My Advice For New Runners (Or Anyone Scared To Start)

January 9, 2013

Advice For New Runners

First Things First- Don’t Be Ashamed Of Where You Start.

Many of us come to running with not just physical weight we want to lose by getting fit, but there’s also the emotional weight, the baggage, that brought us to running in the first place.  Many of us feel like we don’t fit the stereotype of what a runner looks or acts like.  We belittle ourselves for years of inactivity or worry that we will fail if we try.

The first step in how to make running a habit and get fit is to forgive yourself and don’t be ashamed to start exactly where you are.  This is just a starting point, it doesn’t define you.


Then, Get Fitted For Shoes. Don’t Be Intimidated.

Not sure why, but when I started running, I was fine walking into a run shop to buy cute tanks and shorts, but getting fitted for the right shoes scared the bejeezus out of me.  I was nervous about running around the store and horribly self-conscious about the process of fitting (which really, ain’t no thang baby).

The benefit of getting fitted is that you’ll be sure to get the right pair to prevent injuries and most run shops offer a 30 day money back guarantee, even if the shoes show wear.  Invest in shoes, get fitted properly and you’ll feel so much better for it!


Choose A Race That Will Both Excite & Scare The Cr*p Out Of You.

Don’t just choose a goal- sign up for a race and pay for it.  You will not believe how motivating losing $100 and bragging rights can be when you want to throw in the towel!  My biggest piece of advice is that you need a goal that’s “too big to fail,” meaning- that you’ll have money and pride on the line, but it isn’t so hard that you physically can’t complete it.  It also needs to be fun, inspiring or loaded with perks.

When I started running last year, I couldn’t even run a mile, but when I saw the Tinker Bell Half Marathon medal, the thought of earning this bling excited me so much I was compelled to sign up. Of course, the idea of running 13.1 seemed insane, but not impossible.  Signing up for a half marathon put both a financial and a time commitment to my goal. Pick a goal that stirs your soul and scares you just enough, then put the money behind it!


Cars Driving By Don’t Notice You. Just Get Out There.

If you’re nervous to get started running outside because you feel you’ll be scrutinized by judgmental drives, don’t be.  Most drivers are busy trying to rock out to Katy Perry without being noticed or their mind is elsewhere.  Even if they do notice you huffing and puffing it’s probably for 20 seconds or less as they zoom by you on the roadway.

Usually, when you’re nervous to run it seems worse in your mind, just get out there and run- you’ll see it’s not as bad as you make it seem.  Even hundreds of miles later, I sometimes still try and use that excuse, but it’s really silly!


All You Need To Start Are The Basics, Don’t Overbuy, Don’t Overspend.

You don’t need supplements. You don’t need energy bars or chews or gels.  You don’t need compression socks.  You also don’t need expensive GPS tracking systems- at least, when you first start running.  Marketers are very savvy in telling us we “need to buy” to get started, but honestly, you just need the basics and the desire to work for it, which is something you can’t buy.

When I started, I had one dry wic outfit and one pair of shoes that I used for a month (hand washing after every run and left out to dry) until I was ready to get a variety.  You may feel the pressure to stock a wardrobe- don’t. Nobody is judging you except for the perceptions in your head!  In addition to not wasting money on stuff you don’t need yet, avoid the temptation to buy high-end gear because you feel you need to.  I used a free app on my phone, NikePlus with an iphone armband I got for $3 online (it still works 6 months later).



I was scared to start, I hope you’re not.  Every mile holds the possibility to change your body and change your life for the better.

I believe you can run, even if you have to walk when you start (I did!) -be brave, take that first step!



20 comments so far.

20 responses to “My Advice For New Runners (Or Anyone Scared To Start)”

  1. Mallory says:

    Such a great post to share with my friends scared to start running! 🙂 Thanks!

    • Shannyn says:

      Aww, thanks Mallory! I’m here to help and I know that I was so terrified to start running but a lot of it was the limitations I put on myself, so if I can help others break through their fears, that’s awesome 🙂

  2. Sai says:

    Well Said & thanks for the reminder **The first step in how to make running a habit and get fit is to forgive yourself and don’t be ashamed to start exactly where you are. This is just a starting point, it doesn’t define you.** I think this applies to anything we want
    The future is not define by your past but by what you do today that will change your future.
    Good Luck in the Run I am sure you’ll do F@BuLoUsS & feel even more F@BuLoUsS after you accomplish the goal

    • Shannyn says:

      Thank you so much! Running has already helped me feel more fabulous than I ever thought possible..who knew that getting sweaty and sore could feel so good? I sure didn’t!

      I hope everyone gets a chance to find that things that means as much to them as running does to me. 🙂

      • Sai says:

        Well getting the medal certainly tops that F@BuLoUsS & such energy having ran your goal that makes you want to do another run. Well that was until my body was so sore that I couldn’t move. For me/my body was hard cuz I injured my self & couldn’t even walk or train until about 3 weeks prior to Race Day but kept believing that I was going to make it against the odds & little training
        It was so rewarding good luck I work in Anaheim so maybe I’ll have to go see the medals so get me into the next Race.

        • Sai says:

          I am busy working, with a 17 month Boy & trying to get a business project going, but I cannot wait to quit my job & have the time to train again for the Coast to Coast Challenge

  3. My advice would also be to start small but stick with it. No one ever ran the first time and though, “geez this is SO fun!” But eventually you come to look forward to it. Non-runners don’t believe me but it’s true!

    • Shannyn says:

      It’s so true! When I first started, I could only do a 10 minute loop around the block and I was TOAST. I never though I’d do a half marathon, mud runs or eventually, my goal for 2013…to decide if I’m ready for a full! It gets better!

  4. Great post! I was right there with you on getting fitted for shoes. I had been running for well over a year before I finally bit the bullet and got fitted. Was not nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be. My feet are so glad I did it now. 🙂

    • Shannyn says:

      I know! Isn’t it weird how long some of us wait? I totally waited for about 4 months with an old pair of shoes before my boyfriend finally convinced me to get my butt in the shop for a fitting and I totally was nervous- and for no reason!

  5. Very inspiring post, Shannyn! Almost makes me want to go for a jog. Almost.

  6. krantcents says:

    I am a former runner! I used to run in parks, along the beach and on a country club. The issue for me was avoiding running on asphalt or any hard surface. The steady pounding is not good for your joints. I also wanted to stay away from traffic and the exhausts.

    • Shannyn says:

      Great advice- you have to find what works for you! I like trail running or running along dirt paths, it lessens the impact but also makes for a lovely view!

  7. Audra O. says:

    Great advice. The point about cars makes me laugh a little bit. I think it depends on where you live. I used to live in San Antonio and would no kidding get honked at running up and down my street. I used to keep count so I could tell me husband when I got home. Crazy people.

    • Shannyn says:

      I feel you on that! In California, I feel like I get a lot more stares than I did when I ran in neighborhoods in Chicago!! On average though, I think most of us are a lot more self conscious than we should be! I used to totally feel humiliated if a driver “caught me walking” for some silly reason..who cares if I’m walking? At least I’m not on the couch! haha!

  8. This is awesome advice! I have just started running a few months ago. I am loving it. I ran 7 miles the other day,my farthest. I think this convinced me to sign up for that half marathon because I am scared to death yet excited to work toward it!

    • Shannyn says:

      Go Jules, that’s amazing!! I hope you know what an accomplishment that is- not only 7 miles, but taking the leap for your first half marathon..amazing!

  9. Jay says:

    I really want to start running iv been through depression last 2 years after a big break up. i have put on alot of weight iv been trying to run on my treadmil but i get bored and stop. i want to run outside i think the fresh air will be god for me. my mother keeps telling me that im just going to be fat now and i need to just accept but i refuse to believe this. i want to run outside but im scared for people who know me or my ex to see how big i am right now. the thought of bumping into him terrifies me.


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