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You should never start jogging/running by just all-out running. There's a program here at a place called The Running Room, and you start with one minute running, two minutes walking. Gradually you increase the number of minutes running. That's why you are getting a stitch and feeling like you're having a heart attack.

http://doctormama.blogspot.ca/ is a great resource for learning how to run.

What causes a stitch? How do I prevent it? - Generally, it's a breathing problem. Try forcefully exhaling at the same time as one of your feet hits the ground. Once you're more fit, you'll stop getting them. I haven't had one for years.
Whats the best sports bra to use? - I like the Champion 1050, but everyone has their preference. The Enell bras will keep anything from moving, ever, but they're pretty spendy.
What shoes should I get? - You need to go to a store that specializes in running shoes and have them look at you run. Everyone has a different gait, so the right ones for me, wouldn't be the right ones for you.
I would love to run with a friend, but I am shy in case I really do suck and then I hold them back? - Most people don't mind being held back, it's worth it for the company. Maybe wait til you can run a full 5k without stopping and then ask?
When is the best time to run? Morning? Evening? - I prefer mornings, but lots of people prefer evenings. Whatever time you're motivated to go is best.
How do I make sure I enjoy running? - Don't kill yourself on every run. Sometimes, go slow, take it easy, enjoy your surroundings. Eventually, it grows on you.
Is running at the gym the same as running outside? - I can't run on a treadmill. Too ADHD. Boring. Makes me batty. Plus, no wind or hills in there. I haven't run at the gym in over a year.
How do I improve? How do I go from running non stop for 3 minutes to 5 minutes to 10 minutes? Will I ever improve? - Look up Couch to 5k online. That's how I started. Or run from one mailbox to the next, then walk to the next, run again, repeat. Eventually run 2 mailboxes, walk 1. 3 mailboxes, etc. Every week add a little more running and a little less walking. You'll get there. For now, maybe run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute, and repeat that 5 times. Then next week do 5 minutes running 2 minutes walking 5 times. Or whatever.
Why is it so hard for me? Or rather, why does it look so effortless for everyone else? It is not like I am unfit or not exercising at all. - They've been doing it for longer. Running is hard. :)
What is a running club about? Does it help? Running clubs remind me of skinny athletes who can run for 3 hours without breaking a sweat. How intimidating. - I'm in a running club, and I'm sure they are all different, but you kinda have to be able to run to be able to keep up with the people in mine.
Do I even need to run? I am doing a really brisk walk anyway - how much better (calories / fitness) is running compared to walking? - I think it's about the same calories per mile, running is just over way faster? I dunno. I took up running because it was the most efficient exercise, and I'm lazy and impatient.
What I would really like to do is be able to run for 30 minutes non stop. It seems so far away at the moment. - You can get there in a few weeks, it will go by fast.

Fly me to SA, and I'll coach you. I coach Couch to 5k clinics all year round. ;)

I used the Couch-to-5K running program. You start out with very short runs (1 minute) followed by walking (1.5 minutes) repeated 8 times, running 3x/week, building to longer runs for nine weeks. By the 8th one-minute run the first day I thought for sure I would die. On the second day, my muscles were so sore I couldn't walk properly after my run. However, at the end of nine weeks, I ran my first 5K. Ran the whole thing! Without stopping to walk! And I'm a 30lbs-overweight 48-year old.

I also recommend getting fitted for good shoes by someone who knows what they're talking about. And sign-up for a 5K race about 9-10 weeks after you start. It will give you a goal.

All the best!

Well, what do you know!? It's a sign!

I've been researching this as well.

Now here's the theory:

One thing I can tell you is this: Do not do too much too fast! Ease into it or you will break you knees and your heart in one go. Like I did. :(

Will let you know when I figure out the rest.
(Taken up squash after injuring my knees - which seems a bit odd...anyhow...moving on...)

I'm feeling the itch again...

I am by no means an expert but I started running in March of this year and am running 5km three times a week. Personally I wear the Shock Absorber running bra. Its amazing and nothing moves at all. Best way to find what works for you is to jump up and down in front of a mirror whilst trying them on. If you can see movement, forget it! I was told not to run early in the morning because your body is cold and sleepy. If you run afternoon / evening then your body has been using its muscles and is all loosened up and ready to run. As for trainers, get your running gait analysed at a proper running shop and buy the best you can afford. You can download the couch to 5km app which will help you build up distance and time gradually. Good Luck. xx

Go to a running store and let them watch the way you walk and run and they'll tell you which shoes to get. The right shoes for your stride make a huge difference.

Then do the Couch to 5K program (scroll down for the actual schedule: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml. In 9 weeks it takes you from being able to run 60 seconds at a time to running a 5K, in three running sessions per week. I did it with my then-9-year-old last summer and we both loved it. After we ran our 5K I thought I'd stop but now I'm an actual runner, and am plotting when I can get out and run today because I get itchy when I can't run now.

You'll figure out when your best time is. I, personally, like running outside or on an indoor track more than on a treadmill, but others love the treadmill. In about two months you'll have your own firm opinions about it, too. ;-)

Just some random comments
-I'm NOTARUNNER and am doing a couch to 5k program (app on my iphone) that I am really enjoying
-I prefer running outside, just because I despise gyms and treadmills.
-I like to run either first thing in the morning or in the early evening, just because it is hot and humid here. The morning runs are easier since I have more energy then. I also run solo so I can keep my own schedule.
-I live and die by my music. I use Spotify and found a good running track that I really enjoy and it keeps me moving (crucial on the hills). Def. pick something with a fast tempo or it will slow you down

I have been reading for years but (almost?) never comment because well ... it's pretty busy around here. But I love to run and so I had to. I took it up (for real - not the forced jogs of High School sports) after having my first kiddo and I've never looked back. My tips:

• run with girlfriends - great time to complain about your hubby, kids, job, etc., cheaper than therapy
• I love my treadmill and have it pointed directly at my tivo ... bluetooth transmitter + BT headphones make this great
• good shoes, good bra ... I love my Brooks and my Moving Comfort Fiona bra (though it's all very personal for both shoes and boobs)
• try out trails ... they are a bit more interesting than streets IMHO
• find some good running blogs ... I love AnotherMotherRunner.com and racingwithbabes.blogspot.com but there are 100s more where those came from!
• don't neglect cross training - I have no actually PROOF of this, just anecdotal evidence, but it seems like those who cross-train suffer fewer injuries

Good luck! Hope it's a hit with you.

I'm so with you on your logic. For heaven's sake, surely I can just drink gin and tonic, eat chocolate and stay the goddess forever? Quad bloody non.

So, dodgy knees (2 operations...), dodgy back (twin pregnancy, two car crashes), f/t job, young children, tall, boobs and basically couldn't be bothered.

Until I put 'run a marathon just to proof I can do it' on my list. 3 minutes became 4, became 5, became 3 hours and I finished the thing in one go. Not in 3 hours I hasten to add. Lost toenails, lost weight, lost the will to live at times. But gained a smug grin whenever I say - casually of course - [SMUG GRIN] "Oh yes, didn't you know? I've completed the marathon just to show you lazy buggers that if I can do it you really have no excuse." [/SMUG GRIN]

So, just put the bloody shoes on and take the first minute by its horns. The rest will follow.

For the record, back to gin and tonic and embracing my curves. We wouldn't want too much smugness surely?

Definitely do Couch to 5K - I started that way, could not run at all, and now I run several 5K's a year, and I have fun! You can do it! Just start slow so you don't get discouraged.

No advice, but I've been thinking the same thing too. I never liked running before, but I've been thinking it could be a lot of fun lately. Let us know which tips you go with and how they go.

Ok, I am no expert and am completely self-taught, and still run almost exclusively alone... But I started in Oct 2005, and have run over 10 000km and already over 900kms this year, so I think I know a thing or 2. :)

Firstly shoes. I started with bad cheap shoes *cough*Nike*cough*, and got ITB quite quickly which sucked. As soon as a bought a pair of decent shoes I was fine and have had no issues sinse. I wear Asics Cumulus. They are awesome. I highly recommend them. Just putting them on makes me feel happy. They are the most expensive shoes I've ever bought by far (retail for R1400!), but a decent shoe saves you in physio bills later! There's a factory shop in Woodstock where you can get them for half-price. (Let me know if you wanna know where).

Then I was the least likely person pn the planet to start running. I was never ever ever sporty. But I got an iPod put some viney music on it and just couldn't help myself. That how I started. Just walk, trot, walking from my house. When the music took me I would run. Play it loud enough so you can't hear yourself wheezing. :) Slowly but surely you are able to go further and further. For me it kind of clicked when I realised that you don't propel yourself forward in a sprinting motion but rather relax back into it and lope along.

I have never joined a club, because for me it's my own time and head space, some people like and need the competition, commitment and social aspects of a club. I socialise at races, but my regular runs are just for me.

7 years later it still sometimes feels hard when I start out, but after a few kms it's awesome. I run between 25-45kms per week and I love it. Between running and yoga I keep semi-sane. Without it I start getting cranky.

Good luck and ask if you have any questions.

have done

Best advice I ever received was to at first run as if you were an arthritic sloth. Until you build muscles and strengthen your bones and build lungs you run almost as slowly as you walk. As you do it consistently, the speed and distance will build. (I also had bad side stitches.)I was able to go off anti-depressants after six months of running.

I read your questions and thought--Dr. Momma! Amy's comment above has the link. She has lots of great information. I know people like the couch to 5 k thing too but she's got a no muss no fuss approach that makes it feel completely doable.

Find a good orthopedist first. The human body is not meant to run long distances every day. It's made to endure brief sprints to catch an occasional live meal or escape becoming one.

Ask anyone who has been running for more than a few years how many injuries/surgeries, etc they've had and then learn to walk for fitness.


Yay come to the other side!!

After Tiago begged me to kick the social smoking thing I decided to replace it with something cause I'd hate to do my heritage justice and have the figure which is as wide as it is tall..

Started running in Dec 2011 and by that I mean walking 2 blocks and running 4 paces.. I thought I would die. Gradually I replaced the walking bits with running bits which took about 6 weeks, then I increased the 4 kays to 5 kays to whatever I do now. I set myself a target of a race so that I could not chicken out. In March I did my first half marathon, who the f... would of thought that was possible.

Tips that worked for me:
Acknowledge that the first 2 kays are always shitty and hard until your breathing settles.
Wear Asics running shoes and climate cool fabric running tops.
Visit myrunnersworld.co.za for excellent articles and read their blog.
I ordered the book called The Runner's Diet - very misleading title, its about all things running and helps you plan your first 3 kays to a full marathon.
Run a hangover away - don't miss out on a run cause you have babelas!
Run to kick ass music - tiny ipods work really well.
Get a running watch eventually, you'll want to know how fast you ran the last kay.
Enter races!
As for stitches, as soon as you get one - breathe in deep and breath out with pursed (as if you blowing a candle) x 5. You'll look like a dork but it works.

Prepare to get hooked! Never thought it would happen but I am, in my mind I think I kick Zola's butt.. ha ha ha! Come on, lets run the Rome marathon together, lovely wine and pasta to reward ourselves?!

Have fun!!

Check out the sidebar on Doctor Mama's site.

like many others told you already: couch to 5k! started in november and now I run 40 to 50minutes twice a week. would be nice (even though it is still f… tiring!) but I have one year old twins. and as you know… don't need to tell you more. very important: DON'T RUN TOO FAST. you still can run faster, but run (even if you have the impression that it is almost walking) in a way that you feel you could go on for a bit. If you feel like your breaking down any minute, you are clearly TO FAST.
for the stitches: breathe out. for example 2 steps of breathing in, one step of pause, 2 steps of breathing out. later it will go automatically.
best luck and "fun" (the fun comes when it is over. or mabye it is more proudness…?)

These are my 3 tips.

1. Buy the best pair of shoes you can afford and get them fitted by an expert.
2. Find a time that suits you. Morning or evening, doesn't matter but it needs to fit in with your family.
3. Don't think you should be running just because you went out for a run. If you need to walk then walk. Which is why the Couch to 5K is good (C25K). Or any beginners plan. I just found it too slow for me. I needed to walk, just not that much. The other idea is a Heart Rate Monitor. If your HR goes above a certain level then WALK. It is like somebody telling you to walk, so the guilt of not running is gone.

For me I like races. Not to race but it gets me out the door and I try and do one almost every weekend. Even if I come last. I just don't have motivation to go out and run on a Saturday otherwise. But if I have paid the entry fee then I have to go... I just consider it one of my training runs.

When I started I never thought I would EVER go further than 10km..... EVER. But well, that was a few years and quite a few KM's ago.

Tip #1: Get fit for shoes (have a professional examine (on a treadmill) your stride, pronation, etc)
#2: start slow and be easy on yourself. Start slow (i.e. 2 min walk/1 min run) and increase running as you progress.
#3: I 2nd others suggestion of finding a race so you have a goal. A 5K is perfect.

Good luck!

Sorry - the comment above apparently I haven't had enough coffee (or wine!) and repeated myself with the 'start slow'

Definitely look at Doctor Mama's blog - she has all the answers for beginning runners. Slower than an arthritic slug seems to be the key and every other day.

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