running motivation coach
running motivation coach
20 October 2021 (updated)

5 Tips to Start Running and for Your First Race

Did you catch the Rock n Roll Marathon Series in town last weekend? Have you run it? Did you watch but felt inspired to go the distance and become a runner? Ever wondered how to start running races?

I have you covered with five tips to help you run your first race comfortably and confidently!

Here are my five tips to get started with running

  1. Determine what and why you want to run.
  2. Get the right shoes!
  3. Start Running
  4. Decide if you'll train alone or with a team.
  5. Pick your first race.

1. Determine What and Why You Want to Start Running.

Find your motivation. You might have a health or fitness-related goal or it may be to raise money or awareness for a good cause. Did you know that most local races are fundraisers for charities?  If running doesn’t grab your passion point, the charity might.

After you decide your why then decide the distance. Races range from 3.1 miles to a full marathon of 26.2! All distances take a level of commitment. Even if a marathon sounds exciting to you, I recommend you start with a shorter race and see how you like it.

2. Get the Right Shoes!

Shoes can make or break your training. Investing in a good running shoe is a necessity. I send my clients to Running Etc. for all their training shoe needs- whether you need trail running shoes or a less specialized trainer. They offer two convenient locations in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. The expert staff at Running Etc. is trained to analyze your stride and recommend the appropriate shoe.

start running

3. Start Running!

You've picked the race, you've got the shoes...time to start running! Be honest with how much time you can dedicate to running. You can prepare for a race such as a 5k, for as little as 3 days a week. Use a pace calculator or run tracker, like a Fitbit, to help with your daily running motivation. Also, decide what time of day works best for your schedule.

If you function better in the morning, aim for sunrise sessions. If evenings are a better option for your free time, look forward to training as a wrap to the day. Whichever option you choose, write the appointments down in your schedule. I pencil in my workouts for the week each Sunday. That way, I am sure to keep those appointments with myself. I also schedule a couple of my weekly workouts with friends. It is a great way to keep yourself accountable and motivated!

4. Decide if You'll Train Alone or with a Team.

Virginia Beach offers several amazing running groups with coaches. They can provide you with a specific training plan, oftentimes accompanied by organized group runs during the week. If solo sweating is your thing, opt for an app like Couch to 5k. It provides a fantastic training method using intervals and includes encouragement and goal tracking.

J&A Training Team - seasons start each August and December

November Project - Workouts every Wednesday morning

North End Run Club - Group runs near the Oceanfront every Tuesday evening

5. Pick Your First Race to Start Running.

Look ahead 1, 2, or even 3 months, giving yourself enough time to cultivate your new habit. Go ahead and register now. Physically paying for the event and registering online makes it real! Training should feel fun. Remember to relax, give yourself some grace, make a new playlist, and enjoy the journey! Welcome to the running community. For more information on coaching, races, or general fitness email

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