Taking the Leap: Running a 5k, 10k, Half or Full Marathon in 2017
So you’re thinking about doing some serious running this year, but you’re not an avid runner?

I completely get it. I run one to two miles outside or on the treadmill 1-3 times a week, but I’m not putting in 8 miles on a Saturday morning like my old college roommate (I want to be, though!)

I used to run, or I could run long distance, but not so much anymore. Maybe you’re in the same boat, or maybe you’re someone who’s never been a runner or who has ever ran more than three miles in your entire life, and that’s totally okay. 

I know from personal experience that running takes practice. A lot of practice. But it’s also incredibly beneficial.

When I first started running back in highschool, I could barely make it a mile without stopping. I’d been involved in some kind of sport since age 6, so I was disappointed that I couldn’t do this one thing. I devoted the next several months to achieving more than I did the last time, and so on.  

Fast forward to now, after years of personal bests and some not so personal bests, and I’ve transformed myself into a much stronger athlete– CrossFit training and weightlifting have been added to my fitness routine. But along the way, I lost what I called being in “running shape." I want to get closer to where I used to be. I want to be good at ALL THE THINGS! And that's what 2017 will be for me: the "get in running shape" year. 

With the right attitude, running shoe and moving legs, we'll be able to improve our bodies and minds for 2017. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that running has amazing physical effects: it builds strong bones and muscle strength, improves cardiovascular fitness, burns calories and helps maintain and lose weight. Running also makes us happier, adds year to our lives, reduces our risk of cancers and other diseases and improves our memory, just to add a few more. So it’s great for us!

Now that you’ve decided to take the leap of getting into running in 2017 and improve your life, I’m here to help– since I, too, have decided to take that leap.

It’s really exciting! We're dedicating time to improving our bodies and minds and taking on a new challenge! Maybe we'll work up to running 26.2 miles by this time next year! Possibilities are endless as well as the benefits.

And after consulting our wise running shoe wizards here at Holabird Sports, I'm able to give you some sound advice to start your training. So here are a few tips to start your running journey:

1.  Find the right shoe

It’s important that before you start seriously taking up running, you find the correct shoe. We suggest going into a store where professionals can help you decide what works best for you, because the chance of injury severely increases by running in a shoe that doesn’t fit you correctly.

You’re going to be starting your running journey, so you need to be prepared! You wouldn’t go camping without any gear, right? You could get eaten by a bear, left without light or without food if you don’t gear up beforehand! And it’s the same with running. Don’t risk injuring yourself before taking precautionary steps like researching and meeting with a professional at a shoe store, and, well, getting super amped about this awesome new life activity.

2. Start by walking.

Once you’ve found your shoe, you can’t immediately go run a 5k. When deciding to run, you can’t run before you can walk, like a baby can’t walk before it can crawl. We need to start off with the basics before we can master the end goal. Start by walking at a more than leisurely pace for 10-30 minutes a day. When that becomes easy, you’re ready to start walk-jogging.

3. Jogging/Walk Jogging

This phase is comprised of cycling through periods of walking and jogging, alternating back and forth. The periods of jogging can be as long or short as you’d like, based on your level of fitness. The same goes for the walking portions. If you spend most of your time on the treadmill instead of out on the road, you can get more ambitious and change the incline on your treadmill for a bit of a challenge. As with the previous phase, this phase can last until it starts to get too easy for you.  

4. Landmarks! Point A to point B

Based on your activity level, you can go from the Jog/Walk Phase to picking landmarks to run to, increasing the distance between those with each time you go out. The idea here is to maintain a running pace for as long as you can, but with a built-in rest period. You can use things like street lamps, signs, fire hydrants, mailboxes, etc., for your landmarks. There are a lot of great running applications that you can use to keep track of your progress or that provide little achievements for you to work toward. You may be able to find an app that is specifically made for a particular distance like your first 5k, for example. 

5. LSD...

Long, Slow, Distance. I found that running for distance (over speed) was another valuable tool for getting me in shape. Once I built a strong base, I was able to focus on running a little faster. This may have meant that I set out with one goal of not stopping for 30 minutes. I had to work through many miles to get to this point, though. So, be patient, understand that this is a process, but you CAN do it!

6. Sign up for the race!

After you’re consistently running your goal time or distance, then it’s time to sign up for that race! So now you’re saying to yourself, “this distance is easy for me. This 5k I can do, and now I can set some personal records!” From there, just keep going: keep wanting to be faster, run farther, be better, and your running journey will never end. You're making an incredibly beneficial life change, and if you need any help along the way, we're here for you. Good luck out there!