This is how I'm learning to run (from the girl who can't jog a mile)

The first time I had to run a mile in middle school, I was completely misled.

My school called it the "fun run," and that's what I was expecting—a *fun* run. I was truly shocked when my 12-year-old self went onto the field and had to jog for what felt like an eternity. From that first race 'til just a few weeks ago, I was a self-proclaimed cardio hater.

The starting line

A few months ago, my close friend decided to make it her mission to run a 5K. She had a blast doing it, and she encouraged me to give it a shot. After all, I hadn't really tried to run for over a year, and this seemed like the sign I needed to try again.

I didn't really know how to get started, so I took to none other than social media for inspo. I scrolled through tons of running vlogs and how-to's on TikTok. From there, I began my journey to becoming a runner. 



My running app (Nike Run Club) has really helped me to enjoy my time running. It provides guided and non-guided runs to get me into a groove.

I also curated the perf playlist to get into a good mood. It's stocked with Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Sabrina Carpenter and dozens of throwbacks. For me, having an upbeat song to listen to really motivates me to push through the harder patches. 

Another tip I've learned? When I look good, I *feel* good. Wearing an oversized T-shirt and a messy bun may be ideal for lounging around watching Netflix, but when I'm hitting the trail, I need a cute set and a fun hairstyle (like French braids) to really feel motivated. So take this as a sign to treat yourself to that new workout top you've been eyeing!

A photo finish


My biggest tip to get to the finish is getting to the start. Getting up, putting on shoes and actually going on your run changes the game.

So many times after school I feel like all I can do is collapse in bed, but taking those steps of putting on my outfit, doing my hair and hitting the closest trail to my house—no matter how down bad I feel—has really changed my mindset as a new runner. Getting up and out even when you feel like you can't is so important. I've never regretted it once I got out there. 

OK, fair warning, I am about to say the most cheesy thing ever: One thing I have learned through my running app is that smiling while running and taking in your environment makes it more fun. I don't know what it is, but even when I am going through the hardest part of the run (and I'm seconds away from giving up), smiling and taking a second to enjoy the breeze or the flowers on the side of the path really makes me feel better.

A few months ago, I would have never thought I would like cardio, but I can now confidently say that I'm a runner for life.

Top and slider image: @megsutherland


by Katherine Mahoney | 6/5/2024