Fitness Q&A: How Did You Get Started Running?

One of the questions I get asked the most is “How did you get started running?”

Get Started Running

First of all, I truly despised running with all of my being until about two years ago this summer. From my elementary school days on, any attempts I made at running, for gym class or otherwise, made me feel weak and slow and completely unathletic. Throw in a case of mild exercise-induced asthma, and running was the last thing I wanted to try to get fit.

Then I caught wind of the Couch to 5K program, mentioned it to a friend, and there was no looking back. We started in May of 2011 and were doing pretty well…until she left on a missions trip and I got pregnant! That kind of threw a wrench in things!

I had at least built up a little confidence in myself because of those five or so weeks trying Couch to 5K. While I was pregnant, it seemed like everyone I knew took up running. I didn’t need any other motivation than that indirect peer pressure to make me want to start moving again as soon as the doctor cleared me post-partum.

April 16, 2012 was the day I got serious about this whole running thing. And I started slow again.

Newbie runner tip #1: Start slow. Ease in.

Yep, I started back at the beginning of Couch to 5K. Being 6 weeks postpartum and still a newbie, I wanted to ease myself in. There was no pressure to go a certain pace or mileage. I just got out there and moved. A very little bit of running and a lot of walking to start off.

If you don’t know anything about Couch to 5K, it’s basically intervals of running and walking, starting with very short runs and longer walks and increasing the running time as you go. The plan is all laid out right here and there are many apps that will help you time the intervals as you run!

On April 16, 2012, I did 1.83 miles in 26 minutes. That included a five-minute warm-up walk, then alternating 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes. I walked for a minute to cool down at the end.

I remember the first time I went over 2 miles. I was THRILLED! And I stayed in that 2 mile range for the next month, still alternating running and walking.

Newbie runner tip #2: Build up endurance first. Speed will come later.

In the middle of all of this, we went through selling and buying a house and then moving. I had no gym membership or treadmill at this time. I ran outside whenever it worked for The Hubby to watch the kids. And I usually nursed Double J right before I left. It was a bit of a juggling act, but it got easier as he got older and spaced out his feedings.

Newbie runner tips #3: Give yourself grace and listen to your body.

Following the Couch to 5K plan had me running three days a week and, even now, three to four days a week of running is still my norm. Cross-training and rest days are important for keeping your body healthy and injury-free. I experienced some knee pain a few months in to running and had to take more days off than I wanted, but it definitely shortened my recovery time. {Turns out I needed better shoes, but I’ll get to that in a later post!}

After a few months, I started to compare myself to others who had been running longer than I. Big mistake.

Newbie runner tip #4: Set your OWN goals and celebrate your OWN accomplishments. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

When I was pushing myself to be more like other runners, I was NOT happy running. I needed to take a good look at the improvements I had made from week to week and take pride in what I was doing! To help me focus on MY running and no one else’s, I signed up for a 5K. It gave me something to work towards and took my attention off runner’s envy!

I ran my first 5K with my sweet sister July 28th and I knew I was on my way to being a “real” runner!

{I’ll talk more about how I built up my distance over the next several months time in a future post!}


I wanted to share a few resources that helped me get excited about running and gave me lots of info! Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother are great books for motivation, gear recommendations, tips for making running work together as a mom, and lots of laughs! The Another Mother Runner blog is fabulous as well.


Who is ready to lace up their shoes and give this running thing a try?! Is anything holding you back? Any other questions about getting started running?

If you are already a runner, what helped you when you started out?


*I am not a medical expert or a trainer of any kind. I am just sharing my own personal experiences with running and fitness! Always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

**This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. Loving this series! I’m reading Run Like A Mother – seriously motivating! As are you ๐Ÿ™‚ what’s holding me back? The weather! It is only just starting to warm up and we haven’t a treadmill – hopefully next week I’ll be able to hit the road without freezing my toes!

  2. Some time ago I fell off the exercise train, I can’t remember why now. Well, this week I was back at the gym for the first time in a long time. I took it slow but I ran a complete mile. I was happy that I could do that after having been away for such a long time. I would love to be able to just open the door and go for a run but the weather and our location don’t really allow for that. Well, I guess I could work with the weather but the location part we’re stuck in for the time being.

    Thanks for sharing your story! It’s motivating and helpful.

  3. I started running when a close friend was going thru chemotherapy….when it got tough and I wanted to quit….I would yell at myself…it went something like this….” Mark can’t stop his chemo, no matter the pain and suffering! he is facing it head on! Suck it up! This is nothing compared to what he is going thru!”. I think I yelled at myself on every run for the first six months.

  4. When I started having new music helped me. Now listening to audio books or podcasts helps me mentally through runs.

    • Music is key for me if I’m not running with someone, but I’ve loved some podcasts while running, too!

  5. Hey, friend! I stopped by your place to let you know how Stitch Fix worked out for me…but I bumped into this post first. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been running for about two years now…and these were good reminders because I’m constantly pushing myself too much, especially when it comes to distance. One thing that has helped me build my speed is running hills…which I detest, but it is effective. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway…maybe one day you and I can go for a nice, long run to Target to shop for some cute clothes. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great Monday!

    • We have some pretty intense hills right in our own neighborhood so they are often part of my regular runs! Last weekend, I did some hill repeats and yesterday, I did a hill workout on the treadmill! My legs are not pleased, but my running is thanking me for it!

      And I would LOVE to run AND shop with you! Such fun!

  6. I’m 6 weeks postpartum with baby #6. I’ve started C25k a couple of times before. Maybe third time’s a charm!

    • That is so awesome! Just keep at it and go as slow and steady as you need to! There is no reason to rush! I’ll be praying for you and let me know how it’s going!