• Welcome to Beth’s Journey!

    Hey! I'm Beth - a 27 year old foodie living and working in the Washington, DC area who has lost almost 90 pounds through Weight Watchers. I love good food, wine and getting creative in the kitchen, and then balancing that out with running, The Shred, and yoga. Please feel free to browse around and hopefully you'll find some ideas, recipes and motivation!

  • Enter your email address to receive emails when new posts are made on Beth's Journey.

    Join 114 other followers

  • Recent Posts

  • Advertisements

How I Started Running

Thinking about running used to make me cringe because memories of being the last one in gym class to finish the mile and the pain of coming up with countless excuses as to why I couldn’t run the laps for soccer practice would flood my mind. Running was literally the last thing on Earth I would have imagined myself doing voluntarily prior to 2009, unless I was being chased or the ice cream truck was pulling away.

So I even shocked myself when I first said, “I want to be a runner” last April. I really can’t explain exactly what came over me, I just decided one day that I wanted to start running, and that was that. I remember talking to my friend Amber at work and she said, WHY!? I replied, “All athletes are runners” and she said I was wrong (which I now do think I was). I guess I just never even imagined myself having the ability to run, so the challenge was intriguing.

I had just joined Weight Watchers the month before and frequented the 20 somethings message board for support daily. A lot of people who had been successful with the WW program had taken up running, and I saw “c25k” more times than I could count before I googled it myself to see what the big hype was about.

C25k stands for Couch to 5k and is a 9 week program that has you go from being completely inactive to running a 5k at the end of the program. I’m not one to really follow things to a T unless I design them myself (take recipes for an example) and I had already been working out so I knew I had some good cardio endurance. So, I decided to use the basic idea of walk/run intervals but came up with my own plan.

I started with a 2 minute jog followed by a 2 minute walk and I can vividly remember that first 2 minute interval and wanting to throw myself down on the pavement and quit as I gasped for air and literally thought I might die. Running was harder than I thought it would be and my countless hours on the elliptical did not seem to be helping. I took a day off and set off the day after with the same 2 min jog/2 min walk and you know what, it was a little easier. Definitely not easy by any means, but I felt less like throwing myself down on the side of the road. After those first two runs, I took it inside to the treadmill so that I could gauge my pace and make sure that I was never running a second longer than I was supposed to for the interval.

Time went by and I remember getting up to doing 5 minutes of running with 1 minute of jogging, and calling my mom freaking out about how I had run .5 miles STRAIGHT for the first time that I could remember. I don’t think she really understood how huge of a deal that was to me because running .5 miles straight doesn’t sound that far, but for me, it was a huge deal. More weeks went by and I eventually ran for 20 minutes straight and would tack on 5 more minutes each time that I felt like I could until I was eventually running for about 45 minutes straight.

I started running outside once I mastered 45 minutes straight and the transition from treadmill to pavement was ROUGH. I remember the first time I did an outdoor run last June and it was with my coworker Jackie. I think we went around 3 miles total but towards the end I started getting a terrible side stitch and thought I was going to throw up. We had to stop at Quizno’s and beg them for water since we had no cash. They probably obliged only because I looked like I was going to drop dead with my red face and sweat crusted body. We ended up walking the rest of the way back to the office, but, I kept on trucking.

I signed up for my first 5k which was September 12, 2009 one year ago YESTERDAY! We didn’t have chip timing because it was a really casual race, but ever since that run, I was hooked! I’ve since completed 8 races: 5 5k’s, 2 10ks, and a 10 miler. And as you probably know, I have a Half Marathon coming up on Sunday, which will be my first half marathon ever and the true test to me of being an endurance athlete.

So I know my story is not that unique in terms of how I started running, but you have to realize that as cliché as this might sound, if I can do it, so can you! I literally DREADED running throughout my entire childhood, and now it’s something I truly enjoy. It helped me with my weight loss tremendously and the pounds started melting off when I first started running. It also helps me so much mentally because I’m naturally a pretty anxious person and it helps relieve stress so much. I experienced runner’s high for the first time last week which was seriously the most amazing feeling in the world, and totally worth the almost year it took me to get there. 🙂

Tomorrow I’ll do a post about tips and tricks for new runners if you’re thinking about starting running so let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like me to address AND if you are a runner please contribute extra tips in the comments section!

Lunch today was super simple and delicious. It feels so good to be eating clean after an indulgent weekend…


An Arnold Thin Sub Style (1 pt) with 2 tbsp Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (1 pt), a slice of RF provolone (1 pt) and sprouts (0 pts).


Celery + Cherry Tomatoes for a veggie kick.

leftover couscous

And 1 cup of leftover couscous salad (3 pts) from Saturday’s potluck.


Super satisfying 6 point lunch that took about 4 minutes to assemble this morning!

Are you a runner? How long have you been running? How did you get started?


35 Responses

  1. Great post. I always enjoy hearing how people got into running. It’s a tough sport to start. The C25K thing is such a helpful tool – I can scarcely imagine starting off trying to run a whole mile if I were new to it!
    BTW, that couscous was delicious. Do you have the recipe somewhere on your blog? Great meeting you this weekend!

  2. That looks like a beautiful lunch! Bet it tasted good too:)

  3. I still wish that I could get into running. Maybe someday 🙂 I think I love 2 mile runs, and anything beyond that is too much.

  4. I’m so glad to hear that you are enjoying running! I go in and out of phases with running and wish I could be more consistent.

    PS – where did you find those new Arnold Sandwich Thins? I’m still only seeing the round ones in Miami!

  5. Love to hear about you conquering running! I’ve always dreaded running, but I think I may try the two min run/walk thing tonight and see how it goes!

    One thing I would like to know is, how do you fight boredom? To me, even 30-45 min. on the treadmill seems like an eternity!

    • Hi Catherine – Keep me posted if you decide to try it! And even though it will probably be really hard, I PROMISE that time #2 will be easier. I’m going to do a post about overcoming mental hurdles later this week but boredom is definitely a hard thing to overcome. I’ve found that running outside makes me less likely to get bored, but its still tough. Listen to music, soak in the scenery, run with a friend… anything to distract yourself from what you’re actually doing. 🙂

      • I did it! I set a goal of 3 miles…no time goal, I didn’t want to kill myself! I made it in 42:00. Not too bad for my first 3 miles in years! 0:00-12:00 were good, 12:00-20:00 were terrible (really wanted to quit at 20), but I felt like I got in a grove on 20:00-30:00, 30:00-40:00 were if-y but I had already come so far that I just kept going. Thanks for the inspiration! I think my legs are going to hate you in the morning! 🙂

  6. Love, love this post. I too just randomly decided to ‘become a runner’ as my 2009 new year’s resolution.

    I still remember the pride I felt when I first ran ONE WHOLE SONG non-stop. It was a Rihanna song so maybe 3 -3:30 minutes but I was so impressed with myself! By September I ran a half-marathon in 2.5 hours without walking…love how fast you can see your own progress.

    – CJ

  7. Love to hear your story! Its fun to hear how runners have started off and I know how far they have come.

  8. I’m definitely not a runner but it’s a great to hear about people who plans and trains for marathons. It seems like such an awesome accomplishment.

    Your simple sandwich sounds delicious!

  9. oooh thankyou for sharing your running story with us!! 🙂

  10. Happy “running anniversary!” I ran my first 5k last year too–in October. The Run Like Hell 5k.

  11. I would like to complete the C25K at some point… I keep telling myself that I am going to start but then I never do. Part of the problem is that I have my son by myself and although I do have a jogging stroller, he weighs close to 40 pounds. I think it would make it that much harder.

  12. Thanks for sharing your running story! When I first started I also used the jog-walk method, which worked really well for me. When I finished my half-marathon I could hardly believe how far I had come! 🙂

  13. I can not tell you how much I loved this post. Simply because I was exactly you. I was NEVER a runner. Ever. Same in high school I was always the last one to finish. Though I was blessed with being naturally thin I was probably never really “fit”

    This past May I began to toy with the idea of running. Then in June I decided to start with walking. I knew I had to get my legs in shape to even think of running. I too looked at the C25k program, but didn’t even begin to follow it until just a few weeks ago.

    Never in my life did I think I would be able to run for 3 minutes straight and now I am!!! Even more I can feel that cardio wise I could go longer though I am having some problems with my calves cramping.

    Point is for the first time in my life I am achieving something I never thought possible nor did I think I would like, but I love it!

  14. My story is very similar to yours! I started weight watchers, and started the c25k program the same. It was almost a year ago! 2 weeks ago I ran 5 miles for the first time! I hope one day I can run as far as you! You rock!

  15. its really neat how that first 5km race really catapults the running relationship for people. theres something almost magical about it, and its hard to forget that first run 🙂


  16. Such a great post! I’m so excited to hear all about your big race this weekend!

  17. I’m glad you are doing something that you enjoy! I have decided to take a break from running since I don’t like it much these days, but I’ll be back to it soon enough!

    I love the pic of your celery and cherry tomatoes — they look so cute rolling around!

  18. I love this post! I started running like you – just basically starting with a mile or two, adding time/distance as I worked up. Now I’m training for my first marathon in November!
    I just wrote a post on my favorite mental strategy for when running is tough. I got it from the book I’m following for training (The Non Runner’s Marathon Trainer) and it’s to just tell yourself “it doesn’t matter. You can read my post if you’d like, but the basic idea is that every time you are having a hard run, you are getting tired, or hot, or uncomfortable, or your legs hurt (or any excuse you can come up with! 🙂 you just tell yourself “it doesn’t matter”. It’s really been working for me and helping me get past tough spots!
    Good luck this weekend!!

  19. I think I’m following your same path! I detested running because I though I couldn’t do it. Now I’m on week 8 of Couch to 5k and jogging for 28 minutes straight. That’s just nuts to me!

    Although my pace is suppppper slow, I’m doing it and am so proud of myself! You inspire me witht he races you’ve gone on to do… I think running a half would be an incredible feeling!

  20. I think the best thing about running is how it is so easy… yet so hard! Always really fun to read how people get started, which is SO difficult, but getting to see yourself progress is the BEST!

  21. Beth, this post is so awesome! I always assumed that you were Mrs. athlete in high school and that you have been running for ages. Your posts make me think you are a natural. I loved hearing your story on where you were and how you got to where you are today.

    I just ran my first 5k on Sunday and had feared doing something like that forever. While I was running and hit the 2 mile marker I thought back to the feeling of wanting to cry in the gym in high school when we were doing our 1 mile test and all the kids were passing me. It was so empowering to finally put that memory behind me and realize that I could be a runner!

    I have always wanted to be a runner and your story has so many parallels to mine and reminds me to keep moving forward with my goals! 🙂

  22. Hi there. I did the C25 earlier this year. I am running my first 9k race this weekend (cross your fingers for me). Just wanted to say because I saw your tweet re: your nephews and my heart sank. I really hope all goes well. As a Mum of twins I feel your sister’s pain. Twins are remarkable people and let’s just hope they make it 🙂

  23. I absolutely hate running but I do want to give it a go! Thanks for the link! 🙂

  24. Hi! I just found your blog today. I started running in January of this year. I also started out with the C25K program. And I have not looked back. On September 25th I did my first half marathon. I am not speedy, actually I am pretty darn slow, but I just keep going. Everyday, every run I feel like I am accomplishing my goals. These are things that I never thought were attainable, but they are. It’s hard work but it feels great!

  25. […] is that when I first starting running, I did it exclusively on the treadmill. (Full story here). I loved that I could gauge my pace and know exactly when to switch from walking to running during […]

  26. […] How I Started Running […]

  27. […] amazing.  She is the final motivator that made me start blogging.  She has great tips on how to start running and I visit her running story often to get and keep motivated! b.  Mile 26 and More – […]

  28. […] working out and gradually worked up to exercising 4 to 5 times a week. You can read all about How I Started Running because I never in my life would have pictured myself doing so voluntarily. Now, in addition to […]

  29. […] note: In case you haven’t read it, check out this How I Started Running post. It’s one of my favorites and I think sometimes people come across my blog and just assume […]

  30. […] note: In case you haven’t read it, check out this How I Started Running post. It’s one of my favorites and I think sometimes people come across my blog and just assume […]

  31. […] lot of times people email me or leave comments and assume I’ve always been a runner. This is SO not true. When I look at my list of races, I’m still kind of in disbelief with the fact that I’ve run […]

  32. […] unrealistic goal of running a half marathon in one month if I haven’t started training. When I first started to run (read this post if you haven’t!), my main goal was to not die during the 90 second jog intervals. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: