Day 2 – Start Small, Build Slow

I have to say, I am not a very patient person, I like things to happen fast.  So, I really want to be able to run far and fast right away.  I want running to feel good right away – and yes, when you get far enough in and are doing it regularly it does feel good.  But in the beginning its hard to stay motivated when you feel like you are only spinning your wheels.

My own advice to start small and build slow is a hard one for me to digest, but in my aging years, I have to take it heart.  Everyone, though, including the high schoolers I coached, need to start slowly and build up a base before trying to push too hard mostly to avoid injury but also to keep yourself fresh and feeling ok the next day or two days after so you can go out and run again instead of feeling so sore you can barely walk up those stairs.  By going slowly, you will feel more motivated to go out and run more often if you start small.  Usually, though, I stick with the injury reason because nobody wants that.

That said, you can definitely do this!


I coached a highly competitive boys and girls cross country and track team.  Every summer and for about 2 months in the winter, we did what was called base building for both the newbies and the seasoned runners.  This is where you start out.  This is what I’ve started doing this past month.  Usually you want to take several months to build up your mileage and how fast you are doing the mileage before you start doing anything different.

When I say base, I mean building up your mileage just by going out and running with minimal or no workouts that cause a lot of strain on the body.  For beginning runners and those who haven’t run in a while building a base is crucial for injury prevention.  For those more seasoned or that are currently running, it is also crucial for muscle recovery and rebuilding to insert base building into training.

So, what do you do this next week so that you stay motivated to run? 

If you are just starting out after a long break or just getting into it, don’t run every day and be a little easy on yourself so you want to come back and run.  You can be hard on yourself later.  If you are running use this month rebuild and reinvigorate yourself.  Below I have a schedule set up for you.  This is a similar schedule that I would give my athletes the first week of summer.  My rising freshmen who had never run a day in their life would be included in this too.


Everyone starts out at different mileage points but this is an average – just tailor it to your mileage abilities using the proportions set out.  This past month I started with a 1.5 mile run as my lowest run (with a stroller), but if you can only run a mile without stopping then start there.  If you can run 3 miles without stopping start there. 

Make it so you can do this!  Then push yourself as you ease into it.

So of course this is a basic guide (and that is all) but you can make of it what you want.  Beginner runners – I promise this is easing into it.  Seasoned runners – you know what you are doing and for those of you half marathoners and marathoners I applaud you – I could never do it.  Hopefully you will find the remainder of these posts motivating every morning!

Week 1 

Beginning Runners – 3 Days at 1.5 miles and 1 or 2 days at 1 mile, 2-3 days off.

Seasoned Runners – 1 long run, 2 medium runs, 2 shorter runs, 2 days off.

Day 1:  Introduction
Day 2:  Start Small, Build Slow
Day 3:  It Doesn’t Have To Be Boring
Day 4:  Stitches
Day 5:  Keep a Diary

Also, if you want more motivation, you might want to follow my Pin Board ‘Run’!