Help Me, I Don't Even Know Where to Start!!

Updated on March 03, 2012
R.M. asks from Evanston, IL
31 answers

My BFF who LOVES exercise has talked me (who HATES exercise) into doing a 5k with her in 2 months. I can't understand why anyone would pay money to be tortured by running 3 miles but that is because I hate cardio!!! I am a physically"fit" person I guess and I do strength training exercises quite often but when it comes to cardio I basically do none or sporadically do 20 mins on the elliptical etc. I just hate it and have never stuck with doing it regularly. So we are starting from square one here and I need help and have no time to lose. I have no idea how to prepare and train for this...I am already kind of dreading it but want to force myself to do this just to prove that I can I guess! Plus everyone I know who does marathons and such seem to keep doing them for some reason so I am hoping some magical force will take over me and I will understand why someone would WANT to do this. LOL. Has anyone else gone from "non-runner" to "runner" and can share their experience? Thanks!!

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answers from Atlanta on

Two months is plenty of time! You know - you don't have to run the whole thing either. There are always plenty of people walking part or all of 5K and 10K races. I haven't used Couch to 5K, but I know lots of people who have loved it! Three miles will go by like nothing!

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answers from Chicago on

i'm definitely a "non-runner" but Couch to 5K is a great place for you to start. You might find it "slow" because you're already fit, but at least it's starting point! Have fun! :)

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answers from Jacksonville on

We had a couple of friends that became avid runners...I never got it either. But I guess if there is ever a Zombie invasion, people like me and you are going to get eaten, while they will probably survive it. :)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Couch to 5K is absolutely the way to go. It's a 9-week program. Start today.

I did some team sports when I was younger, but at the recreational level, nothing in high school and nothing that required running. I hate running, and I've never been an athlete. I've been overweight since I was 15 and have held on to more weight with each pregnancy. I wear plus size clothing.

That said, I did my first 5K in 2008, took a couple of years off for pregnancy and recovery from some foot injuries, and last year did 3 5Ks, a 10K and a triathlon. Honestly? I still can't run 3 miles. But I can jog a mile or two, walk for a couple of minutes, run some more, walk some more, etc. until I'm done. I am definitely a "back of pack" racer but racing, in and of itself, is actually fun. I love the atmosphere, I love talking to others (especially other beginners), I love seeing people who are twice my age or older pass by me not breaking a sweat. In the triathlon, a 72-year-old woman passed me on the run and was cheering me on - I want to be her someday! I like going home and adding another race number to my collection. I love doing events with friends, but don't mind going solo if I have no one to buddy up with. And the training forces me to get off my butt and hit the road (or the pool or the bike).

I am 50 lbs overweight and built for baking, not running, and even I can manage to enjoy this - you can too! So, what's good about running? It's free and it's efficient. You don't have to buy anything other than good running shoes, you can just walk out your front door, get going, and 30-45 minutes later, you're done. The impact is great for building bone density and it's a great calorie burner and stress reliever. And definitely get off the equipment and get outside!

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answers from Chicago on

Couch to 5K. It's an app you can get on your phone or ipod touch. Best thing I've done in years was download that app and start running in September -- after 6 years off. Maybe you'll actually enjoy it. If not, then why do it? Just tell her you're not a runner. Running is hard on your joints -- especially on pavement outside. It isn't for everybody.

You do need to train outside and not on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill isn't like running outside, and you won't be ready if don't train outside.

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answers from Dallas on

I did it a while back. I did all sorts of exercise before, but never running and thought I would hate it..and I did for a while. I did a half marathon but I have backed off the long distances and don't do more than a 5k or 10K. Start easy...walking mostly with a little running. The couch to 5k program will give a good idea on how to start.

Running still is not my favorite form of exercise, but when I do I enjoy it now instead of dreading it.

Couch to 5K:

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answers from New York on

It's one of those things you either love to do or hate. Personally I hate running but love to walk. If you don't mind walking maybe you could do a walk/run combo to train or just walk the whole way on race day. Just throw on your mp3 player and rock out at your own pace.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi R., running, is not for me either. I am non-runner and will not become a runner. Many of my friends run and they have BEGGED me to join them "it's so much fun" they say, "it's so freeing" they say, "it will expand your mind" they say. "Who cares!" I say.
R., if you are already dreading it, don't do it. Find another way to participate. Maybe you will be her cheer leader, her strength training coach, her celebration partner. But my goodness, if you don't want to run, DON'T RUN!
Sometimes we get a weird sense of "obligation" and we force our self to do it. WHY? You know you can do anything you set your mind to. You KNOW that, so who are you trying to prove it to?
I know that many times throughout my life I "forced" myself to do something that someone else wanted of never ended up good.
R., listen to your own heart, do not let peer pressure push you into something. There are many things you can do with your friend that does not include running. Find something that works for BOTH of you!

Family Success Coach

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answers from Dallas on

I did!! I HATED running, I used to cheat in junior high PE class and say I ran the designated amount, when really, I didn't. I always felt it looked boring and not being able to watch a TV while doing it felt as if the task would go on FOREVER. Then, after my second baby, I was living in a state that is very active, tons of cyclists, tons of runners etc... I thought, maybe there is something more to this running thing. So I started out with a designated point before I could stop to walk and before I knew it, the competition within myself kicked in and now I seek out running spots in my city. I've also realized, how much of a therapy session it is for me to run and leave all worries behind. I beat myself up when I don't do well on runs and I hate that feeling so the next time, my competitive brain kicks in and tells me I HAVE to do better this time around. I now have a goal to run a marathon at DisneyWorld in the next couple of years. It's weird for me to think back to my old days of hating to run, to now really enjoying it.

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answers from San Francisco on

My friend went from non-runner to runner by joining a class through a local sports store. Are there any runners' stores in your area? They probably have training programs available for groups of people like you. Being part of a group seems to help a lot.


answers from Dallas on

I think you need to put in some time on the treadmill. Start with 20 minutes at a level 4 then up the level and time the next day until you can easily do 3 miles at a pace that wont embarass you. For instance, I do a mile on a steep incline in about 12 minutes. When I started, I was doing a flat on the floor mile in 18 minutes.

Take your ipod and listen to a book or some music. The time goes be faster.



answers from San Diego on

Hello, I would just start small and build. The first week, try running a half mile and add each week. I just walked my first 5K last month. I know it isn't the same, but I a 62, have a bone disease and suffer from heart failure. I was very proud of myself for doing this. The money went to childrens' heart health. My granddaughter had two heart surgeries by the time she was a little over a year old, so this was very important to me. Try to focus on what the money will go for and it will help.
Good luck.
K. K.


answers from Kalamazoo on

JB - I think you just inspired me :)



answers from Los Angeles on

I agree with you, but you agreed, so get your butt moving. You might find that you end up liking it OR you'll never be talked into doing another one! LOL

This link is a very basic training program and is intended only to increase your fitness level to the point at which you can run 2 miles without stopping in 8 weeks.

Or this one might be easier to follow and read:

The Couch-to-5K ® Running Plan


answers from Los Angeles on

Couch to 5k... google it. You have plenty of time to get ready...and this will ease you into it. Worst case - almost anyone can walk/run 3 miles...just grin and bare it :P

Good luck and try to have fun.


answers from Nashville on

If it helps, I am about to sign up for a half marathon and I have not done any sort of excercise in years (which would definitely explain all the weight I've gained).

The argument everyone used to convince me (there are a few teachers and the secretary from my school doing this as a group) is that it's lots of fun. (I'm not sure I'm seeing the fun part, but I'm gonna give it a whirl!)

Good luck and let us know how you do!!


answers from Los Angeles on

If you can do 20 minutes on an elliptical, you're practically through the race! Adrenaline will carry you through the rest. And, if nothing else, most races have some yummy snacks at the end!



answers from Santa Fe on

I went from a non-runner to a runner. I hated it at first and just one mile was like torture. Now I love to sign up for races and am going to do my first half marathon soon! Get on a training regimen...and follow it. Listen to music with a fast beat while running outside (or to the beat you would like to run to). If inside put on TV or a movie to watch so your mind is occupied. I hate running inside on a treadmill. I am so bored after 20 minutes. I love running outside. I take my dog and give myself a goal (a distance). I take along some jelly beans and water and go. I usually pick a trail nearby, so it is very beautiful to look at the scenery. But sometimes I run along the road as well...if the trails are too icy/snowy. So, go online and look up a training schedule for a 5K and start following it! Meet a friend if you need extra motivation.



answers from Los Angeles on

I can walk forever but I could never get into running. Just do the best you can and walk if you have to It's only about 3 miles. Good luck!



answers from Oklahoma City on

When I was in high school I would jog about 5 miles every night. I enjoyed it so much, I loved the solitude and the feeling of my muscles being used.

In college before I was injured playing softball I had a Walkman and would put in Chicago 17 or Foreigner. I would find myself running in time to the music. It just made my mind travel to other places while my eyes watched the path. It was a more mental exercise to me than just running with nothing to think about.



answers from San Diego on

I also did the Couch to 5K and found it to be soooooo easy! I'm not a "runner" but do like doing 5K's and 10K's.

Enjoy spending time w your bff and hopefully you'll learn to like running!



answers from Reno on

Hi! Check out this website. It is designed to get you ready to run in about 6 weeks, and the training programs run from Novice to Expert. It was very helpful when I was trying to get back into this for a work sponsored run.

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

this is a 9 week plan to get you ready.
I hate running. I think one of the"housewives" on one of those shows that I don't watch said "my boobs don't run." That is ME! but a 5k is very doable even if you walk the whole thing at a nice pace. I did see this mud run thing in Corona that is a 5k and that looks like fun. Part of me wants to do a half marathon so I can prove to myself that I can do it despite hating it. But why in the world would I pay all that money!?! Good luck!


answers from Jacksonville on

I have hated even the prospect of running for EVER. I am 43. For some reason even I cannot fathom, I got a mad whim to try to give running a real try, to actually WANT to try to do it. This overtook me in December. Toying with the idea, really. Then on Dec 15, I fell ice-skating and banged up my right knee. No actual damage (no torn ligaments or anything) just lots of bruising. But it was enough that I went to the doctor because I couldn't fully extend my leg or bend it properly, or bear weight on it, etc.
THAT made me angry. Because now, even though I was toying with the idea of running, it was no longer a CHOICE I had available to me. Not at that moment anyway.
So I basically set my mind that I WOULD do it. Hinted at husband to buy me running shoes for Xmas, knowing full well that he wouldn't bc that is really something a person has to get for themselves (for fit). Though he was thrilled and yet at the same time perplexed that I was suddenly interested in running. (He runs 4-6 miles a few times a week, and has for years now).

I bought a pair of running shoes the week after Christmas.

So, January 1st (complete coincidence) was a Sunday, and I decided to give it a go, taking it easy due to my knee which was still recovering but MUCH improved. The swelling was gone, but with activity would come back briefly. I headed out. Didn't go too far, but stuck with walking/jogging intervals and went 2 miles total (mostly walking, but some jogging mixed in).
By 2 weeks, I was running 5 minutes without any walking and intermittently mixing the remainder of my 2 miles between the two. It was hard. And slow going.
Then, I decided to go out on the road instead of just inside our neighborhood. Bad idea. Running along the low edge of the curve in a road can injure your knee. Very sloped right there. I did. This time it was actual injury, not just bruising, but still nothing serious. Just enough that it was uncomfortable and I had to not run, and go back to advil and icing. Two weeks later, the pain was gone and I started back at it. That was end of January.

Now, a month later, running no more than every OTHER day, I can run 1.5 miles before alternating into a walk/jog cycle the rest of my 2.4 miles. I read somewhere recently that you should not try to increase your speed/distance more than 10% per week. So that is what I am aiming for. And I look forward to each and every run. I LOVE it now. LOVE. IT.

For me, I think the biggest thing was having a proper sports bra. I am a C (used to be a D) and compression bras don't work for running for me. Also, having a pair of good quality running shoes (I always "tried" starting out before with cross-trainers, thinking that I could use them for other workouts if the running didn't work out. The running never did).
And, running in my neighborhood without concern for anyone seeing/watching me.

I take my dog (German Shepherd) and if I needed to walk instead of jog, I don't feel like an idiot all dressed in "running" attire, out just walking. When I tried to run in the past, I was always conscious of how I looked to passersby... and I had no dog, so I felt a little dumb when I ran all of 100 yards and then had to walk. But that is the trick of it. You have to run and then walk, run and then walk, run and then walk throughout the entire distance. Slowly, the running goes longer and the need to walk (the time in between running bouts) diminishes. In 2 months (not subtracting the 2 weeks I couldn't do anything) I went from 50 yards and maybe 90 seconds of running, to being able to run 1.5 miles and for 24 minutes at a time without walking. Now, I'm no speed demon. But I will gain speed as I progress, I'm sure. I took longer strides on my run this past Tuesday, and my legs (bones/shins, etc) could tell the next day.

Be careful not to try to push too hard too fast. That is usually the danger. If you don't rush it, and are okay with being slow, and slow progress, you have a better chance of sticking with it and learning to love it. I know that is what worked for me.

Best wishes. And happy running!

ETA: (sorry so long, too)... try to start WITHOUT an ipod or music. You need to pay attention to your body and your breathing at first. I don't run with any music and find that I am much more in tune with how much I can push my body when I am paying full attention to it and my breathing. And some of the actual "races" don't allow music players anyway...



answers from Los Angeles on

I had taught weight training for over 12 years, but like you, I hated doing cardio and would only do the minimum that I HAD to do! Then training injuries required me to give up heavy lifting and the weight training I had relied on for years to keep me slim. I knew I had to start so this is what worked for me. Start by jogging what you know you can do - for example - if you know you can jog for 10 minutes then jog 6 minutes away from home and then , well, ya gotta get back right! Every two days add a few minutes to your out trip and then try to match it going back home. You will find yourself at 3 miles in no time. I cannot run because of BAD knees, but I power walk. The first day I couldn't even get 3/4 of a mile - now I can go 6-8 miles! Keep at it - you will get there. Oh, and a big PS, I used to WHINE every step but now I have grown to love it.



answers from Tulsa on

When I was in college, we were REQUIRED to run three miles a day plus exercise daily plus attend gym class.

I hated it but when I actually could do it, I was so proud of myself and it became something I didn't hate. I even ran in the snow which included falling on my butt a few times into wet, melting snow. LOL

I would suggest buying excellent shoes and taking care of your feet.



answers from Eugene on

I hate to run. But a friend of mine just about has me convinced to take it up. She hated to run before, too. Then she took a class through the local running shoe store. She did a 6 week program where they taught the correct way to run and not get injured, how to pace and run distance. Now she's hooked and loves it. She just did a half marathon and is training for a whole one. It's inspiring and now I'm tempted to try it.



answers from Las Vegas on

As others said, couch to 5k is the way to go. I wasn't fit at all, did that, and learned that I actually like to run. I did a half Ironman, which includes a half marathon at the end, within a year of couch to 5k, so it really does get you running.

Since couch to 5k is really for unfit people, and you sound like you have a good fitness level, you will probably end up modifying it, although wait until you actually start it to see how you feel about it. When I got to the end, around the time you run 20 minutes straight, I left it and just started running more. It was going too slow for me.



answers from San Diego on

Go for it! My motto used to be "I will not run unless something dangerous is chasing me." I did workout though because I've struggled with my weight my entire life. My hubby challenged me one day to a 5K (while I was buying new walking shoes) and I agreed. I printed up a training schedule and actually followed it. It was so much easier than I thought. That was over 2 years ago and I still run 5 miles with an almost 3 year old in a jogging stroller a few times a week! I still don't love running, but I love the results and I love being outdoors. (I never did do the race because I got sick, so wait till the last minute to sign up!!!) It's great to have a goal like a 5K to get you started and then you will know whether you want to keep doing it or not. Just do it...and if you hate it, you never have to do it again, but can be proud of your accomplishment!!! (BTW...I feel the same way about a half marathon my friend keeps trying to get me to do, but I keep saying no, so I guess I could take my own advice...or not!!!) Good luck!

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