My Relationship With Running

I took a yoga class a couple weeks ago and the purpose of the class was to escape labels. We often hear people say “I’m a yogi”, “I’m a cross fitter”, “I’m a runner”, but the instructor wanted us to escape it all.

Don’t get me wrong, the class was great! To be honest, I like calling myself a runner because I feel like I’ve earned it. I’ve battled through injuries, I’ve built the stamina to run long and fast, I’ve taken all the steps to be where I am right now. I love to run. I want to call myself a runner. I’m going to call myself a runner. I am a runner.

I never used to be though. I actually hated it. I would watch people pass me on my walks and I never envied them. I never wished to be a runner and I never got excited while watching people cross finish lines. One day, things changed.JULY FITNESS CHALLENGE

THE FIRST TIME I TRIED RUNNING

When I first moved to Atlanta, GA several years ago, I needed something to keep me motivated. I was starting to fall off the bandwagon and I didn’t feel great about myself. I was living in Chicago prior and the weather made it impossible for me to get motivated to workout. I didn’t talk about it a lot on the blog back then but Chicago was probably one of the most miserable years of my life. I wanted a new start in Atlanta.

I joined a gym and hired a trainer to keep me in check. My trainer turned me into a gym rat. I was going early morning and late nights. I would do classes, workout with him, and join bootcamps on the weekends. I loved all the people that went to my gym and I made some great friends there. My trainer helped me lose fifteen pounds (thank you Chicago pizza, cupcakes + kids food from nannying.) He started to have me run four times a week and I started to really enjoy it. i felt like a new person and that was my goal for Atlanta. I was running on the treadmill before classes, running the trails outside, and running whenever I got the chance. I think that is every beginners mistake. I may have been in shape, but my body was not ready to run that long or fast. Being educated on running before you start running is the first thing I’d start with.

I was running on the treadmill one night and all of a sudden I had the worst pain in my knee. I couldn’t walk for days and it started to get better with ice. The pain only came when I attempted running. Yup…runners knee. I had to give up running and stick to strength training classes, spinning, yoga, swimming, and walking for an entire year. I was so sad.

THE SECOND TIME I RUNNING

When I moved to Detroit MI, I decided to try running again. It had been almost a year and my knee felt fine. I knew to stretch, ice, elevate and strength train while running this time. I also decided to switch to Asics running shoes (best decisions of my life.) I was finally running 4-6 miles again. It felt amazing to be back in the game! Months later, I started to develop a tight and achey pain around my ankle. Yup…Achilles Tendonitis. I couldn’t catch a break! I could hardly walk because of the pain. I had to get an ankle wrap and rest it for days. I had a bone spur on top of the Achilles Tendonitis. My doctor wanted me to take a break from running, ice, stretch, and start swimming until the tendonitis went away.

I was pretty lucky because a lot of doctors perform surgery on runners knee, tendonitis and bone spurs. I was strict with resting, icing, stretching and switching up routines and completely healed in 6-8 months.

Why did I get all of these injuries? Because I wasn’t educated on how to be a runner. When they say use a beginners guide, they mean it. Unfortunately I learned from trial and error.What was I doing wrong? I was running everyday, I was increasing my milage too fast, I was running a faster pace unnaturally, I wasn’t doing any other exercises other than running, I wasn’t hydrating, I wasn’t stretching, I wasn’t icing, I wasn’t resting, I wasn’t eating the right fuel.

THE THIRD TIME I TRIED RUNNING

I decided to try it again. Third times a charm right?

I moved to Charlotte almost 2 1/2 years ago. I started walking a ton of milage again. That walking turned into running, but I decided to do it the right way. I wasn’t going to focus on how many miles I could run. I wasn’t going to focus on how fast I could run. I was going to focus on running.

I decided to build up gradually, even if I wanted to keep running or go faster, I forced myself to stick to the plan. This plan is what I stuck to, but before trying, make sure to talk with your doctor!IMG_9915-768x576

HOW I GOT INTO THE RUNNING ROUTINE

Week one:
run five minutes (10-12 min mile), walk ten minutes, run five minutes (10-12 min mile), walk ten minutes, run five minutes (10-12 min mile), walk ten minutes,  run five minutes (10-12 min mile) walk ten minutes. 5x a week

Week two:
run five minutes(10-12 min mile), walk five minutes, run five minutes (10-12 min mile), walk five minutes, run five minutes (10-12 min mile), walk five minutes,  run five minutes (10-12 min mile) walk five minutes. 4x a week

Week three:
run five minutes (10-12 min mile), walk five minutes, run ten minutes (10-12 mile) walk five minutes, run five minutes (10-12 min mile) walk five minutes, run five minutes (10-12 mile), walk ten minutes.  3x a week

Week four:
run fifteen minutes(10-12 min mile), walk fifteen minutes, run ten minutes(10-12 min mile), walk twenty minutes, run five minutes(10-12 min mile), walk ten minutes.  4x a week

Week five:
run twenty minutes (10-12 min mile) walk thirty minutes, run five minutes (10-12 min mile) 4x a week

Week six:
run twenty five minutes (10-12 min mile) walk twenty minutes, run ten minutes (10-12 min mile) walk twenty minutes 4x a week

Week seven:
run thirty minutes (10-12 min mile), walk thirty minutes

**Add five minutes to your runs every week if you are trying to be a distance runner and knock off fifteen seconds every run if you’re trying to be faster. Don’t do it too fast or you’ll end up injured.** 14677461_1630315997266687_1671347314481954816_n
My runs now: are Monday (rest/strength) Tuesday (2-4 miles) Wednesday (4-6 miles) Thursday (rest/strength) Friday (rest) Saturday (3 miles) Sunday (6-9 miles)

It’s been two years and I haven’t battled any injuries. I don’t try to be fast and I don’t care if I run slower than everyone else. I want to be able to run distance. I feel so much better when I’m not racing against myself. I have to remember to strength train and take breaks whenever I can.

There have been periods throughout the two years where I fell off the bandwagon and stopped running, starting eating like crap again, and had to start all over again. I think finding motivation is super hard when you fall off the wagon and that’s enough motivation to keep it up. I never want to fall off the bandwagon again, it sucks.My Relationship With Running

WHAT ABOUT RACES

I don’t necessarily like them. I hate the anxiety of all the runners around me, I don’t like speeding to win, I hate training, and I don’t like running super early in the morning. I will run races, but they aren’t on my priority list. I do want to run a half eventually, but only when I’m ready. Some people live for races and that is what keeps them motivated! Just find what works best for you. If it’s a race that motivates you to run, then sign up right now! If it’s being able to enjoy a long Sunday run on the trail, get out and go. If you’re wondering when I will do a half…it’ll be VERY SOON. I’m feeling a little more ready every day.IMG_8919

WHY DO I RUN

Why do I run? I run because I truly enjoy it. I love the way I feel after I complete a run. I like seeing all the progress I make. I like that I can do it anywhere/anytime. I run because it keeps me in shape. I run because it puts me in good mood. I run because it’s my therapy. There is nothing better than a long trail run on a Sunday followed by a trip to the Juice Bar or coffee shop. It’s a great activity to do with friends and it’s fun! Whenever I’m having a bad day or dealing with anxiety, I turn to running to help me escape it all. I always feel like a better person after a run.14533469_1190086474392642_5886516652152979456_n

WHY IS FOOD IMPORTANT WHEN IT COMES TO RUNNING?

I didn’t think food was important or would affect my running when I first started out. Surprise! Surprise! But it makes a BIG difference. I make sure to eat according to my run! All of our bodies are different, so we react to foods differently. The best way to determine what to eat before a run is trial and error! I have tested out tons of foods before running and some did not work with me and some did. I make sure to eat 1 1/2 hours before a run and 30 minutes after a run. It’s important (for me) to get a healthy carb fix before a run so I can have energy to burn and protein after a run to help repair the muscles and prevent soreness the next day.
Pre 3 Mile Run: 1 Rice Cake + 1 Tbsp Peanut butter, 1 Banana + 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter or 1 Cup Cheerios + 1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk, 1 Cup Plain Oatmeal + 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
Post 3 Mile Run: 1 Cup Non Fat Greek Yogurt, 1 Serving Protein Powder + Almond Milk, or 4 Egg Whites + 1/2 Protein Bar.
Pre 1 Hour + Run: 1 Rice Cake + Tbsp Peanut Butter + 4 Eggs Whites or Protein Shake (1 banana + almond milk + peanut butter & protein powder), 1 Plain Cup Oatmeal + 4 Egg Whites + 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
Post 1 Hour + Run: 4 Egg Whites + 1 Cup Non Fat Greek Yogurt, or Protein Shake (almond milk + Greek yogurt + protein powder + cocoa powder)

Again..find what works best for you!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

HOW IMPORTANT IS HYDRATION?

The most important thing in the world. Hydration will make or break a run. Not only is being dehydrated dangerous, it causes injuries, speed/distance to decrease, and ugh the cramps! You have to make sure you’re not forcing yourself to drink water an hour or two hours before a run. Stay hydrated all day long! I make sure to drink at least 10 ounces of water every hour. Sometimes I weigh myself before and after a run, and then drink everything I lost.

DO YOU TAKE ANY PRE/POST RUNNING SUPPLEMENTS?

I drink Amino Energy before I run to get a boost of energy, help my focus and support recovery during and after my run. I drink Isopure Amino Supplement after my workout to help with recovery! 

WHAT ABOUT MUSIC?

I don’t know how people run without music. I can’t run one minute without music or I’m done. And the people that have conversations while running? HOW? I hate to hear myself breath…If I hear myself breathe heavy, I get in my own head and want to quit. Music is the best distraction. I like to make my playlist fast and slow. I know people don’t think of slow songs when working out, but it lowers my heart rate and reminds me to slow it down a bit. I naturally speed up during upbeat songs and tend to relax more during slower songs. My playlist is totally random. It goes a little like this…John Mayer, Lil Wayne, Billy Joel, Selena Gomez, Luke Bryan, Lion King…and so on!

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH DRY THROAT?

Some people don’t deal with this, but I do! It’s awful. Sometimes your throat gets so dry, you feel like you can’t breathe or swallow. I keep sour gum, jolly ranchers or Gatorade chews in my pocket to cause mouth watering! It works like a charm. Get running pants or shorts that have little pockets. Running in Alexandria va

WHAT SHOES ARE BEST FOR RUNNING?

I live by Asics I buy a new pair of running shoes every 350-400 miles. My run keeper app keeps track of my milage and I get super excited every time I get to shoe shop! I love my Asics so much that I ordered three of the same pair! The pink ones you see in my photos all the time are my duplicates. I always know when I’m getting close to the 400 mile mark because the shoes are a little less jelly and I land a little harder than usual, which is bad on the knees. New shoes are super important when it comes to running. I also highly recommend visiting a local running store and get fitted. They’ll put you on a treadmill and pair you with shoes that fit your form. They’ll also give you tips for better form.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO RUN

I love it. I know what it feels like to NOT run and that keeps me motivated to do it. I hate falling off the bandwagon and running keeps me on track. I make better diet choices when I run and I just feel better all around when I run. Running makes me feel super strong and inspired to do more. July Fitness Challenge

IS RUNNING ALWAYS EASY?

NO. I think a lot of us see runners write about how amazing their runs are and how far they ran, but for real…not every run is easy and not every run is possible. There are days when I start running and I just can’t. I can’t push through a side cramp or I can’t push through feeling exhausted. Some days I can run nine miles and some days I struggle to run a half mile. On the days when running seems impossible, I walk instead! It makes me feel like I did something and the miles will be completed no matter how long it takes. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t complete a run or the whole experience sucks. Try again tomorrow.

WHERE DO YOU KEEP YOUR PHONE WHILE YOU RUN?

You guys may think I’m super strange with this answer, but I’ll either keep it tucked in my pants or in my bra. I’m not a busty person, so it stays in place. I can’t keep the phone in my hand because my shoulder will tighten up and the pain is awful. I have tried to use the arm band, but I hate it. I have a pretty big phone, so it’s hard. I’ve been tucking it away for the past two years and it’s never failed me.

img_4534-768x1024 img_4664-768x1024

WHAT KIND OF STRETCHING DO YOU DO?

Before I run, I make sure to do dynamic stretching. Ex: set of 40 jumping jacks, leg swings, calve stretches, ankle rolls, arm circles, neck rolls, arm swings, hip twists, running in place and 20 burpees. I do this to get loose before a run. After my run, I do deep static stretching! You never want to do static stretching before warming up because you can hurt yourself.

IS SAFETY EVER A CONCERN?

Absolutely. You’ll never see me running a trail alone, running down sketchy neighborhoods, or running without a self defense tool. I make sure to always keep pepper spray with me when I’m by myself. Even if I’m walking Grumples in a safe neighborhood…I’ll keep it with me. Be aware of your surroundings at all times! If you see a weird car parked somewhere, don’t run that way. If you notice someone following you, go to the closest house and call someone. I ALWAYS text my mom before I head out for a run. I tell her how long I plan on running for, where I plan on running and we share locations on the iPhone. If I don’t text her when I’m done (sometimes I forget) she calls me immediately. Run with friends when you can, try to run during the day or mornings, and always wear a reflecting vest if you’re running late at night. Cars can’t always see you.

Folly Beach <3 early morning on folly beach

WHERE ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES TO RUN?

I love to run trails and I love to run on the beach. Running on the treadmill stinks and I get tired of running the same neighborhood route all the time. Finding new trails or places to run keeps it exciting.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE RUNNING ACCESSORIES

*Running Leggings (I never wear shorts)
*RunKeeper
*Gatorade Prime Energy Chews
*Quench Sports Chewing Gum
*FlipBelt
*Garmin Activity Tracker
*KT TAPE
*Master of Muscle Foam Roller
*Pepper spray

*CopperJoint Copper Knee Brace
*Apple EarPods

DO I HAVE GOALS?

Just to get better. I love running and I want to continue to love running. I didn’t love running as much when I was training for a 5k and I always got injured training for a half marathon. That is the reason I refuse to train for one and I’ll do one when I’m ready. I want to keep running for fitness and health.runningintherain

DOES WEATHER PLAY A ROLE IN RUNNING?

YES. Right now it’s the perfect time of year to be running. I’m a terrible winter runner and a terrible summer runner, but they both must be done. You have to prepare your body and accommodate your run according to the weather. If it’s super cold, I make sure to bundle up, but not too hot because I’ll overheat by the end of the first mile. I make sure to keep my ears and hands covered. Running in the heat was not fun this summer, but I made it through. I’m just hoping I can make it through the winter running! I didn’t do enough of it last winter. It’s important to stay hydrated in the summer, wear sunscreen and comfortable clothing. Running right now is so enjoyable and I’m going to be sad when it’s super cold here! Sometimes it rains, but I take advantage of it. I put my phone in a plastic baggy and head out in it! You have to make the best of crummy situations.llPicMonkey Collage

TREADMILL VS. RUNNING OUTSIDE?

I dread the treadmill some days, but I like it on others. I’ll be using it a lot in the winter. running outside and running on the treadmill both have their ups and downs…literally. You can be super consistent on the treadmill, which is great for pacing yourself. Running outside is beautiful and sometimes the the weather is perfect! When the weather isn’t perfect, the treadmill is always there for you. I  make sure to listen to my music on the treadmill, have something entertaining in from of me and play with the speed and incline so it doesn’t get too boring.

HOW DO YOU KEEP FROM GETTING BORED ON RUNS?

Running can seriously get boring, but I use running as an escape from the world. I look forward to listening to new music, not thinking about anything important, and clearing the mind. I love changing up routes so I don’t have to pass the same places or people all the time. Sometimes it’s super fun to run with friends or a running group! You can even bring your dog if they’re in shape. My relationship with running

IS RUNNING YOUR ONLY WORKOUT?

No. Absolutely not. Running would be boring if it were the only thing I did. I do everything so I can run. I do spin classes, yoga, boot camps, and circuit workouts in the gym. These are all great for becoming a better runner. You have to build muscle and strengthen your body as a runner. You can check out my fitness challenges to see what my workouts look like!

HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR BREATHING

I hate hearing myself breath I make sure to listen to music so I don’t have to. Breathing gets easier as running gets easier. The better in shape you are, the easier it is to control your breathing. Deep breaths through the nose and out of the mouth. Breathing too much can also cause cramps. I can now run eight miles and not feel out of breath. I never used to be able to do that.

I could talk about running all day because I love it so much. Just remember…these are things that worked for me! Make sure to talk with your doctor before starting any plan!

Questions for you! 

  1. What is the best advice you can give from your experience with running?
  2. Do you have any running questions for me?
  3. How does running play a role in your life?

Comments

  • Sydney

    Taralynn, Ive been following you since i was 13 years old, now 21. I was moved and motivated by you when i was a chubby kid. I took the initiative and started losing weight. When i was about 15 years old I saw my friend binging and purging and we started doing it together and then i was diagnosed anorexic when i was 16. Now Im eating I’ve gained a bit of weight but am losing at slowly. You do not know how much i appreciate you and your posts. Please never stop posting. Before work tomorrow I’m going on a run! 🙂 I will continue my journey. Again you are my motivation and your posts are what i look forward to. 🙂 best of wishes and Thank you 🙂

    Reply to Sydney
  • Kathleen

    It really resonated with me when you said “I don’t try to be fast and I don’t care if I run slower than everyone else” & I think we need to remember that in everything that we do.

    Reply to Kathleen
  • Anonymous

    perfect can’t wait to see you run at the half

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    yay!

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Megan

    Hi Taralynn! I stumbled across your blog, well what seems like forever ago, and have been following your story ever since. You’re such an inspiration! You get to travel and move so much it seems like. I would love that because I literally LIVE to travel. I love it <3 I was wondering, what line of work do you do that allows you so much travel? Are you a full time blogger at this point? Thanks for being an inspiration to people like me 🙂 Keep being a rockstar!!

    Reply to Megan
  • Bay

    Thank you for this post!

    Reply to Bay
  • Anonymous

    fave post

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Bae

    Proud of you and this post

    Reply to Bae
  • Amy

    Do you take aderall?

    Reply to Amy
  • Anonymous

    amazing

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Jessica McRight

    Hi Taralynn,
    I have been reading, watching, following and envying you for years now. I love who you are! I have a question about running. I am 36 years old and currently about 285 pounds and only 5’2″. I would love to start running. Do you have any advice on how to get started, proper clothing or shoes for someone who is so heavy. I am looking forward to being in my best shape in 2017! Thank you.

    Reply to Jessica McRight
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Jessica!

      I am not a doctor and have no qualifications to be giving you advice, but here is what I would do if I were in your shoes. And you should always consult with your doctor first! I think you should start really slow. Try walking long distances. I would walk 3-4 miles every day for a month to get your legs and body used to the milage. Then I would start adding in about 2-3 minute jogs at the end of those walks, and then gradually add a couple minutes every time and only turn 2-3 times a week once you step up the time. Make sure you have good running shoes, never worry about speed, continue to lift weights and strength train, and fuel your body properly for running!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kaiko

    Have you tried Lume Leggings? I just bought some, and they are great for hold your phone. I can do my workouts and record them on my phone while it sits in the pocket. It’s great!!!

    Reply to Kaiko
  • Malorie

    This is my favorite post of yours

    Reply to Malorie
  • Peggy

    Loved your post Taralynn, only one thing. You should look up iPods in bra and breast cancer, really not a good place to keep your device. I have 3 running daughters and they know the dangers of keeping their phone or iPod in that place.

    Reply to Peggy
  • Madison

    This is a wonderful post! I read your blog regularly and this post might be one of my favorites. I too have had a difficult relationship with running. I lost 120 lbs 6 years ago, mostly by running. I had no idea what I was doing and what shoes to wear. Top that with my obsession with losing weight. This lack of knowledge and footwear caused shin splints, that I kept running on. Run through the pain, what jerk made that up? The shin splints then led to a stress fracture just below my knee. The stress fracture then led to a real fracture. I was casted and non-weight bearing for 4 months. I actually ran myself into a broken leg!

    It took me a long time to get back to a place where I felt like running again. I’ve taken some time off (due to a rough pregnancy) but am looking forward to getting back at it. Thanks for the motivation!

    Reply to Madison
  • Lauren

    I love this post! I enjoy running but I am SO SLOW. I love that you talk about just running to run and not worrying about speed or races…that is totally me!
    Do you have any advice on running clothing for cold weather?
    Thanks!

    Reply to Lauren
  • Brittany

    I’m glad you’re enjoying running so much. It really is fun and can be so relaxing.

    I just ran my first full marathon in September and loved it! The training was amazing and it felt so good at the end to be able to call myself a marathon runner! Best part: my husband and I did all of the training together and ran side by side during the marathon. Running together is a great way for us to spend time with each other catching up on our days. We never listen to music when we run together. We often take our dog with us and make it a family event!

    I love listening to the birds in the morning when I run. I encourage you to try running without music and listening to the nature around you. It makes the experience even better! However, sometimes I do listen to audio books when I run- and I recommend that too to anyone who gets bored running. Choosing a good audio book to listen to can make the time fly by when your running. You get hooked into the story and don’t want to stop.

    One of our family members asked us to sign up for a marathon to run with them so they would have someone to run with. So… we are doing our second marathon in May 2017. I’m looking forward to it!

    Reply to Brittany
  • Brittany Joy

    First off, this was one of my favorite blog posts to read, feeling so inspired and excited about my own fall running!
    What is the best advice you can give from your experience with running?– I would say the best advice I have (and sometimes I have to firmly remind myself this as well!!) is that the pace does not matter nearly as much as just getting out there and doing something! Sometimes I feel like an unstoppable force of nature and sometimes I feel like a potato chip, it happens. When I get too in my own head and concentrate on the fact that I wish I were going faster/better/longer, then I don’t enjoy it as much! If I just go run and enjoy the running I feel much better, and usually do better too!
    Do you have any running questions for me?– I know you said your music taste is eclectic, do you have any particular running favorites right now? I need some new suggestions 🙂 I think you covered about everything else! I enjoyed reading your beginner plan, I tend to do something similar when I ‘restart’ in the spring, I am an awful winter runner.
    How does running play a role in your life?– Like you, I also used to hate running! I played soccer in high school and started doing track and cross country on the weekends and ended up loving cross! I would say the role has changed here and there since I entered the adult world, but I still love it and consider myself a runner, whether I’m in tip-top shape or not! I like that its always their for me, I don’t have to be winning medals to love it.
    Happy running!

    Reply to Brittany Joy
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you Brittany!

      I SO AGREE with you about pace. I used to only care about my time and that is so dumb. It’s all about enjoying the run and being out there. I have the same thoughts as you! I actually turn off the pace and distance notifications.

      Some of my running faves: How to love- lil wayne, picture to burn – taylor swift, same old love- selena gomez, started from the bottom – drake, controlla -drake, dump weed – blink 182, like my daddy – jussie smollett, electric love- borns, dopamine – borns, sick in the head – lumineers, cleopatra – lumineers, holy ghost – borns, after rain – dermot kennedy, woo – jdash, i don’t give a f***- big sean, hold up – beyonce, disturbia-rihanna, good for you – selena gomez, this is how we roll- florida georgia line…and those are some of my faves!

      I love that! “i don’t have to be winning medals to love it” 😉

      xo and thank you for sharing!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Autumn

    Do you have any ‘beginners guides’ that you really liked?

    Reply to Autumn
  • Melodie

    What is the best advice you can give from your experience with running?
    I’ve been running for a little more than 3 years now. I’ve definitely had my ups and downs with it. Since this year, I seems to have finally learned from my mistake and now I could not think about not running regularly. To me, running is like eating, it’s vital. The biggest mistake I made when I started running was not stretching enough. It made it so much more painful physically and it made me dread going for a run.

    Do you have any running questions for me?
    Do you prefer running with someone else or alone? For me, running is my ‘me time’. I find it hard to run with someone else and to slow down for someone else.

    How does running play a role in your life?
    Running is one of my biggest passion. I can’t help but smile when I run. I probably look crazy to non-runners but I really do enjoy it. I also feel invincible when I run. I compare it to growing through life: there will be obstacles, it won’t be always easy but you have to keep moving forward. It has also helped me having more discipline. I know I have to make no excuse and go for runs when I scheduled them if I want to feel great and see results.

    Reply to Melodie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Melodie!

      I still struggle with that. I hate stretching (time wise) because i just want to eat and drink after a run! I need to do it more!

      I used to LOVE running alone, but now that I’ve found a running partner that keeps the same pace as me, it’s really nice. It pushes me to keep going and I feel safer. I used to think I liked being alone, but not anymore.

      I love what you said about how you feel invincible when you run. I can relate to that. It really is great for discipline and feeling so strong!
      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Melodie

        Thanks for answering Tara!
        I am running my first half marathon Sunday and I’m nervous! Can’t wait to see you run you first half! I’m confident you can do it! You have great times! I have anxiety too so I totally get you!

        BTW, I also recently adopted a puppy! He’s a cockapoo (cocker spaniel x poodle) and he ‘kinda’ looks like Mr Grumples! I hope I can get to train him to run with me soon.

        Are you running with Grumples sometimes? Just wondering! I could take some advice! 🙂

        Reply to Melodie
        • Taralynn McNitt

          I can’t wait to hear all about your half! & thank you for the encouragement.

          Congrats on the new addition:) so exciting! I bet you can train him to run for sure! Once he gets a little older!

          I don’t run with him. We go on really long walks:) He likes to pull me too hard if we run and i don’t want to risk hurting the both of us! he does love to run in the backyard at my parents house and at the park though!

          Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Penelope

    Why is Becca taking photos in black masks? Does that behavior worry you AS FRIENDS?

    Reply to Penelope
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I don’t think that’s my or anyone else’s business to be honest. I don’t think it’s a “behavior.” It’s a type of art she does with photography. Her photos are great.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Imogen

    I started running 18 months ago with my brother who has always been a keen runner. I’ve never been a runner but I think it was mostly in my head as I always wanted to give up as soon as I got breathless and my legs began to ache. My brother comes up with a training plan that helps me improve my speed and in those 18 months I knocked my 3 mile time down from 36 minutes to 26 minutes (a lot to do with my mentality changing as time went on). You find that as you improve you get competitive with your own times and want to push through the discomfort instead of give up! I find that having someone who is better than you helps to get faster but having anyone to accompany you is very helpful to keep on track.

    What are your tips for improving speed? Also, how do you motivate yourself to run when you aren’t feeling motivated? Do you ever feel guilty when you miss a run?

    Running has changed my life because my attitude towards health and fitness is a lot better. It’s become a habit to run 4x a week and i hate falling out of routine!

    I want to go for a run now! 🙂

    Reply to Imogen
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I can totally relate to that. That is the reason why I can’t go without my music and need my headphones! We definitely get in our own heads and it’s important to try to clear any thoughts. If I start thinking or worry about my shoulders or knees, i’ll get paranoid and quit.

      When I’m not motivated to run, I walk. I just get out and go the distance without running. I never feel guilty because I’m just listening to my body. If you don’t feel it, you can’t force it.

      I hate falling out of routine too! love it!

      go go go! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Erika

    What is the best advice you can give from your experience with running?

    Join a running club. You will make a lot of friends, have many sources of information from experienced runners, have people to run with (safety in numbers, companions, people to talk to). Don’t run every day. 5 times a week should be your MAX and one of those days should be an incredibly easy or short run if you do choose 5 days. You should rotate in an interval workout and a hill work out on separate days if you are trying to increase speed. If you are trying to increase distance, do a longer run, but don’t bulk all of your miles onto just one day to increase your MPW.

    Do you have any running questions for me?

    How can you not talk while running!!? How come Mr. Grumples doesn’t run?

    I LOVE my shorter solo-runs to meditate or run with my dog, but LOVE to talk on my longer runs with friends. All runners think alike while running–we have the deepest, most thoughtful, sometimes weird, conversations. It’s so rewarding.

    How does running play a role in your life?

    I love it. 🙂 I played everyday outside as a kid until the sun would set. I love nature. This is how I get outside and play as an adult AND enjoy nature. I’m also a Board of Director of a 400+ member running club in my “free time.” I have been running competitively since age 12, and I run a lot of races at varying lengths and try to beat my PRs (although I too dislike huge crowds, so I make sure I get front row start and pick races that will usually be less than 400 participants).

    Reply to Erika
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is a great piece of advice!

      I HATE hearing myself talk or listening to my shoes hit the ground. I don’t like any sounds other than my music! How do you talk!?!

      Grumples is a pretty big dog and his joints aren’t the best. It’s better for us to talk long distances together! He loves to run and play in the backyard. He also tends to pull when we run, so its bad on my knees.

      Wish I could talk like you! Just can’t or I’ll quit haha.

      Your history with running impressive and so inspiring!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lena

    Hey TL! Would you ever do a feature on Becca and her weight loss story as well? I think that would be so awesome for you guys to do a collab blog!

    Reply to Lena
  • Jessie @ The Acquired Sass

    1. I encourage you to run outside in the winter. A good pair of gloves + a good headband to cover your ears will make it a much more enjoyable experience. I usually make it my goal to run outside once per week in the winter. Usually my long run. Mostly because running in the dark + cold + potential ice is a big no no in my book!

    2. Don’t think so, but always just so interesting to hear about others running experience. I enjoy racing – it’s what keeps me motivated. So not having anything on the calendar can be tough for me.

    3. I picked up running at what could have been a really rough time in my life. But running let me have a space I could go to clear my head – or think through tough things. I was always a solo runner & I still enjoy that, but now I’ve joined a group who have made long runs so fun & I’ve made some lifelong friends.

    Running is tough. It gets easier overall, but I don’t think it’s ever ALWAYS easy. You could run your best run one day and then the next getting through a mile seems tough. It’s constantly humbling. And there is constantly room for improvement.

    Reply to Jessie @ The Acquired Sass
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Jessie!

      I am going to do it this winter. I know its going to be hard, but all mental thing for me. You inspire me to run! Thank you for all the tips!

      Sounds a lot like my relationship with running. It’s amazing to see what you’ve done with and how far you’ve come!

      AND ALSO CONGRATS!!!!!!!! 🙂 I got excited when I saw your insta!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Carly

    I’ve been so looking forward to this post! I’ve always found your dedication and progress with running inspiring! I’ve never been a runner myself but always kind of wanted to be… maybe I’ll start out with your beginners plan and go from there!

    I always find running hard and slightly painful, so I think my best advice has to be don’t try too much too fast!

    Do you ever run with Grumples? I have such a hard time leaving with those puppy eyes staring at me knowing I’ll be going out and around all places Moose could go.

    Running doesn’t play much of a role in my life at this point. But I hope for it to become more of one in my quest to become a runner. I’d love for it to become an outlet to decompress and zone out from the crazy sides of life.

    Reply to Carly
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you Carly!

      Definitely try it out (slowly) & don’t get discouraged! It gets easier!

      Don’t try to be fast at all:) ENJOY it.

      I run with grumples a little bit, but I enjoy walking with him more! We love going on LONG walks:) He runs a lot at the park and in the backyard. You can try to run with moose and do the beginners guide with him!

      Let me know how it goes & good luck!

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Francesca

    I love this post! I suffer the phone issue too and invested in one of these belts https://flipbelt.com

    They have the perfect fit, everything is secure (I haven’t lost a car key on the trail yet!) and you can get ones with hydration packs too. Mine also holds my looser leggings up and never pulls down or rides up.

    Totally recommend them!

    Reply to Francesca
  • Tara @ Run and Live Happy

    Great post! I’m glad you shared this. People really need to know a lot of this stuff before they start running! The best advice that I can give is to get the right shoes! That cuts down on injury and makes running so much easier. I can’t wait until you do a half. I hope you love it!

    Reply to Tara @ Run and Live Happy
  • Aime

    What is the best advice you can give from your experience with running?
    Do you have any running questions for me?
    How does running play a role in your life?

    The best advice I can give is to stretch and foam roll! Doing both of these consistently has been such a huge game changer for me! I love it!
    My running question for you: What flavor of the Amino Energy do you use? I use that same brand and I am in love with the green apple and orange cooler flavors.
    Running is a huge part of my life Its my “me time” my escape, my therapy. Its how I cope with things, and its how I celebrate accomplishments. Running has changed my life!

    Reply to Aime
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Aime

      I love my foam roller, I should have included it in the post! I forgot! Great for IT band.

      I use the blue ras!

      You and I both!:) running is a life changer for sure.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • hailey

    Sorry – what does “falling off the bandwagon” mean? I am not familiar with this term. Thanks

    Reply to hailey
  • Krista

    This is so helpful! Also, my boyfriend had gotten me (and himself lol) a running belt at my birthday, and honestly, it’s really come in handy. It’s basically a fanny pack but thinner and black. I felt like a dork at first but it’s so helpful to carry keys and mace!

    Reply to Krista
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks Krista!

      I think I just need to find the right belt! I always see people with backpacks and all kinds of things on their run! I think it’s neat 😉 xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kailey

    I love running so much, but sometimes my legs get super itchy and red when I run…it’s so weird! It does that on and off on the treadmill and outdoors have you or anyone else experienced this? I never have this reaction on another cardio piece.

    Reply to Kailey
    • Laura

      Hi Kailey! That happens to me too! Look up runner’s itch and you will find a bunch of information about it 🙂 It usually happens to me when I haven’t ran in a while so I try to run often so it doesn’t happen. When it does happen, I always stop running and finish my workout by walking then take a cold shower. Since I have been running more consistently it hasn’t happened it a while! Hope this helps!

      Reply to Laura
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Kailey!

      Ive never heard of that before! This may sound strange but could it be your laundry soap?? OR the check the material of your workout pants to make sure you’re not allergic.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Former Runner

    I was running 6 miles a day 2.5 years ago. I started running 2 years before that. First i walked 2 miles, then I walked 4 miles, then i started running portions of it, then i built up to 5 miles, then 6 miles. I did run walk intervals and built up. I always ran outside, on the trail in the forest. Its moderately safe as its a running trail and there is always at least one other person out there. Anyways, i ended up going through a painful breakup and regained all 70 pounds i had lost running. I also fell down a stairwell at work and now have major back problems. Its literally KILLS me to not be able to run. I have a treadmill and am trying to get back into walking, i did build up to walking 6 miles over the summer, but never lost the weight and it was killing my back due to the injury i have. So i had to stop walking. I have to stop until i get this weight off. I miss running and being outside and getting that “forest immersion”!!! Its really hard to not be able to do the things i want to do.

    Reply to Former Runner
    • Taralynn McNitt

      So sorry for everything you’ve been through! I know everything must be so frustrating right now, but try to stay positive! Focus on healthy eating, lots of water and recovering! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Monica Nunez

    Do you think running those distances will hinder results when one is trying to build mass on their lower body (legs and glutes)

    Reply to Monica Nunez
  • Elizabeth

    PS: I’m running the Charlotte Marathon over Veterans’ Day Weekend, so I’ll be in your neck of the woods! 🙂

    Elizabeth

    Reply to Elizabeth
  • Elizabeth

    Hi Taralynn,

    I love this post! I feel the same way about running. It is my therapy and my way to escape, and something I look forward to everyday. I totally understand about the injuries – ugh! I’ve had them too. But it sounds like we’ve both learned from our mistakes and have moved forward. I love seeing all your posts about running through the monthly fit challenges you’ve been hosting. Thanks for all of your encouragement!
    xo,
    Elizabeth (elizabeth_healthy_life) 🙂

    Reply to Elizabeth
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Elizabeth!

      Thanks so much 😉 It’s also my therapy. We just have to listen to our bodies and sometimes do things even when we don’t feel like it!

      xo & I also love following your posts!!

      xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • smash

    <3

    Reply to smash
  • Amanda

    The best advice I can give about running is to do it to honor your body, not to punish it! All the time I will hear people say they are going on a run because they ate dessert the night before. As a punishment, running is not fun. As a celebration of what your body can do, it’s so amazing!

    How does running play a role in my life? It’s a long history between running and I. I started running to lose weight before high school, and ended up going way too far! Now, it is definitely my escape and something that wakes me up in the morning. I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with running, and I couldn’t really imagine my life without it. I’m grateful that I now have a healthy relationship with running, and some of my best friends have come from joining running clubs nearby!

    Reply to Amanda
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is GREAT advice. I love that.

      I would hate to run after eating dessert. Running makes me want to treat my body so well. I eat healthy so I can run, and not run so I can eat unhealthy. Thats not how it should be!

      I love your running story and its so Inspiring! I hope I can make some friends at the run clubs I plan on joining.

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Samantha

    This is great! I want to get back into running but my Achilles’ tendon is tight and/or has tendonitis. What would you suggest I do for that since you had it? I’m also worried about runner’s knee since I’ve had ACL reconstruction surgery on each knee.

    Reply to Samantha
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks Samantha!

      Don’t run on it. I would really see what your doctor suggests. Maybe look into some stretching and compression wraps!

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Elisa

    Hi Taralynn!

    Thanks for this article 🙂

    1.What is the best advice you can give from your experience with running?
    Enjoy your run! Don’t run if you think it’s boring. And stretch, of course.

    2.Do you have any running questions for me?
    You answered all of them in the article 🙂

    3.How does running play a role in your life?
    I always say to my friends that I run to feel alive. When I run, I’m totally focused on the moment. I really need it to feel good, relax and have a better sleep.

    Reply to Elisa
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Elisa!

      You’re welcome! Great advice for sure.

      I am always focussed on the moment when I run. It feels amazing! I don’t worry about what I have to do later in the day or ANYTHING. I feel so free.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Linda @ the Fitty

    I really love to see other people’s workout regimes and I run as well! Do you ever incorporate speed workouts or fartleks in your training?

    Reply to Linda @ the Fitty
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Not always. I do KIND OF, but that is usually when I’m in the gym doing a circuit. When I run, I like to do it for pleasure and the relaxation. I don’t think the speed workouts are that relaxing. I like to do it in circuits though!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Des

    I loved this post. I’ve tried running several times with my husband but he can go so much further and faster than I can and it always discourages me. I’m going to try your beginners guide out! I would get so frustrated because I just feel really slow and bad it. lol

    Reply to Des
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you Des! Never let that discourage you! If you try to run at his pace/level, you’ll end up hurting yourself or like you said…it’ll be discouraging and thats not fun! Go alone and do your own pace. Don’t worry about distance or speed. Let me know how the guide goes! It worked for me:) xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anna

    I love this post so much. I can’t really answer the questions because I’m definitely not a runner. I’ve never believed that I could ever get in shape enough to even try. But this post was so motivating I want to make it a goal to at least be comfortable with running. I may never run a race or anything, but to be able to run a few miles without feeling like I’m dying would be great haha. Thank you for being so open and telling about the not so good days too. I sometimes feel like I’m the only one struggling with having good and bad days while working out. I’m a beginner so the bad days often outweigh the good. It helps to hear that even experienced people have their tough days too, so I’m not alone 🙂 thank you for being so inspirational! <3

    Reply to Anna
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Anna!

      So happy you love the post. I had a blast writing it.

      You can definitely run if that is something you want to do. I never would have thought I would be a runner. Just give it a chance and spend some time working your way up! Don’t try to do it all at once. Set little goals. We all have bad days, even the best runners out there! I know they do and i’m sure they’d tell you that.

      xo xo please let me know how the running goes!

      xo & good luck! You got this!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Cayla

    Hey! I have heel spurs and they have really slowed down my running almost to be nonexistent because they hurt so bad. What seemed to help you the most with your spurs? I ice my heels and wear supportive shoes but I’m not getting a lot of relief. I really miss being able to run like I used to. Thanks!!

    Reply to Cayla
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yeah, they hurt so bad. I had mine at the same time I had achilles tendonitis. I had to rest 6-8 months and I started swimming to build up stamina. You need to pay attention to the shoes you’re wearing. Try not to wear boots and anything rubbing against it. I didn’t care how crazy I looked but, I wore “dressier slippers” or slide on uggs as much as I could.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Hillary Danielle

    I loved this post! I think mostly because I didn’t start running until last April, and I’m glad I have stuck with it, even though you can tell on my Nike+ Running app some months I slacked, and others I did well with my running habits.

    My best advice I can give, since I’ve been “assisting” one of my coworkers into running. Is to just run, not to push yourself, but lightly run and walk when you feel too tired. Don’t worry about how far or how long. Eventually set little goals, like on the one trail we sometimes run, I would tell her to make it from where we start to the trash can before walking, but don’t push yourself, go as slow as you need to. I always say to myself in my head, go as slow as I need to, just don’t quit, that way I’m not pushing myself to the max and can only then run for 5 minutes, when I can run, say, for 10 minutes straight without stopping if I go at a slower pace.

    As of current I don’t think I have any questions, but I think if I end up with any I will be sure to ask.

    Running helped start me on my weight-loss journey. I also do Zumba, and I am now occasionally working in circuit training into my workout routines. Overall, though, running has helped me lose roughly 40+ pounds within the past year and a half. Plus I love how much it tones my legs!

    Reply to Hillary Danielle
  • Nichole

    I definitely enjoy running now! I started running more than the typical 1-3 miles 2 years ago when I ran my first half marathon- The Rock N Roll STL. Runners are so awesome to be a part of, everyone has great tips, and are so motivating. My top tip would be to not be so hard on yourself because every run is different! If your finding yourself obessessing over time or killing your self to reach a goal you will get burnt out and/or injured. Just enjoy yourself, stay motivated and the speed will come after you put in your time. I love running with a friend early in the mornings or I just won’t get up! Or I like to run alone and jam out to music if I run alone. I ran my first half and then branched out to try Trail Running 10k at a beautiful Park and also the tough mudder series. Those things are a one time for me, lol!!! I just finished my second half this month and did so much better than I could have hoped for just by staying consistent and enjoying myself. By staying consistent I have lost 15lbs and significantly increased my overall health and fitness level. I don’t always stay consistent with strength training but do my best! As a busy mom and nurse I do my best with my schedule, I schedule it in to make sure I do it! It’s important to me to stay healthy and active for myself and to be a positive role model to my daughter and not ever body shame myself. I enjoy your posts! I will have to research the supplement you posted about, many recommend BCAAs and the tart cherry juice. Thanks!

    Reply to Nichole
  • Laura

    Great post! I was a sprinter in HS and college and am now transitioning to a 5k runner…its been a long journey! I haven’t gotten injured but I definitely overdid it at first. My best advice to newbies is to go slow. I tried to run race pace for every run I did and I stopped improving because my body was just so drained. Also- warming up before and stretching afterwards! It’s annoying and tedious but it saves you from injuries and soreness.

    Reply to Laura
  • Jennifer

    My best advice would be to not quit! I used to run multiple times a week, and the farthest I was ever able to run was a 5k, but I stopped after a couple injuries (and laziness) and now I’m having to start all over again!

    Are there stretching videos you use for after runs? Or do you just kinda do whatever feels best?

    It’s not really big in my life right now, but I want it to be! It used to be but a lot got in the way of that and I miss it!

    I loved this post 🙂

    Reply to Jennifer
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Starting all over again can be fun 😉 Stay motivated and remember to do it the right way!

      I have a pre/post stretch routine that has always worked, but I do know there are tons of youtube videos.

      If you miss it, start 🙂 It always feels great to get at it again!

      & thank you so much Jennifer! hope you’re doing well!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Sarah

    My advice to anyone and everyone is to join a club – you don’t need to be an elite runner, you’ll meet so many different types of people and learn about places right in your own back yard that you didn’t know about! Often times specialty running stores (places that will fit your shoes for you – which I also totally recommend) have their own running clubs and often host fun runs, bar runs, discount days, volunteer events – it’s just a lot of fun!

    I’m a runner, going on half marathon #5 next week, taking the leap to a full next year! I’m not particularly fast, I prefer to have fun and have built up slowly (started about 2 1/2 years ago). I just realized that I’m not sure what normal people do on Sunday mornings though… because every Sunday I meet people in the park to run anywhere from 6-15 miles then grab coffee etc. and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

    Reply to Sarah
    • Taralynn McNitt

      You’re so right about that!

      I’d love to start getting involved with running groups. I know a lot of the stores here do run clubs and fun events!

      That is so inspiring. I think I’d love to do one at my own pace! I wouldn’t want to be fast. Your Sunday sounds like mine:) It’s the best way to spend it. Although, I do need to start going back to church before my runs! I’ve been skipping and it’s not good 🙁

      Coffee & Juice after a run is perfect!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Rachel Wood

    My experience with running has been similar to yours. I had never been a runner and started running when I was in college to train for a long distance relay. Got runners knee and couldn’t do he race. But then several months later got back into it after my knee healed. I’ve gone through periods of less and more running. And I’ve done several half marathons, no marathon yet but working on maybe next year. But I love running so much and it really is therapeutic for me. My advice to any runner is to be easy on yourself, don’t get worked up over the numbers, and don’t force yourself; listen to your body! Some days I can run ten miles easy and other days I feel like I’m dying to just complete 5k. Don’t worry about and try again tomorrow. Running plays such a major role in my life. I live in Oregon so faring the weather is just part of the deal because I truly hate the treadmill. And honestly some of the best runs I’ve ever had have been in the rain. Keep up the good work Tara! If I’m ever in charlotte I’ll hit you up for a run!

    Reply to Rachel Wood
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Sounds like we have the same running story! I hope to do some halts (eventually) like you! Thank you for sharing your success and it definitely has me motivated! Please let me know! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jaime

    1. I used to be into running and I’m thinking of getting back into it again, this post is great motivation! Just wanted to say that I bought a nike waist pack and it was a life changer for me. It’s not on your arms and I can’t fit my phone in my bra unfortunately so this has been perfect for all workouts: http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/pd/lean-running-waistpack/pid-10313873/pgid-10313874?k_clickid=b0e44f05-dc33-4864-b033-29756ec7f004&cp=usns_kw_nike_null_pla!g!c!nobr!&k_clickid=b0e44f05-dc33-4864-b033-29756ec7f004
    2. Is Runkeeper your favorite running app? I have trouble picking one. And do you use a certain app to track the intervals when you’re training and getting back into running?
    3. Right now it plays no role. I do HIIT, a really challenging dance workout class and weightlifting. But I’m thinking I’ll start again.

    Reply to Jaime
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you so much for sharing that! I wonder if it’ll hold my phone tight enough. My phone is so heavy because it’s the 6plus. I may have to try it out!

      Run keeper is my FAVORITE! I’ve been using it for almost four years now. I use it for all of my tracking!

      Dancing and HIIT are just as great for endurance!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Jaime

        thanks for the tip! i have held credit cards, keys AND my iphone 6 in it and the strap tightens but maybe you can try it at a sports store and see if it works for your phone?

        Reply to Jaime
  • Hailey

    Taralynn,
    I love this post! Running is definitely a beautiful thing, and it’s so important to do it completely because you love it, not because you feel like you have to.

    1. My experience with running: I started running distance shortly after I started college (About 2 years ago). I was talking to one of my friends about running, and we decided we wanted to run a half marathon. So we signed up for one six months out and started training. We worked our way up by doing smaller races, and once we got to the half marathon, I’d have to say finishing it was the best feeling ever. Since then, I’ve done 8 more half marathons and I just finished my first marathon last weekend in the Twin Cities. It was the most amazing experience ever, and one of the biggest accomplishments. Every time I finish a race, it just reinforces how much I love running!
    2. I don’t have any questions at the moment, you covered a lot of things in this post!
    3. Running plays a HUGE role in my life. Like you said, it’s therapy. If I don’t want to run on a certain day, I just put on my shoes and run anyways because I always feel so good and refreshed after. Of course I’ve had some struggles with motivation (especially during marathon training) but I always found a way to overcome them by going back to the basics and simply remembering why I run.

    Thank you for posting this on the blog. It’s always so inspiring to read other peoples stories of their running journey. It’s definitely a roller coaster being a runner, but always so so worth it in the end! You are an inspiration!

    Reply to Hailey
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you Hailey!

      I agree. I feel that way about a lot of other workouts! I tried cross fit and I do not love it, so I can’t force it (even if it looks super cool and everyone who does cross fit has rocking bodies) and I sort of feel that way about yoga. Sometimes running is not for everyone, and it shouldn’t be forced!

      1. Your story is very inspiring and I hope I can get on your level with races on day! I think that is so rewarding and so amazing to hear.
      2. Thank you!
      3. Going back to the basics is great and you’re never “too good” to do it! It’s what helps us get better and better.

      Thanks for the kind words and sharing your story! Im just as inspired! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Olivia Lawrence

    I have been reading your blog on and off for about 4 years now and I wanted to say thank you for sharing your stuff!
    I started running seriously about this time last year, and I did it through a company called the running room, they do training plans like yours but start at running 1 minute and walking two minutes, to running 10 min and walking 1

    I found that when I’m on the bandwagen my whole life revolves around running, what food I eat, what I wear, when I can go out. For this reason I think I’m going to have to readjust a bit. Try to make it more of a lifestyle with strength training and circuits.

    Again thanks for the sharing, you’d be amazed how much seeing somebody who’s managed their struggle with food and exercise motivates those who are still pushing through.

    Reply to Olivia Lawrence
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Olivia!

      Your welcome and thank you for reading! It means a lot! 🙂

      That sounds like a great running plan. I do that now and then.

      It’s great that you recognize that the bandwagon needs to be a lifestyle and not too full force! I have to remind myself of that too.

      I love hearing everyones stories and seeing the success! It helps me stay motivated!

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Rachel @ Better LIVIN

    For me, I sign up for races to motivate me to run. I’m competitive with myself so doing this keeps me on track!

    Reply to Rachel @ Better LIVIN
  • Emma

    Hey Taralynn,

    Nice article, thanks, it’s always good to hear others’ experiences of running and what helps them. I used to run a lot, but to be honest I’m enjoying gym and strength training much more with occasional runs. Though I did do a mud and obstacle run this weekend!

    One thing to note is that in a lot of countries (UK for example) it’s illegal to carry or use pepper spray. So my best form of running protection is keeping people informed of my route, and not running remote places in the dark. And being fast!

    Emma

    Reply to Emma
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Emma!

      I totally get that. I go through gym phases and sometimes skip out on my constant running. I love to switch it up:) Hitting the gym is just as great!

      Thanks for the advice, and yes…I don’t want you doing anything illegal! Be careful 😉

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Whitney

    You hit the nail on the head about not pushing too hard too quickly with increasing distance and speed! That’s exactly what caused me to have to quit on mile 8 of my first half marathon. I aggravated my IT band and it hurt so badly that I just couldn’t finish my race.
    While I’m no longer a runner, I’ve now made a conscious effort to cross train with my new fitness love: pole dance. I make sure to incorporate hand balance, flexibility and conditioning into my dance. I can tell that I am now much more body aware and I also feel healthier and stronger.
    I’m so glad you found how to remedy your injuries and hopefully that half marathon will be one of our proudest accomplishments! Also, just be careful about keeping your phone in your bra. There’s lots of articles and studies that link prolonged exposure of the cell phone on the breast to breast cancer.

    Reply to Whitney
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Whitney!

      I think that is the biggest mistake all beginners make. I have to remind myself to chill out now! SO sorry you had an injury like that, stretching the IT band is so important. I love that you’re feeling super healthy and strong now!

      & thanks for the warning!

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Bethany

    Thank you for this post!! I have phases where I love running, then I stop doing it and I hate it again! I workout in the gym 4-5 days a week, but running just wears me out! I really need to build up my stamina again… I’ll have to keep this little guide in my head! My best friend and I go to Charleston every December for the Reindeer Run 5k! We dress up in Santa costumes and run all along the waterfront! It’s SO fun! I always try to run the entirety of it, but we just can’t keep our focus! It’s just too much fun! I am in need of a new pair of running shoes, so I will definitely have to check out those Asics! I actually got some motivation from your post about your 12 mile walk the other day… I parked in South End on Saturday morning, walked uptown and weaved through all the side streets! Walked 4.2 miles total and when I was done, I went to the Four Mile Creek greenway and walked another 4 miles! Slowly building up my stamina! Thank you for the inspiration! 🙂

    Reply to Bethany
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Building up your stamina gradually is what works the best! I hate running when I’m out of breath and it does get easier! 🙂 I may look into this reindeer run because it sounds freaking fun!!! Nice job on that long walk! Charlotte is perfect for walking and there are so many trails! The four Mile Creek greenway is my fave!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Evelyn

    Thank you for writing this article! I am a beginner to running and you had some great tips! I started by going to a running store and was fitted with a great pair of shoes. I highly recommend that step. Do you ever find it hard to make time for running? I want to work up to distance, but I feel like I’m constantly racing the clock as it is.

    Reply to Evelyn
    • Taralynn McNitt

      You’re welcome Evelyn!

      So happy to hear you’ve started running! That is exciting:) Glad you were fitted for some great shoes! I’m pretty fortunate to be able to work from home and I don’t find it hard to fit it in. I know not everyone has the schedule that I do and it’s a bit harder. I think if it’s a priority to you, then you should find a routine. Maybe get up early before work to run, or run after work. Sometimes its super therapeutic after work!

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Evelyn

        Thank you! I think you’re right. When it becomes a priority, you can find the time. I will be setting my alarm clock a bit earlier tomorrow 😊 Wish me luck! (No more snooze buttons) And, I love your blog! Keep writing and sharing your stories.

        Reply to Evelyn
  • Lauren

    Hi Taralynn! This post is so inspiring. I used to run a lot. I even ran a marathon, but now I have been dealing with fasciitis plantaris in my right heel for almost two years. I have tried different treatments with no succes. The pain is better than it was at the very beginning of my injury, but even after walking a whole day it still hurts, so I doubt that running will do it any good… It’s really frustrating especially when people keep forgetting and keep asking me if I’m running a race soon. 🙁 Sometimes it seems like I will never run again.

    Reply to Lauren
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Lauren!

      Congrats on the Marathon! That is amazing. Make sure to keep listening to your body and focus on getting better! Have you talked with your doctor about treatments? I used to think I’d never run again, but if you want to, you will! Keep pushing through!

      xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Lauren

        Thank you! Yes, I’ve been to a doctor, specialist, physiotherapist and I’ve even tried accupuncture. Nothing seems to help… It’s really discouraging to find nothing that helps.

        Reply to Lauren
        • Taralynn McNitt

          I’m so sorry to hear that. Keep resting, listening to your body and try to do something completely different than running! Bike or swim until you’re fully healed. You can’t force it and thats the frustrating part. 🙂 xo

          Reply to Taralynn McNitt
          • Lauren

            Yes I know. Thank you for your encouraging words. I started taking spin classes with my boyfriend a couple months ago. Which is a nice replacement for running at the moment. 🙂

            Reply to Lauren
  • luyee

    Hi! I guess i am the first one !! lol
    this is my favorite articles of your blog for now!! I love this,its really educating , Thankyou so much

    1.What is the best advice you can give from your experience with running?
    —— never overdrive, if need a break just take a break; wear right shoes;
    2.Do you have any running questions for me?
    —— hmm.. no , all of my questions had been answeared of this article,thankyou again
    3.How does running play a role in your life?
    i will keep running in my whole life, i love it , feel so free when i was running, and i can forget everything at that moment,

    Reply to luyee
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Luyee!

      Thank you!:) That means a lot!

      Those are great pieces of advice and totally make a difference.

      Wow! Glad I covered them all!

      I can definitely relate to that!

      xo thank you for commenting!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Mackenzie

    Aww, so love this post. And you are DEFINITELY a runner- no questions asked. Anyone who has this kind of history with running is a runner through and through. Also- I am SO guilty of putting my phone in my sports bra. My husband says I should get one of those arm bands, but I change the music up too much to invest in something that restrictive 😉 I think you covered basically everything from the running advice standpoint. The thing I would reinforce the most is to embrace your OWN journey with running and exercise. I am never going to win a race, a marathon, or come even close, but what I have learned is what running does for my well-being is more important than anything.

    For me running plays a significant role. I use it to cope with everyday stressors and process through everything going on. It is my safe haven and I don’t know what I would do without it. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    Reply to Mackenzie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you Mackenzie!

      The arm bands just don’t do it for me! I can feel the giant phone on my arm and I hate it. I may try to get a holder for my waist!

      That is the best advice. It’s all about your journey! Not everyone is running to race, but for well-being! Love those words.

      I can definitely relate to that. It helps with anxiety and stress for sure! Whenever I’m having a bad day, I turn to running!

      xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Kami

    I’ve been checking out your blog for over a year now. I love everything about it because it mirrors my own life victories and struggles. You inspire me daily to keep moving on. Also Grumples is a big version of my dog, Dixie!
    I have always wanted to get into running. I have used interval running for 10 years to help with weight loss. I finally started running for distance about a year ago. I still have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it at times. The other day after a particularly good run I actually said to myself, “I think I’m a runner!”. I struggle with proud moments so to me that was a victory. Anyways, I just wanted to say I love what you have to say and I especially loved this post! Keep up the amazing work!

    Reply to Kami
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Kami!

      Thank you so much. It’s funny how complete strangers can relate so much to one another! What kind of dog is Dixie? Grumples has a ton of little mini-mes lol

      I think we (me anyways) always have a love/hate relationship with running. There are days where I’m loving it (like yesterday) and some days I can’t run for tow minutes without stopping. I’m sure we are like that with most aspects of life. Coming to the terms that “you are a runner” is one of the greatest moments! Being a runner just means you run. It doesn’t mean you’re fast, you’re a marathoner or you’re the best…there is nothing that truly defines it 😉

      Thank you so much again!

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Kami

        Hi Taralynn,

        Dixie is a Bichon ShihTzu. I had the same breed before her but way different dog. I swear she has something else in her but whatever, she’s my little bud. Oh, I also wanted to mention one of my favorite pieces of advice you’ve given sorta on running in the past is to walk out aches and pains. I’ve never been much of a walker (embarrassed to admit)but it really changed my soreness level just taking time to walk and more of an appreciation of the great outdoors!! Thanks again!

        Reply to Kami
        • Taralynn McNitt

          Hi Kami! Bichons are so cute!! Love that all dogs have different personalities. & Walking is still my favorite! I like to walk on tuesday nights! 🙂 xo

          Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Maria

    Awesome post! I’m going to have to come back to this and read it again! So much good info! I’m currently out of commission for running. I think I got a little excited and over did it. So I’m dealing with some painful shin splints…😔
    Any advice? I’ve recently been focusing on stretching, strength training, walking and foam rolling. But I want to run so bad… I also recently bought a new pair of running shoes (Asics all the way!) but haven’t been able to try them out because I’ve been trying to heal.
    Question for you: How do you use Kt tape? And have you ever used compression socks?
    Thanks again for such a helpful and informative post! You have a lot of knowledge and experience! 😄👍🏻Keep it up!!!

    P.S. Random question– where did you get your Steve Madden boots? What style are they? I love them and have been looking for something exactly like that!
    Thanks!

    Reply to Maria
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you Maria!

      Overdoing it is easy. I have been there, but you’ll just come back stronger and smarter the next time around. Shin splints stink, but they’re not permanent!

      Try adding in some icing to those routines. Don’t run until your shin splints are healed. I used to get them in high school while playing basketball and it was the worst! You have to be careful because they can turn into stress fractures! They’re super common when you first start out running because your body isn’t used to the stress.

      I use compression on my knees and around my ankles if I’m feeling stiff or achey. They help so much! I also use KT TAPE on my shoulders because I tighten up there a lot.

      & THANK YOU! Love those boots 🙂 They’re the Steve Madden Raymon Bootie!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Brooklyn

    In high school and university I was a runner and I absolutely loved it! I had so many trails near both my house in high school and apartment in uni so it was perfect!
    Now I’m living in a busy city with no trails close by and a ton of traffic lights everywhere making me always have to stop.
    So now I absolutely hate running.
    I have never enjoyed the treadmill, but I’m thinking of forcing myself to try to start using it again because I loved the way my mind and body felt after a run.
    The only problem is getting the motivation to actually get on that treadmill!

    I have bad asthma and don’t want to have to re-teach myself how to breathe properly and not have asthma attacks all over again.

    But I would rather do that than never run again I guess!

    I always liked having a bowl of the original Special K cereal before a run. It never felt too heavy but filled me up enough so I never felt ill 🙂

    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

    Reply to Brooklyn
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hey Brooklyn!

      I cannot do the city running. I HATE stopping. I see people do it and I don’t know how! I totally understand why you don’t want to run in that area. Are there any trails you can drive to on the weekends for running? Maybe do the treadmill once or twice a week + a close by trail.

      So sorry you deal with asthma! That is so scary 🙁 Please be careful!

      Cereal is great before running! I have to use almond milk though 🙂 Diary always gave me cramps.

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Sarah

    Thanks for the tips! This post was great! Would you be able to link your favorite asics? I’m currently looking for a better shoe and would love to know which show you bought multiples of.. They sound worth trying! Thanks!

    Reply to Sarah
  • Jen H.

    Totally appreciate this post. I am an avid ‘self-proclaimed’ runner!!! I run as my therapy and just like you said, I feel better when I am running. I also make better diet choices and feel just healthier and happier. Then again, also like you said, sometimes I too fall off the band wagon and get in a funk. All it takes is one good run for me and I’m back in the game.

    About two years ago I was mid run (about a mile in) and I got a shooting pain in my ankle…came out of nowhere! Sure enough I fractured a small bone in my ankle. The doctors called it an ‘overuse’ injury. At the time I was walking on the treadmill in the mornings and running in the afternoons. It was bad….took over 6 months in a boot to heal. I thought my running days were over. Luckily I healed and now am super cautious not to overdo it. I also know and value the importance of stretching!!!

    I love seeing your workout posts, pictures, snaps, etc. It motivates me to get my butt up off the couch and get active! Running plays a huge part in my life but so does other kinds of workouts. I like circuits, walking, and any sort of weight training. I think working out just makes me happier, healthier, and clears my head.

    Thanks for a great post 🙂

    Reply to Jen H.
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Jen!

      Thank you:) YES to all of that. A good run can really up that confidence and put you back on the bandwagon.

      Overuse injuries are the most common! Glad you allowed yourself to recover before getting into again! Seems like you have it all figured out now.

      I love sharing all of my posts and I also love getting inspired from my readers. I agree that working out makes me happier as well! xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Virjinia

    I love that you added a section about safety! I’m training for a marathon so I have to start some of my longer runs in the morning. I always have my reflective gear and pepper spray!

    Reply to Virjinia
    • Taralynn McNitt

      It’s super important and I get so nervous when I see girls and some of my friends running trails alone! It’s not safe. I’m so glad you take all the safety precautions! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Nicole

    Hi Taralynn!

    Thank you for doing this post 🙂 As a fairly newbie runner, I find it so helpful!

    1. Although I’ve really only been running for less than a year, I would agree with you that food and hydration make all the difference in the world when it comes to the quality of a run! I notice such a difference when I am hydrated and have eaten the right food (for me it’s oatmeal and banana) versus when I haven’t been fueling properly.
    2. Do you ice after every run? Or only if you have aches and pains?
    3. I used to dread running, but after my best friend ran a half marathon, I was inspired to try it out. This past May, I set a goal to run a local 5K in July. I found a training plan, stuck to it, and I ran the race! I was so proud of myself for sticking to the plan and achieving my goal. Running has been a confidence booster and a reminder that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to 🙂

    Reply to Nicole
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi Nicole!

      You’re welcome 🙂

      Thats the truth. Some people can run without food and some people can’t. It’s all about what works best for you! I love oats and banana before a run!

      I ice after long runs! I iced my knees after the eight miles yesterday and did a deep stretch last night.

      I love getting inspiration from friends and readers. I also think the better I get at running, the more confident I’ll be when I decide to run a race. So proud of you for running a 5k! You’re right about it being a confidence booster!

      xo xo & I hope you keep me updated on your running progress!

      Taralynn

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt

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