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  • Writer's picturePat Birnie

Run baby run - 4 tips to start a successful running program

Have you always thought of taking up running, but it never seems to happen? Or it happens once, maybe twice and that's it? Well here’s your chance to learn how to get started safely and with great results!

Fall is the PERFECT time to take up running – I promise. It’s a comfortable temperature, you’ll build up endurance over the first few weeks to being able to run continuously for several minutes. By the time the cold weather sets in, you’ll have a lovely habit of running 3-4 times a week and will just ease into winter running (the second best time of year!). More on that in future posts

To get started – let’s first address a common question: What do I do if it’s raining?

1. Remind yourself that you are not made of sugar.

2. Put on a hat & a light shell jacket

3. Get your butt out the door.

Photo courtesy of Francesco Gallarotti, Unsplash

Let's explore a few common questions:

Q: I’ve always wanted to run, but never stuck with it. How do I get started and not get discouraged?

A: Set reasonable but ambitious goals that will help you build fitness and endurance. For brand new runners – walk briskly for 5 min to warm up; then start with 30 second run & 30 second walk. Do 10 repeats (10 min) then a 5 min cool down walk. Total 20 min & voila – you did your first run! Woot woot!! Repeat this every second day for 6 days. (more often if you are a keener but don’t go overboard). Week 2: Increase the run/walk to 1 minute run and 30 sec walk. Each week – increase the running portion by 30 seconds, but tailor to your ability and fitness level. Listen to your body – it should be challenging but not unbearable or painful. If you are really consistent, you'll get fitter faster and may be able to run 5 or 10 minutes continuously in a month or so – maybe sooner! Yippee!! Don’t forget to celebrate each success. Keep increasing your run portion every few days – you may need to give yourself a full minute walk rest at times, but it’s important to teach your body to recover quickly. Our goal is to get you running continuously – I personally am not a big fan of the long term “run/walk” practice, but that’s a matter of personal opinion. I love a continuous run – and it is possible to achieve a fitness level where you can run comfortably and even carry on a conversation! It just takes consistency. BONUS TIP: running few than 3 x a week doesn't work! You won't build the cardio conditioning you need for it to become easier.

Q: I’ve done this before but given up after a week or 2. How do I stay motivated to stick to it?

A: There are a couple of strategies I like – perhaps register for a 5 km run 3 months out. Tell someone. Get a friend to register with you (and perhaps train with you?!). Buddies are great to inspire each other – but you can do it yourself for sure! How about a great reward at the end of each month? A morning spent relaxing and doing your favourite chill activity (for me it would be settling in with a good book), a great new pair of running socks (also a treat for me, I know, weird) maybe a new pair of jeans after 3 months? You decide what is worth working towards. Of course you need to know WHY you want to do this! I love running, first because I just love running…. It’s good creative thinking time. It’s also great way to burn calories. I’ve made so many friends through running….the list goes on & on. However, your motivation has to be all your own – why do YOU want to do this?

Q: Isn’t running hard on your knees and other joints?

A: In a word - NO. Actually, that’s a big fat myth. A very long term study was done (decades long!) comparing the joint health of runners versus non-runners. At the end of the study – SURPRISE - runners had a lower incidence of knee & other joint problems than non-runners. 100% True Story!! Have you heard the expression “Motion is Lotion”? Sure, running may not be for everyone, but bottom line is, our bodies are designed to move; inactivity will do much more harm to us in the long run (no pun intended). However, if you do find your knees, feet, hips are getting a little achy – check out my favourite joint health product in the world! Procosa – this is what has kept me running, playing hockey, hiking across countries, chasing grand-babies and more for the past 9 years. You will definitely feel a difference—sometimes as quickly as a few days in. And you can get this professional grade product for less than the cost of a coffee a day – not a bad deal I’d say! Check out the link here & message me for more info and the best pricing!

Here's another excellent article from on getting started and becoming a 'runner'. Check it out for a few more tips & tricks.

The best thing is that you really don't need much gear - everyone has running shoes. Put on some lightweight breathable clothing (don't overdress-- that's a true sign of a beginner!) Add in an inexpensive watch like this with a stop/start timer and you are ready to go. Now...what are you waiting for? I'd love to hear your comments, experiences & questions - I'll be waiting!

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