running running 101

Running 101: Slow down

Friday, 7 June 2013

How many times have you heard people say “I can’t run. I know I can’t. I ran after my dog / child / the bus the other day and almost died.” ?

I hear it all the time. All.The.Time. And all the time I say “You ran too fast. If you want to start running, you have to start slow. Like really reaaaally slow.”

If you haven’t done any running before you cannot expect your body to be able to run at speed straight away. Walk initially for 5-10 minutes to warm up and then run only at a pace that is slightly faster than your fast walking speed.

Run so slowly that you think that you look stupid. That you think that everyone is looking at you and at how slowly you run.

The truth is that no one is looking at your running speed. Seriously, no one.

So just run slowly enough so that it’s comfortable and enjoyable. If you can keep this up for 10-20 minutes, that’s great, if not, run for a couple of minutes and then walk for a couple of minutes.

Rest for a day and then go out again to walk/run so that it’s comfortable and enjoyable. As soon as you start pushing yourself too much in the beginning your brain will shut down and tell you “I told you that you can’t run.”

Only once you’re able to continuously run for 30 minutes (at whatever pace! :) should you start thinking about increasing speed or distance.

Slow and steady wins the race!

Well, maybe not literally, but it is the way that will put you in tune with your own body – the more you observe at what speed your body likes to run, the more you enjoy it and are able to safely start pushing your limits once you feel ready for it.

It’s not a race to become a runner. It’s a gradual journey of self-discovery. Enjoy it! :)

This is how my running pace has decreased from the time I started running - slow but steady improvement.

This is how my running pace has decreased from the time I started running – slow but steady improvement. (February and March this year were pre-marathon long run months = very slow).

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  • TOTKat Sunday, 9 June 2013 at 15:08

    Great post for all new runners and running deniers :o)

    I often wonder how the heck I didn’t die when I started running – I used to get out of the tube 2 stops early and run the rest of the way home… up Wimbledon hill along Church Road alongside Wimbledon Park… having not run since I was about 10. My heart rate would shoot up to 190+ BPM and stay there all the way up the hill. Madness!

    I wish someone had said this to me at the time; “Run so slowly that you think that you look stupid. That you think that everyone is looking at you and at how slowly you run.”. So right and much safer!

    • MrsB Monday, 10 June 2013 at 12:16

      You did well if you ran up that hill every time! I used to walk it for months when I first started running.

      And this experience didn’t put you off running, I think many people would have given up and just thought ‘running is too hard’. They would definitely benefit from going slow to being with – you, however, are a different class of badass :)

      • TOTKat Monday, 10 June 2013 at 12:24

        One (wo)man’s badass is another (wo)man’s lunatic :oD

        Wholeheartedly agree that slow is the best way to get pretty much anyone into running.

  • Metropolitan Mum Friday, 7 June 2013 at 19:43

    I need to get my back back together and hit the road again. I miss running!

    • MrsB Monday, 10 June 2013 at 12:16

      Is the pilates helping with your back?

  • CindySleepSpin Friday, 7 June 2013 at 12:04

    :) Thank you for this. I feel better about my slow running already! :)

    • MrsB Monday, 10 June 2013 at 12:18

      Good to hear :)