. Like really freaking easy. It’s easy to sleep in and not run. It’s easy to not show up to a race you paid for. But when I have a coach I’m paying every month for a training program, I’m going to get my money’s worth!
When I know I have a coach that can see my runs and training progress, I’m going to make sure I’m doing the runs to the best of my ability. Not only because I know he can see it, but also because it’s so rewarding to see my stats on my watch progress.
When I have a coach who I’ve told my goals to and wants to see me win, I want to win! It’s an accountability partner more than anything. It’s that extra push I need some days. Plus, there are a lot of times I have questions or need advice and he’s my go to person to ask.
It is, however, a personal decision! If I was running just for fun, I don’t think I would have a coach. When I am training for a distance race like a marathon, I will absolutely have a coach. I found my coach at my local running store. I recommend to start there if you are looking for a coach, or search on Instagram! There are many talented runners and coaches out there that share a deep passion for what they do and would love to help anyone fall in love with running.
I’m also really blessed to have my mom share her knowledge and love of running. I have another friend, Britt, who is a badass distance runner! I met her 5 years ago at Stride when we first opened, and she has been such a support system to me. She calls me her 1%, she’s my 1% too 🙂
The great thing about running is you don’t need much to get started! Let’s start with the basics, then get into the fancies if you want to be extra (which is never a bad thing).
This is wildly personal. The best thing I can recommend is throw what you’ve seen on Instagram out the window and go to your local running store, talk to a worker, and get fitted! The workers there will properly fit your foot (I’m a size 8 but wear size 9 running shoes, whoa), and give you options to try on.
Options they give you will depend on so many things like your arches, your running goals (some shoes are illegal if you’re trying to Boston Qualify, go figure), if you want a carbon plate (essentially makes you run faster, so I’m told…), how you run, if you have problem areas, and what kind of feeling you prefer.
If you want to run on a cloud, there are shoes for that, if you like less cushion, there are shoes for that, if you’re a toe runner, there are shoes for that. What works for one person, might not work for you. Just because everyone is wearing the Nike Vapor Fly, doesn’t mean they’ll work for you!
Some runners will rotate shoes throughout training. Some want shoes that are good for walking and running. Talk to your local running store and get the right shoe for you. Also be prepared, why are running shoes in hideous colors?? Why can’t I get a neutral running shoe in the brand / style I like?!
I personally ran my half marathon in 2021 in Hoka Clifton 8’s and am currently running in Saucony Endorphin Speed 3. I love the Saucony Speed 3 because it’s good for me, what I need, distance, and speed.
MY FAVORITE IS THE COROS PACE 2.
The Garmin was a great starter running watch, with great stats on the garmin app. The only downside was the GPS, it would take forever, I’m talking minutes, to load which when you’re starting a run is really annoying. I also needed my phone with me for my Garmin to work GPS wise which I found annoying.
The Nike x Apple Watch was good. It didn’t give me crazy running stats but I know now the new Apple Watches are stepping their running game up to compete with the other watches. Mine is older so it’s not fancy, but it did a good job tracking distance, HR, time, the basics.
The Coros Pace 2, though, wow! It’s reasonably priced at $200 for a great watch with lots of features. It’s also GPS watch that loads in seconds. What I really like about the Coros Pace 2 is that I can program speed workouts my coach makes and sync it with my watch. Meaning, if I need to hit a pace, my watch will tell me when I’m in that pace. If I’m doing a fartlek run and timing 5 minutes of work, 3 minutes of rest, my watch will do that for me.
The coros app, which comes free with the watch, is next level. The running stats I get from 1 run is INSANE. I can see everything, my route, heart rate, threshold, pace threshold, stride distance, elevation, rest, recovery, sleep, pace per mile, lap distances, it’s honestly insane what this app shows. It’s a really cool watch with awesome features. I highly recommend it if you want to take your runs to the next level.
I get asked about which headphones I like to run with. I don’t run with headphones a lot, but when I do I honestly use plug in headphones you get from the apple store. All my headphones die on me when I run because I get too sweaty, or it’s too hot, or too cold for my headphones.
I actually prefer to not run with music as it distracts me and I can’t get fully into my runs. I find myself tracking the songs by minutes and thinking “okay I’m 3 minutes into this run” or “3 songs just passed which is 9 minutes or so so I should be almost at x mile”. I find it distracting and hard to get into my run and lost in my head. Getting lost in my thoughts is the best part of a run!
This pair of open ear headphones I’ve been wanting to get my hands on, but no rush for me. I prefer the nature. And I like being aware.
I always run with my phone on me. I feel safer, but I never touch it. I use an arm band for my phone and definitely recommend! It’s liberating to be hands free when you run. I’ve tried running belts and found they bounce around, so this arm band is the next best thing for me.
I tend to eat a bit before my runs. My go-to is a banana or banana muffin. It works well for me! You just have to try some foods out and see what your stomach likes and doesn’t like. Which is a dangerous and not fun game to play… but necessary.
When I run in the afternoon, my stomach does not like it so I prefer to run in the morning. I do currently drink G1m Sport by BPN supplements. It’s an electrolyte drink with sodium and carbs. I drink it after my runs (sometimes during if my boyfriend bikes next to me while I run, he will carry it in a backpack), but mostly after. It’s delicious and refuels my salt levels after. I am quite the sweater.
In warm weather, I love running in Free People The Way Home shorts. I also really like the lululemon Fast and the Free Shorts, but use caution because they are teeny tiny shorts. I feel naked when I run in them which when it’s dead of Summer I will appreciate. I like flowy shorts for running that are high waisted which is why those 2 are my favorite.
For long sleeve shirts, I love lululemon Swiftly Longsleeve.
For leggings, I like the lululemon Fast and Free Leggings.
For running socks, I like the lululemon Power Stride Running Sock, Ankle Height.
I like running in hats, and honestly any work for me! I like regular dad baseball hats. I have a few from Stride, a few from Nike, none though that I really ride hard for and claim are the best running hat ever, lol.
I try to keep running as simple as possible with the least amount of accessories as possible.
I would also like to recommend a book, it’s called “Let your mind run” by Deena Kastor. She is an olympic marathoner. My mom bought me this book before my half in 2021 and I was obsessed. Her journey is amazing but her mindset is even better! The title says it all, running is SO mental and when you want to give up, your mind gives up before your body. If you master your mind, you’ll win every run.
You can look at all the products I recommend and use for Running in this Amazon list I created.
That about covers it! Thank you for reading and I hope after this post, you feel motivated to go for a run! It truly is a rewarding sport with great fun. I would love to keep up with your running journey, tag me on your runs and have fun!!