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    Here's Exactly How I Trained Myself To Start Running

    If I can do it, so can you.

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    Hey, I'm Hannah, and this past March I picked up running as a new hobby. Before then, I hadn't gone for a run since I was a high school athlete....which was about 10 years ago.

    A screenshot of my running history on the Nike Run App.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    To be honest, I'm not sure what spurred me to start running. The coronavirus pandemic was just beginning, the weather was getting warm enough to spend time outside, and there wasn't much to do besides for be outdoors in NYC.

    I've always been a pretty big walker, and especially living in New York City, it's not uncommon for me to walk 6 or 7 miles per day. But in terms of running, I was a blank slate. That means if I could pick up the hobby, anyone can.

    A selfie after my first solo "half-marathon."
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    So if you're someone who doesn't think you can start running or you don't know where to begin, here are some tips, tricks, and products that helped me get started.

    1. Figure out the time of day when you feel most active.

    The Brooklyn Bridge in the morning, completely empty of pedestrians.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    For me, the time of day I decided to go for a run seriously impacted the way I felt while exercising. I'm a morning person, and I wake up with a big jolt of energy so I realized that I love jumping straight out of bed and going for a run. When I tried running in the afternoon or mid-day I felt more lethargic and less excited about exercising. So find the perfect time of day that works for you and stick with it.

    2. Invest in a good pair of sneakers designed specifically for running.

    A woman running in leggings and sneakers on pavement.
    @brooksrunning / Via

    You don't have to spend a fortune on sneakers, but you should get yourself a supportive pair of running shoes. The first few times I ran, I just threw on my old Nikes that I wear occasionally to walk in, which had been sitting in my closet for about a year. After a few runs, I knew I had to invest in a more solid sneaker. A ton of my friends who are active runners suggested I buy a pair of Brooks running sneakers, and they didn't disappoint. I noticed a world of difference almost immediately. I felt like I was running on air, my feet could breathe easily, and I felt no pain or tension in my legs.

    Get a pair from Zappos for $99.95 (available in 13 colors and in sizes 7-15).

    3. Find or make a great pump-up playlist that makes you want to work out.

    I found that personally, nothing instantly changes my mood and makes me want to get up and move like a really good playlist. One of my favorite aspects of running is that I get a little time to myself to listen to music, clear my head, and just take in what's around me. Find the songs or a pre-made playlist that gets you fired up and let the music fuel you as you run.

    4. Buy a comfortable and good quality armband that holds your phone and protects it while you run.

    Someone's arm with an iPhone in the armband case.
    Amazon / Via

    I like to run with my phone not only to listen to music, but also to measure my running time and distance. I bought this Trianium armband because it seemed affordable and good quality, and in fact, the strap has held up perfectly after months of running. It keeps my phone in place and it doesn't slip on my arm. It's also water-resistant, which is a big plus for me because I quickly realized I really enjoy running in light rain.

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    5. And download the Nike Run Club app on your phone which offers guided runs, allows you to set running goals, and keeps track of your progress, distance, and and time.

    Hannah LoewentheilBuzzFeed, Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    Ever since a friend told me about this free Nike app, I've been hooked. It was especially useful when I was getting started because I could choose from one of the guided runs (for example, 20-minute run) or I could set my own goal based on distance or time. I love that the app stores the information from all your previous runs so you can keep track of your progress. It also keeps track of your achievements to keep you motivated.

    Get it from the Apple Store for free.

    6. Get yourself a pair of stretchy Zella leggings that keep you comfortable and flexible while you're moving and have a deep pocket for easy storage of your phone, keys, or credit card.

    A woman wearing Zella leggings with a phone in the side pocket.
    Nordstrom / Via

    I have a bit of an obsession with leggings, and if you look in my closet you'll find far too many pairs. And while I love my Lulu Lemons, Alo Yoga, and Beyond Yoga leggings, these far more affordable Zellas are my favorite for running in particular. I love how the material is very stretchy but it doesn't feel at all flimsy, and it really allows your body to move. Unlike some leggings, they don't stretch out much as you wear them and they also don't shrink much after each wash. The side pocket is an added bonus because I can carry my apartment key and credit card with me while I run without even noticing.

    Get a pair from Nordstrom for $55 (available in two colors and in sizes XXS-XXL).

    7. And a pair of breezy, lightweight Athleta running shorts that are so comfortable, you'll want to live in them.

    A woman wearing black Athleta running shorts and running sneakers.
    Athleta / Via

    When it's too hot to wear leggings, these Athleta running shorts are my go-to. They feel silky soft, they're breathable and so lightweight so you almost feel like you're not wearing shorts at all. They aren't too short like many running shorts, so they're still flattering and I don't feel uncomfortable wearing them to lounge around or run errands around the city.

    Get a pair from Athleta for $59 (available in three colors and in sizes XXS-XL).

    8. Stock up on some extra supportive Under Armour sports bras that hold your boobs in place, keeping you comfortable and alleviating any back pain.

    AMazon / Via, Amazon / Via

    Running with boobs can be a struggle that only a really good sports bra can alleviate. I love this Under Armour bra because it provides full coverage, solid support, and it's very comfortable. I personally don't like wearing padded sports bras, so this one is perfect for me. It's also more affordable than most other sports bras I've tried in the past, so I can buy a few and rotate them without having to worry about constantly doing the laundry.

    Get it from Amazon for $24.99+ (available in 13 colors in sizes XS-XL).

    9. Give your body some much-needed fuel before a run, like a Luna bar that will fill you up without making you cramp up when you're on the go.

    Someone holding a salted caramel luna bar in hand.
    @lunabar / Via

    Everyone is different, but I personally don't like eating a full meal before running. I do like having a little something to fuel me though, and Luna bars are one of my go-tos. Unlike many other nutrition bars that taste like protein powder or cardboard, the Luna bars are really flavorful and I genuinely enjoy them. I love buying a variety pack of different flavors like peanut butter, blueberry, and lemon so I can mix them up from day to day. They provide me with the perfect energy jolt without weighing me down while I exercise.

    Get a 12-bar variety pack from Amazon for $13.49.

    10. Rest up in between runs, stretch, and indulge in an Epsom salt bath when you're feeling sore.

    A bag of lavender-scented epsom salts.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    I can't remember ever feeling as sore as I did after my first run in a decade. When I got out of bed the next morning, I felt like I couldn't walk. So I limped over to CVS, bought myself a bag of Epsom salt, and soaked in a warm Epsom salt bath for about an hour. In addition to stretching after every run and elevating my legs, I've continued to take Epsom salt baths time and time again after runs, even when I don't feel sore. Epsom salts are known to soothe your muscles and relieve aches and pains, and I'm no scientist, but I can tell you it works for me.

    Get a 3-pound bag of lavender-scented Epsom salts from Amazon for $4.66.

    11. Create a schedule for yourself and stick to it.

    A screenshot from the Nike Run Club app, displaying 13.1 miles ran.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    Once I started running and loved the way it made me feel, I wanted to challenge myself. I set a goal to run my own half marathon, and I trained myself week by week to run a little bit further until I felt ready to take on the 13.1 miles. There are lots of training schedules you can find online, or you can do what feels right for you. I set a personal goal to run three days per week, starting off at 3 miles per run and working my way up.

    And with that, you can actually train yourself to start running. For me, it's been a huge stress-reliever during these unpredictable COVID times, a great way to take advantage of the outdoors, and it's made me feel much stronger and confident. Happy running!

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