Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Running Tips for Beginners (& my expativersary)

Before we get started, I just wanted to talk about me (what?!) for a little bit. Three years ago today (ok technically yesterday, stupid time difference) I hopped on a plane for the other side of the world. The day before was Australia Day and I spent the entire day with my mum, doing Australian things - eating good food and relaxing at the beach. I wanted my last day to be all about family and Australia. It was perfect. The day I left, it took me about 2 hours to say goodbye to my mum & little brother - we hugged and cried, hugged and cried... I didn't want to go. But I did. It was so hard, but so easy.  The Sydney airport is set up so that you go round a corner and through some doors and you cannot get back out, you can't see the people you just said goodbye to.. It's brilliant, really - I have been in airports where my mum stood outside the security line for an hour waving goodbye. I cried the entire time. So, I love those doors.

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Once I was in those doors, I was ok. The person who walked in behind me gave me a knowing smile and a pat on the back. He asked me how long I'd be gone - and I told him "less than a year. Time will fly by. I'll be home before I know it."

I know I talk about Australia a freaking lot, and how much I miss it, and how hard being an expat is.. and it is hard. It sucks sometimes. I miss my home and my family, and the food - bloody hell, I miss the food. But most of the time it doesn't suck, I have family here, and the food is okay as well. Because even with all the homesickness.. it was the best decision I ever made and I wouldn't change a damn thing. I would take my life with KC with a side of homesickness all day every day. Happy life.


Happy expativersary, Kristen.

Moving on...

I don't really feel like talking about my progress today, so I thought I would take a different approach to Training for Tuesday. So, I give you... my running tips for beginners. Now, I know what you're thinking - Kristen, there are approximately 1 billion other posts and articles about how to start running. Do you really need to add your 2 cents? Why yes, yes I do. Thanks for asking.


Here is my advice on how to start running:

One foot. Move it in front of the other. Then move the foot you left behind in front of the one that just advanced. Repeat a few times, going a little faster than walking.

Ok, in all seriousness. Running does not have to be complicated. It really doesn't. Some seasoned, serious, hardcore runners might smack me for the stuff I am about to say - but I know how daunting it can be to think about shoes, heart rate monitors, fartleks, foam rollers, cross training, races and paces... No wonder so many people are just like nope, not for me.

Here's the thing though - I am almost 100% positive that 90% of the world would love running if they gave it a real, honest, I'm-actually-doing-this go of it. Yes, it's hard, yes you feel like you're dying. You need to be patient, and believe in yourself, and  go easy on yourself.. But you can do this. I firmly believe most everyone can - barring injuries or whatever.

First tip: Ignoring my rant about everyone should run - if you don't want to do it - don't. Simple. Stop reading. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Do not do something you do not want to do.

But first, let me show you this:
mizuna

Ok, so you want to do this? Then let's do it.

First up, what do you even need?

Some shoes - I've had 3 pairs in my 'running career'. 2 pairs of asics and 1 (currently using) pair of Brooks which I love. Here's the thing, I did not get fitted or anything until 2012 and I started running in 2009. I never got fitted, I just grabbed the cute purple shoes made for netball and went at it. And I was fine. When I moved here, I went to a local running store and tried a bunch with some help from the friendly staff. These are without a doubt the best running shoes I have ever owned and yes I am still using them. I did 'fine' with my asics, but I am glad I have these. So it is up to you. Some people will be lucky and be fine with any old shoes to start - like myself. KC never got fitted or anything, he ran in the nike frees but then moved to those 5 fingers and ended up injuring himself so badly that he hasn't run since 2010. So, maybe start easy and slow on whichever shoes you have, and then if you like it go to a running store to be fitted. Tip: if you like your toenails, size up. 

Something to wear - I don't know about you, but I love a cute exercise outfit. New workout clothes always make me want to actually workout. However, more often than not, I grab the same nike shorts and a grungy old tank in summer, and tights and a nike jumper in the winter. I have a very small chest so I wear cheap, simple under armour sports bras, but if you need more support I've heard that this is an area you shouldn't skimp on. My Lorna Jane tights were $90 each and they are still going strong after 5 years - you do not need to spend this much. Sure, they last longer but to start off, go to Old Navy or Target. As for the other stuff.. I rarely wear sunglasses, or beanies, or headbands (they never fit!), or gloves or face mask thingys. If you want to, go right ahead. 

tank / shorts / tee / half zip pullover / capris / tights

Something to listen to, or not - I am a weirdo, and sometimes I like to listen to my feet hitting the pavement, or an audiobook, or sometimes music. You don't have to listen to what everyone says are 'the best running songs you MUST have on your playlist' - listen to whatever you want. It does help the time go faster. But who knows, you might be like me and dig the silence. I use $10 earbuds from Target. When I started, I used those horrible ones that came with the iPhone and fell out every damn 5 minutes, but I survived.

Something to tell you how far & fast you are going - sure, you can buy a hella fancy Garmin and I am super excited to get one for my birthday (OMG it arrived yesterday and I am super excited, can I have it now please?) - but like I said, I've been doing this for 5 and a half years and I did just fine without it. I recommend the nike running app, it's free and tracks your pace and GPS, it just doesn't tell you while you're running like the Garmin does. But it is also zero dollars. I've also used the Map my run one - I just prefer the nike one.

via / lots of info about running apps here
Somewhere to run - Outside, treadmill, on the spot. Ok, the last one - not so good.

Someone to say 'good job!' when you're done - a significant other, a running buddy, a bloggy buddy in another state who you can text, your dailymile friends. It's nice. 


Somewhere to stretch - stretching is important. I have never used a foam roller but I know plenty of people who love them, so that's up to you. But busting out a 15 minute yoga video (which I now know by memory and can do at the gym) after a run has helped me a ridiculous amount. I never used to stretch after runs and I'd be sore for a couple of days - now, I could run every day if I wanted to (but I don't).

Ok, now that you have all that you 'need' where do you start??

Download the couch to 5k app. If you are a beginner beginner, this app is legit. I think I have used it like 4 or 5 times over my running career, because I haven't been running the whole time and I had to start again more than I'd like. It's like $2 and if you don't want to pay that (I get it) you can literally get the same plan here - you can just print it and look at it before you go for your run, or have it in front of you on the treadmill. When I very very very first started, I would run 15 seconds (yes, seriously) and walk a minute. Then I upped the running to 30 seconds, then a minute, then 2 minutes.. and so on and so forth.

Walking is okay - As noted above, I walked more than I ran when I first started. Heck, I still walk now sometimes. It is okay - not a big deal at all. Walk until you feel like you can run again. Even if your running is more like shuffling, it's okay. Running is hard, I will admit that - you think to yourself, I am dying - why am I doing this? It takes awhile for that feeling to pop up less and less, but it will. Until then, walk some.

Make it a habit - still to this day, thinking of running as a habit like brushing my teeth is better than thinking of it as exercise. At the very minimum, I tell myself to run 1 mile and I can be done. 1 is better than 0. I have never done just 1 but it helps to get me out there.

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Go in the morning -You know how people say they are a morning person or a night owl? I'm neither. I'd love to sleep in every day and go to bed early at night. Heck, throw a nap in there and that's a party in my opinion. However, I can get up in the morning much easier than I can convince myself to go after work. Sometimes I will get changed in my gym gear and drive straight passed the gym.. by 'accident'. I sometimes go for a run around the neighbourhood after work but it has to be perfect weather - not too hot, not too cold. Not to mention I had to not have a stressful day at work and I had to have eaten what I consider 'healthy' as well. I know those reasons make no sense and actually running would help both of them (reduce stress, work off the bad food) but I didn't tell you I was logical. Anyway. Mornings are the bomb for workouts because you've gotten it out of the way and it sets you up to have a great day. If you really can't get up in the morning, whether it's for work or lazy reasons, whatever. Just a suggestion.

Reward yourself - whatever works for you. Maybe it's food, which doesn't work for me. Maybe it's shopping, or a 'me day'. Whatever - it's nice to have something to work towards and look forward to.


Set small goals - and I mean small! I cried happy tears the first time I ran a full minute, when I ran my first .5 km, when I ran my first full km and of course when I ran my first 5k. If I had set out trying to run 5k in one go (ahem, actually that was my very first run) I would have been disappointed and discouraged, most likely would have given up. Baby steps.

Be patient - it goes with the above. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen. I promise. You can't not get better.

Be nice to yourself - I used to try the mean thing, telling myself I was fat and if I wanted to not be fat, I'd have to run faster. That doesn't work. Whether you tell yourself in your mind, or out loud - repeat this - I am doing this. I have come so far. I am so proud of myself. Look how strong my body is! I am a runner.



Push yourself - ok, so maybe this should be know when to push yourself. Your second run? Probably not the best time to bust out that 8 minute mile, even if you 'can' do it. You can easily fall into a rut like comfort zone when you are running so knowing when to push it, push it real good, even for just a second, is important.

Don't worry or compare - don't compare yourself to anyone but yourself. But don't rely too much on that either - so your pace hasn't improved in a month, who cares? You're still doing it. Am I breathing through my nose or my mouth? Is my posture correct? Am I landing on my feet correctly? I worried so much about how my feet were landing that I gave myself an injury that thankfully didn't last very long. But after that, I just went out and ran, not focusing on anything. Your body is made to run, and you can worry about your posture and breathing later - chances are, it will come naturally to you in the end. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. In the words of ye olde Nike, Just do it.


Join daily mile, or have some other way to stay accountable - knowing I have to log my runs on daily mile makes me more likely to go running. I didn't say it was fool proof, but it helps. I could also say here to 'find a running buddy or group' like every running list thingy, but I've only ever enjoyed running with one person (and it really did help!) but other than that I'm all about the solo over here.

Sign up for a race - when you're sure you love it or at least enjoy the feeling when you're done, go for it. If you're like me, you don't like wasting money. Plus you get a free shirt.. and a banana.

RUNtelligence

The most important thing - running is not all or nothing. Find what works for you.  If it's never doing more than a 5k, running once or twice a week or running marathons. You do you! And when you do, make sure you link up with Alyssa and Tracy for Training for Tuesday each month - great way to put your goals and progress out there.

alyssagoesbang

So obviously I love running. It's awesome. Anyone can do it, it can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it, hypothetically the weather doesn't stop you going out for a run, you can do it anywhere and it's awesome. Did I mention it's awesome? I'm sure there are more tips and stuff, but this is what works for me. So.... you gonna go for a run now?

61 comments:

  1. Great tips! I feel like starting is definitely the hardest part! I recently gave in and purchased my first pair of tights from lorna jane and they are honestly amazing! I don't regret it for a second, but I certainly will still love my cheapie ones for a good while yet! Carly xo

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  2. It really is just that simple. Yes, when you start you may weez and cough but it does get easier. Signing up for a race does motivate me to keep at it. Great tips!

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  3. I LOVED this post. My boyfriend and I are looking to start the Couch to 5k program this March (after the snow and ice melt!). I'm not looking forward to it, but I think it'll be good for us to get up and get moving.

    http://bedknobsandbaubles.com/

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  4. Happy exaptiversary! I had to say goodbye at the Sydney airport once and was so thankful for those doors!

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  5. Happy expativersary!!! I'm so happy you're here!! :) I have to say when I'm in the running mood - which I was for pretty much all last year training for races it was incredible!! I need to get myself back into the running mood! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

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  6. Happy expativersary, love! You are an incredible women juggling everything that comes along with being in a different country without your family and I applaud you! I can only imagine how much you miss everything back home. LOVE TO YOU!

    Great running times. Stretching and foam rolling are really two of the most important things you can do when training. I love my foam roller, even though he hurts me all the time ;)!

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  7. Did you and KC get married before or after you made the big leap to the U.S.? We got married and a week later, we left for Alaska and I didn't go home for 18 months. In a weird way, I *kind of* understand what you mean. It's a lot of feelings!
    I've been attempting to get on the treadmill at the gym lately just because I know I need to re-condition myself in this altitude. It's terrible on the lungs!

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  8. Happy expativersary, yo! Even though it's clear how much you miss your family, it was brave of you to leave what you knew behind, and braver still to continue to be elsewhere every single day. Congrats on making that tough decision and finding happiness :)
    I absolutely want to start running (regularly), but it really intimidates me (even though I've already made attempts). I plan to try again, though.

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  9. First, happy expativersary! I can't imagine how hard that must have been to say goodbye to your family and fly halfway around the world. You are one seriously strong lady and I hope you never forget that.
    Second, I love every single thing that you said about running. Yes, if you know it's not for you then just don't bother, find something else that will make you happy (so many things to choose from), but if you've never given it a fair shot, then how do you know you hate it? Starting small and doing it your way are my top recommendations for someone just starting out. Couch to 5k is THE reason I am a runner today, no ifs ands or buts about it and I wish I could give whoever made it up a giant hug. I always had a disconnect between what I could do (i.e. nothing) and what I thought I had to be able to do to be a runner, and C25K bridged that gap for me. It was a long and slow process for me but I'm so glad I took those first few steps.

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  10. Happy Expativersary! I love that you're here and still talk about Australia a lot. When I saw it was Australia day I was like oh, Kristen!! I can't even tell you how many times I've started and stopped. Something always happens to keep me from making it more than a few weeks into the C25K program. Not being on DST I just can't do it outside right now and I haven't signed up for a gym membership because I know I'd rather be outside. I'd never even heard of a foam roller being used for stretching, so I'll have to look that up. Thanks for the tips, this is a lot more thorough than those other lists. :)

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  11. Happy Expativersary!!! I am glad that you moved here and started this blog! :)

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  12. Aww Happy Australia day/Expativersary! My friend was missing Aussie yesterday too! I know it's probably extremely hard being that far away from your family but I'm glad you've found happiness here! The homesickness never goes away but at least you have reasons to smile! :) Ugh, you reminded me how badly I need to get back into running... or something. I've taken 4 weeks off from the gym now. Not good at all.

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  13. i can't stand road running but put me on some trails and i can go all day!!!!
    happy expativersary! xoxoxo

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  14. Good list, girl! I actually hate running on street/sidewalks and will only do it on trails or a treadmill. I can't stand how my knees feel after running on janky ass cement, so that is one spot where I draw the line.

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  15. Happy expativersary! Also, thanks for all the awesome running tips -- I put all my awesome running on hold during the pregnancy in favor of less taxing prenatal bar and yoga, but I'm saving this and coming back to it for when I'm ready to get back into running!

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  16. I don't think saying goodbye ever gets easier, but it has to be such a great feeling knowing you're going from one home to the other to one group of people who love you to another. As for the running tips I loved these! Maybe one of my favorite posts ever, haha, I've been nervous about the shoe situation because I was fitted at a running store in high school and the shoe they gave me was so big and uncomfortable I never even wore it. I'm thinking because I'm not trying to run any great distance yet my regular shoes will be okay to start since they've never given me issues- at least I'm hoping. I've been slowly buying more exercise clothes, hoping it will motivate me to actually get moving on making it a habit. How do you keep your phone on you when you run?

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  17. I am high fiving you. This is what people need to see more then the ones that are so technical that it makes you feel like a failure if you don't run a 7 minute mile (in my DREAMS)
    I love the info about "if everyone ran"... that's amazing

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  18. I would like to start running, once it gets warmer in the spring so these tips are so helpful! I'm definitely going to download the couch to 5k app, and I need to invest in a new pair of running shoes. I am a little nervous about running because I haven't gone on runs since high school (and even then it was just training for swimming or field hockey), but you've definitely helped to ease my nerves!

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  19. Happy expativersary <3 hugs and hugs and hugs!

    I totally agree that running does not have to be complicated. You don't need to race, you don't need to buy all this crazy gear, you don't need to do so much calculation. Sometimes I do it all, sometimes I don't, and each kind of run serves a different purpose. And your first tip is one I spout all the time. "I wish I liked running." - other people "But why would you keep doing it if you don't even like it?" - me. There are other ways to be fit and active. If it sucks all the time, stop doing it.

    Anyway, I just wholeheartedly agree with all the rest of your tips. Thanks for linking up! Can't wait to Rock n Roll with you in LESS than two months!!

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  20. Happy expativersary!
    I totally agree with all of your tips. It's so important to set small goals and to be nice to yourself. Than shirt?? HA! Totally. So much work for a free banana... and sometimes a beer. ;)

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  21. I love this post. Really, we do make running out to be far more complicated than it is. It can be intimidating for beginners. I agree with your tips of signing up for a race - that always helps keep me motivated. Also, running in the morning for the win! I love getting to done, and it sets me up for a better day mentally and physically. Happy expativersary!

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  22. Happy expativersary! Signing up for a race & making it a habit are the big ones for me. If I don't have a reason to be out running/training I don't make myself do it...which is why I haven't run in forever. Doing it all the time also makes it easier. The fact that I haven't gone to the gym (or found a place to run outside I like) in FOREVER makes it that much harder for me to start doing it again.

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  23. Happy expativersary!!!!

    So wtf is fartleks? I am more clueless than I thought when it comes to running! We have plans to get a treadmill for our house soon and then I will use the C25K app to train myself to run. I really would like to do a 5K before I turn 40, so I have about 8.5 years to figure it out. If my knees and cranky body will allow. :) I really want to like it. We shall see. You have some excellent tips here!

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  24. Happ expativersary! Those doors at the airport sound great, they must make it so much easier to say goodbye when you can't look back and see your loved ones... :( and great tips! Hope you have a great week :)

    Jessica
    the.pyreflies.org

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  25. I love that banana shirt!

    I started running 6 years ago and I still distinctly remember the first time I ran for 5 minutes straight without stopping. It was such a huge deal to me. I think most people think you have to be able to run 30 min straight right away or it doesn't count. That's why I love the couch to 5k program, perfect way to ease into it.

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  26. I love that banana shirt!

    I started running 6 years ago and I still distinctly remember the first time I ran for 5 minutes straight without stopping. It was such a huge deal to me. I think most people think you have to be able to run 30 min straight right away or it doesn't count. That's why I love the couch to 5k program, perfect way to ease into it.

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  27. Good shoes are def a must! I remember when I first started running I made the mistake of grabbing any ol pair of sneakers.... I learned the hard way real quick!

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  28. happy expativersary! I can't imagine being so far away from family and having a semi-constant homesickness but the important part of all that is that you have no regrets and love your life with KC.

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  29. Great tips!!! I think the one about "don't compare" is huge and a trap that lots of runner fall into.

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  30. I don't need the running tips, but I wanted to wish you a happy expativersary!

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  31. Aw, happy expativersary!

    So...I love ya and all, but I think I'm still gonna have to pass on the running. Never been my thing. Makes me feel like I'm going to barf!

    :o)

    V
    www.lifeplus1.me

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  32. I've been trying to get myself into running. It's true, you've just got to get moving. And yes, cute workout clothes make me want to workout :)

    Sarah
    Midwest Darling

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  33. great advice! i want to run for a marathon in summer and cant wait to train!
    happy aniversary!
    xo
    Orly
    coffeebeansandhighheels.weebly.com

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  34. Where I just moved to has the most amazing 4 mile loop. I just need to get my booty moving.....or one foot in front of the other. Thanks for the motivation girl!

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  35. Aw this is really sweet. I still think being an expat is super brave. All the feels... . : / I'm glad that you love your life. So happy bittersweet expativersary. :)

    Treating myself is pretty much the best way to get myself to do anything.... in college I would read a page or two, or chapter and watch segments of gilmore girls inbetween. The painful textbooks were 1 pg. per chunk of episode. The ok ones not so much. :) Great advice!

    XO -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  36. happy expativersary! I hope you get to visit Australia soon. I know this post is supposed to be about running more than food, but I am so curious, what sort of food are you missing from Australia? I know nothing about the food there, and would love to know!

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  37. Lol - good timing. I have a run scheduled tonight and I was trying to find excuses not to. I "forgot" my gym bag this morning. But now I will think about this article and go use the treadmill at my parent's house. Half marathons do not train for themselves.

    Happy Expativersary!

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  38. Happy Expativersary! :) These are all such great tips! I've been doing other types of exercise lately but I really want to get back into running! I just got a foam roller because my chiro recommended it, I'm looking forward to using it!

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  39. Happy expativersary!!!

    I wish I liked to run. I've tried it--even trained for a 5K--and I hated every single minute. I'd rather do almost any other kind of exercise than run. That said, if I ever change my mind and decide to like running, these are great tips!

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  40. First off...the part about the guy patting you on the back made me tear up. I'd be bawling the whole flight over!

    Second...I just had to Google Fartleks because you spell somethings differently than I do {I don't mean that bad...like mum vs mom} and I thought for a second you meant fartleak and I had to know if it was really what it sounded like.

    Lastly...I love the C25K you recommended a few weeks ago. It's been a great plan to follow. I may not be using the correct one because I found a free one but either way, I'm loving it!

    Keep on posting stuff like this! It really is helpful!

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  41. Great post! But my favorite part of this post is you saying that you like to sleep late, go to bed early, and nap. That is my dream! :) xo

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  42. Thanks for all of your tips! This is great advice and reading it made me actually want to get back into running more often. You're so right, it takes a little while to get used to it but if every time you go from 5 to 10 to 20 minutes of running then eventually you reach whatever goal you are trying to get to.

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  43. Such a perfect post! I am two weeks into trying to be a runner and have been reading every article possible on it!

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  44. From one expat to another: I know what it feels like to have your heart torn between the "home" where you grew up with irreplaceable family, friends, and yes...even food!; and the "home" that you've created with your guy, your bestie, and your fur babies. Happy Expativersary!

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  45. I don't love running, but i like doing it every once in a while to mix things up. This is brilliant. Tomorrow, I'll put one foot in front of the other :)

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  46. I don't love running and I always want to. Reading this makes me feel re-motivated, so thank you for sharing!! Great tips!! I also loved your moving story! It's so brave and I am happy you're here and blogging :)

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  47. These are great tips! I especially like "if you like your toenails go a size up"!

    Happy expativersary!!

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  48. Happy expativersary! I am sure time has flown!! Ok so I need all of these tips! Listening to music always is helpful! Take the mind off the torture ;)

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

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  49. You're killing me with all those lovely workout clothes links! I swear I need ALL the workout clothes I can find!!!

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  50. Ugh, those doors at Sydney airport. Every time I have to say goodbye to my sister in front of them, I'm a total mess the other side. So nice of the man to be kind to you - but that would have finished me off!

    Great running tips - you've almost convinced me. Almost.

    -Rachel

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  51. Happy expatnniversary!! Wow, I'm so happy to see you as smiley and joyful as ever. Congratulations, missy. You deserve this much happiness and more!!

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  52. As soon as this snow melts (so in May...) I AM going to become a runner again! I think part of the reason running seemed so dreadful to me in the past is because I've been wearing the worst pair of shoes. I need to get to the city to a running store and get fitted for a proper pair (once my spending freeze is over of course)

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  53. Girl! These are the best running tips I've ever read. I have read a ton of them by the way. Happy Expativersary! I can't imagine being that far from home and happy that you have a positive attitude. I love hearing you talk about Australia, it makes me want to visit so badly!

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  54. I am SO SO WITH YOU!!! Let's be running buddies, please! I definitely function well under the whole "atta boy" type set up. I just want someone to say "you? RAN? REALLY? And you didn't die? GOOD JOB JOEY." Because I'm uber dramatic like that apparently. But yes--definitely find what suits you. I'm visiting a friend right now and they have a treadmill. I ran on it yesterday and oh...my....gosh kill me now. I am definitely an outside runner. I function better knowing people driving by see that I'm running (which keeps me running instead of stopping to walk). And I DEFINITELY do better running a certain route so I know to just keep going without constantly checking to see how far I've gone. This was such a great post!

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  55. Have you tried Zombies, Run? That app is one of the only things that I've found that will actually make me enjoy running.
    My problem is that I get in a good routine and something will happen - I'll get a cold or hurt my knee or whatever and quit and lose all motivation for moooonths.

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  56. This is my new favorite running post. Seriously. It almost makes me want to give up my regular elliptical+book sessions at the gym and go outside for a run instead. ALMOST, I'm still not over my half marathon apparently, lol.

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  57. Happy expativersary my dear!!

    And as for the running tips!!! Every single one of them is great. I use the app myself. Well I dont as much anymore... more just to track the runs as opposed to getting to the 5k status! Making it a habit is most important! Like you I cant reward myself with food. The inner fat girl needs no food rewards... she cant control herself at all. So shopping and one drink etc is what I do. I used to be such a drinker and now Im not. I find it makes me sluggish. Off topic krys .... great post girlie!!

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  58. I am not ready to run, but when and if I decide to take the challenge then I will absolutely come check this post out; read all the details. :) for now I'm just happy that I've had two gym filled weeks in a row! Woo hoo, hehe. And happy expativersary (did I say that right?!)

    XOXO

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  59. I'm not going to lie I didn't read any of the running part because I just know that I won't be running anytime soon with this big ol belly... lol. But on the upside, Happy Expat-iversary! What a tough thing to do to leave your home and family and move across the world! I admire you for that! I can barely handle living 2 hours away from my hometown! :)

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  60. You have an awesome blog! Keep up writing and you'll get more visitors, because it's interesting to follow smb's life! http://www.phonetrackerr.xyz

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Thank you so much for your comment! I reply to my comments via email, but I can't do that if you are a no-reply blogger :-) If you are here to be a troll, please kindly bugger off. Thanks!