Eight Tips to Jumpstart a Running Program- By Michelle Zerzanek

Posted on June 26, 2013 | Posted under Fitness, Gear, Giveaway, Running, Tips, Training | 17 Comments

By: Maria Hennessey

Getting started with a new running program is often filled with mixed emotions: feelings of excitement and motivation are mixed in with nervousness and uncertainty. The trick to staying focused & on track is simple: make your training experience rewarding and fun. Whether you’re a seasoned runner, weekend warrior, or a total newbie, here are eight easy ways to jumpstart a new running regimen:

  1. Spice up your training wardrobe.You don’t have to spend a ton of money to add some pizzazz to your running gear. Find a few items that make you feel cute, fast, and strong. You’re more likely to put the workout gear on if it makes you feel good. I like to add neon colors wherever I can, because neon makes me feel like a fast and serious athlete.
  2. Sign up for the race. The first step to completing any race, be it a local 5k or destination marathon, is to sign up for one! Don’t procrastinate. Once you have spent your hard-earned money on a registration fee, you are much more likely to see your training through to the end. For extra motivation, make sure you tell others you’ve signed up.
  3. Start slowly. Many runners feel defeated or become injured if they try to do too much too soon. You should start your training slowly and build up gradually. The rule of thumb is to increase your mileage by 10% every week. Listen to your body to decide when you can push a little harder or when you should pull back.
  4. Keep track of your training. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a coach, no one is going to keep you accountable for your own training. Whether you use a new app or go old-school with a notebook & pen, the goal is the same: record your workouts! I like to include little notes of encouragement or things I would like to improve. At the end of your training, you can look back at Day One and say, “Wow – I have come so far!”
  5. Find a workout buddy. Working out alone is fine, but running with a partner will help to keep you motivated. You are less likely to skip a workout if you have plans with a partner or running group. It is also awesome to share your enthusiasm and goals with like-minded people.
  6. Add variety to your workouts. Too many people think that training for a race just means running countless miles. While it is important to build a strong mileage base, you should also incorporate other physical activities. Try to build strength and speed workouts into each week. Don’t forget your other favorite physical activities count toward your overall fitness level. Zumba on the beach? Yes! Tennis doubles? You bet!
  7. Fuel your body properly. When starting a running training program, remember to give your body the proper fuels. You don’t have to go on a strict, no-fun diet, but you do want to give your body the things it needs to help you achieve your goal. Food is energy! Try to incorporate healthy whole grains, lean proteins and all the fruits and veggies you want. The last thing you want to do is undo all of your hard work with a yucky diet.
  8. Reward yourself for achieving your goals. Being healthy is a huge incentive for getting active, but try to think of other ways to reward yourself for your hard work. I like to set weekly goals with small weekly rewards. Try to avoid making food your reward; instead, treat yourself to an experience. Go see a movie. Take a day hiking trip. My personal reward is to pay myself fifty cents for every mile I ran that week. I set up a “Runner’s Savings Account” and at the end of the year, I have a big reward reflecting all of my effort.

    So ladies, just remember to stay focused, work hard, and have some fun with your training! If you have any tips of your own we would love to hear about them in the comments section below! Plus, you'll be entered to WIN a headband by commenting below!

Michelle Zerzanek is a runner. Sufferer of blisters. Lover of beer and dogs. Vegetarian. Boston 2013 finisher and looking forward to Boston 2014! Follow Michelle on Twitter AND check out her blog, Lace and Race!

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I read this story to my 10 year old daughter and her reply was priceless: that was a good thing mom, Bani Bands is paying it forward now it;s someone else’s turn. I was thinking of making those duct tape flower pens and sell them for good $ and then give the $ to our soccer treasurer to help pay for girls who can’t afford it.Now when someone sees what i did they will do something nice :-)

Posted by Susan Norris on July 23, 2013

I think its great that all of you are using some of these ideas already! As for a training plan for the treadmill, you could try something like this: http://www.livestrong.com/article/179456-a-treadmill-running-program-for-beginners/ although, nothing beats road and trail running. It’s really nothing like treadmill running at all, so don’t be afraid to get outside once in a while! You’ll be amazed by the difference. No matter where you’re running, remember to be patient and progress slowly. Have fun!

Posted by Michelle on July 14, 2013

My running buddy keeps me motivated!

Posted by Jaime on July 11, 2013

Running with someone makes me accountable and motivated. I can’t crawl back in bed when someone is expecting me to show up:)

Posted by Karen Kessler on July 11, 2013

Great tips and info. Bani Bands definitely spice up your workout wardrobe!

Posted by Kelly on July 11, 2013

Love the neon colors when running! After almost being hit by a car I’m all about neons & reflective gear!

Posted by Jolie on July 11, 2013

The first tip is my favorite. I always wear neon running socks and I am convinced it makes me a faster runner. :)

Posted by Lia Moran on July 11, 2013

Great tips!! I have started running and these will help me in my progress :)

Posted by Magdalena V on July 11, 2013

Great post! I do a bunch of these: sign up for a 5k with friends, get cute new workout clothes, start a running program (couch to 5k), and cross train. The best one is the friends though. I don’t like to run but I do it anyway. I try to take my dog with me – I know he likes to be out with me. And I don’t beat myself up over not going as fast/far as I want. My friends also tempt me to run races with promises of brunch and mimosas at the end! :)

Posted by Michelle on July 11, 2013

Thanks for all the tips Michelle. Love your blog! #2 is spot on! If I sign up in advance, I’m more prone to follow through.

Posted by Jeanie on July 11, 2013

Thanks for the great tips. I’ve been “tipping” myself for working out, and use that money when I go on vacation to get myself something nice, like new clothes :)

Posted by Jamie on July 11, 2013

I have tried to run countless times, but always seem to quit. something always stops my workout and I dont know why. I am going to try again! Right after softball season.

Posted by janice on July 11, 2013

I want to start a running program but not even sure where to begin! What are some good running programs for on a treadmill?

Posted by Rachel on July 11, 2013

I think switching it up when it comes to workouts makes running easier. Strength training, yoga, etc. really help in getting your body ready for a run! Thanks for all the tips!

Posted by Chelsea H. on July 11, 2013

In response to #6…very important to cross train & strength train. Learning this the hard way! I’ve always worked out in the gym, but mainly focused on arms, but now that I’m suffering ith ITBS I’m realizing how important it is to strengthen he hips, glutes, & quads.

Posted by Jennifer on July 10, 2013

Keeping track of workouts has been a lot of fun. You can see objective progress, and it’s also helpful for figuring out what’s causing injuries, what’s working for training, and what isn’t. Great recommendation.

Posted by Robyn @ thesethingshappentootherpeople.blogspot.com on July 10, 2013

Love this blog, she does great gear reviews! Thanks for the running tips!

Posted by Julia on July 08, 2013

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