Nutrition articles

For those of you who read these running articles but don’t actually run …

I met a lady last week who told me that she still read this column about running but that she herself is not a runner. Curious, I asked him why. “I am preparing for it,” she said. “I know running would be good for me, but I just can’t seem to get started. I hope one day I will.

So, for this lady, and for anyone else who aspires to be a runner but still hasn’t gone for a run, today’s article is especially for you.

What is holding you back

You’d probably expect me to tell you to put on your running shoes, start today, and stick to a couch-to-5k training plan. Yes, it works for a lot of people, but I guess you’d be running already if this approach worked for you. But there is most likely something else holding you back. It could be a fear of failure, a lack of self-confidence, an old injury, a busy schedule, or the belief that you won’t be able to do it. Ask yourself what is really preventing you from getting started. You might be waiting for the perfect time to start.

Why do you aspire to run

The truth is, you might never start running if you wait until all of the most “important” things on your to-do list are done and the time is right. So, instead, ask yourself: what is it that catches your eye in this world of running? Maybe you have some running friends who want some of their energy, fitness, or excitement? Maybe you need some free space and fresh air and walking just doesn’t give you the same buzz as before? Maybe you just want to feel better, stronger, and more confident about yourself. Could it be the medals and the race days that appeal to you? If you consider the benefits running could offer you, or better yet, what you might be missing out on by not starting soon, it might cause you to re-evaluate your priority list.

be reasonable

Before you rush to start now, there is an element of common sense that should prevail if you are to start on this racing path. You need a basic level of fitness and have no underlying illnesses, injuries or weaknesses that would prevent you from starting to run. As a rule of thumb, if you are able to walk quickly, comfortably, and painlessly for 30 minutes, you can begin to incorporate running very gradually into your steps. If you are not sure, talk to your doctor before switching from walking to running.

Start with the basics

In order for running to become a positive part of your week, you need to take advantage of it and be reasonable in how you maintain motivation, as well as in building endurance. There is no shortage of tips, resources, clubs, and training plans to help you progress once you’ve caught the running bug, but first you need to start, build confidence, and actually want to. keep running. If you have the support of a running buddy or a beginner’s training plan that you want to stick with, go for it. But if the idea of ​​embarking on a structured 5K couch program still seems too daunting, let’s start with a more informal approach.

Your first race

As you read this, think about where your first walk / run will be. What time of day will it be? What will you be wearing? Will you run alone or with someone else? It really helps to be able to imagine yourself running to help overcome those mental obstacles that have held you back so far. You might see yourself running around your local park, a country road, or even somewhere a little further from home if you feel awkward at first. Imagine running slowly for a minute along this path. Just a minute, nothing more. If you can imagine this happening, you might just start to believe that you can do it.

Walk out the door

The next step is to reproduce this image of you running into reality. Go out for a walk on the route you envisioned and when you get to where you plan to run, start slowly. Do not run for more than a minute and start walking again. If you feel like it, try another one-minute running segment near the end of your route. It may not seem like much, but it’s a good start. Gradually, those running segments will feel more comfortable and you can add more along the route over the weeks. You will feel your physical condition, your confidence and your motivation improve. When the time is right, you may feel ready for a more structured training plan to help you progress even more. But you have to figure out when it might be.


As you read my next column, you can be a runner and have a different perspective on what I have to say. But you have to take the next step yourself. Remind yourself of why you are drawn to running and what you might miss if you don’t start soon. You don’t need medals, gadgets, or fancy equipment to be a runner. You can be one now by changing your mindset and believing that you can do it. Yes, it takes time to progress, but it only takes one run to get started. So prepare yourself for success. Start small. Celebrate every minute and don’t compare yourself for a second to another runner. You have a world of opportunities ahead of you. Let’s take it one race at a time.

Register for one of the Get started from the Irish Times programs (it’s free!).
First, choose the eight week program that’s right for you.
Beginner Course: A route to go from inactivity to running for 30 minutes.
– Stay on track: For those who can run a few times a week.
– 10km course: Designed for those who want to go up to the 10 km mark.
Good luck!

– Mary Jennings is founder and running coach with Its winter term of running programs and courses begins Monday, November 1.