Getting Running Motivation – when you are Totally Unfit

I could not believe I was running 10k in just over an hour. Before you skip this post thinking that you could never do this then let me tell you that’s how I felt too. In fact I protested shortly before this that I could never even run 5k. This time last year I could not jog a couple of yards up the road without being completely and utterly out of breath!

running shoes in autumn leaves

Starting to move when you are unfit

Have you seen those pictures where they say it doesn’t matter how slow you are going you are still lapping those on the couch? Well that was me.

I have to say my husband was hugely supportive and we started by going for walks around the neighbourhood. These weren’t particular fast but it got us into a habit of just getting out there and having regular exercise. It also gave us a chance to talk – in private.

This slowly turned into a bit of jogging and more walking. OMG did my legs itch! I had to keep stopping to scratch them, and scratch them. Again I just thought that I can’t do it!

I am not really sure what changed but one day my attitude did. All you need to start moving whilst unfit is to say, “I can do this!” I found it easy if I had a reason to go out. I added it to my routine. Regularly popping to the market to get bananas (every Wednesday) for example.

Setting Runing Goals, Targets and Motivators

I think it helps to have a goal or target. Initially I needed to be able to do 5K for Pretty Muddy. I started by regularly walking 5K and then trying to do it quicker. Then I wanted to beat that time so started to run bits of it. I ended up walking Pretty Muddy and it was more of a supportive atmosphere than a quick race – but I do think it made me want to get better at it. To have the belief that I could possibly run 5K – which was something I didn’t believe at all beforehand.

The Running Goals

Then I wanted to run a whole 5K in under 30 minutes. Then without stopping and finally I wanted to do 10k. With my next goal being 10K in under an hour.

I figured that I had just under 3 years until my 40th birthday. That was a very reasonable amount of time to train for a Marathon. What a goal for my 40th. So far away it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge (*gulp*). Breaking it up into more manageable parts – I need to run a 5K race, then a 10K, then a half marathon first. But I feel so enthusiastic now I may skip straight onto the 10K (but we will see they can be pretty hilly lol).

I also set myself some treats to help reach these goals – even if it is just new music. I do like to stop and taking pictures of things of beauty in nature – and watch the changing seasons. Maybe find something that motivates you to get out there – other than just getting fit/losing weight.

I found it hard in the beginning to start moving. I am already in my body mass index and feel that people think I do not need to exercise – but it isn’t about my size, it is about my health. Before I couldn’t keep up with my children on the school run (not without my Adult Microscooter)  – but now I can!

Being able to play and keep up with my children, without losing my breath, is an amazing incentive to keep going. And to be honest my belly isn’t a pretty sight and those leggings are pretty tight. I needed to push past not caring what I looked liked to other people. In fact what I look like is someone trying their best to take care of myself.

Look at what is holding back your Running

Eventually I started looking at things that were slowing me down. The wires on my headphones so I got wireless ones. The straps of my bra annoying me so I got a sports bra. Eventually I got running gear. This makes me feel the part. Plus I feel that I should be running in it – and look a wally if I am not. A good app on my phone I feel helped, and good music. I have since got an arm strap that holds my phone too.

I then looked on YouTube for breathing techniques and stretches. The big thing though is time – making time to do it. I try to go straight after the school run so that I don’t come home and find things that need doing before I can go out.

What Next to Improve my Running

Now I need to keep it up. When it got cold it was hard. I get hot really easily and so I can’t really layer up as I sweat so much when running. I need to check that my posture is right and listen to my body. Last time I ran my ankles really hurt – I need to find out if that’s because I pushed too hard too soon, or if I am not standing right.

Don’t think you always have to run, or push yourself more. I really hurt my foot (again) after a break – trying to go straight back into 10K. I stopped at 9k and have walked since. It is a balance between knowing when to push yourself and when to stop. I need to keep pushing forwards – even if slowly; keep telling myself that I can do it. Things that make it easier are my husband telling me that he sees a difference in me already (well more so when I stopped for a while lol). I did take the before pictures too (for myself).

Do you have any tips and/or advice for me?

Other Posts of Interest:

Pretty Muddy Training Support 

Pretty Muddy 5K

Improving Lifestyle in late 30s

Self Improvement

Help for the aging lady

41 thoughts on “Getting Running Motivation – when you are Totally Unfit”

  1. Well done to you hun, I would love to be able to run you ave inspired me to start going for that first walk and build up from there.
    Have you had a gait test done hun this looks at your feet when running, they also help you choose the right trainers and make individual insoles to support your feet where needed when running. Its meant to improve your running. Oliver had it done a while back.

    • Glad I have inspired you. Honestly I was awful. Best of luck with it.
      I had Profeet trainers before with custom made insoles but this time I am trying Vivobarefeet ones – which are the closest thing to running barefoot. It helps with posture etc. It really was just trying to go far/fast too soon after a break.

  2. Well done on reaching your 10k goal! It is a massive achievement and I also agree with your thoughts in the ‘what’s holding you back?’ paragraph. Great work!

  3. Great post. Running is something I would actually like to start and reading this has shown that even being unfit you can do it! Good luck and well done!!

  4. Well done for running! I’ve hated running for years and started on the treadmill last year.. i set up a really good running playlist on my phone and did interval running to stat with.. warm up 2 mins.. run for 5, fast walk for 2, run for 6 extra… its has helped me loads now i can run for at least 30mins!
    Good luck 🙂

  5. Wow well done, I miss being able to run, I have some nasty health issues, but I am hoping I can fight through the pain and find a way, great post, thanks xxx

  6. Well done you! That is fantastic!
    I have been thinking about buying a treadmill….I don’t feel confident to run outdoors. lol I do need to get fitter x

  7. What an inspiration! I can’t run for the life of me, i’m so until (and pregnant!) When baby is here I’d love to get into running/exercise. I’ve never been a fan of exercise but this baby weight will need to go! xx

  8. Very well done to you! 10k is a great distance to run. It’s definitely learning to run the first mile or two which is the hardest bit. Once you’ve conquered that it’s pretty easy increase the mileage. As long as you can stay free from injury, going from 10k to half marathon will be relatively easy.
    Anyone who thinks someone shouldn’t run because they’re not fat is stupid! Running can be about losing weight, but there are so many more reasons for doing it – general health, fitness, happiness and wellbeing are all very good reasons for running!

  9. Wow WTG!!!
    I can relate to this! Last year I started jogging (And gave up because of the school holidays) and it was SO hard! I did it though and I lost so much weight. And gained it all back *sigh* I have recently started working out daily and I am struggling but I KNOW I can do it and I know I can get fit because I’ve done it before. Setting goals really helps me, too. Your post has also inspired me, thanks! 🙂

  10. What an inspiration Joy. I need to do something about both my weight and fitness level. I am plucking up the courage to go to slimming world his wednesday and then maybe when I am a little smaller I get take inspiration from you and start walking then running

  11. Well done to you – you are doing so well! I admire you – I have tried and failed miserably. I have weak ankles so may try power walking. Kaz x

  12. Your doing amazing. Keep going, the runs sound really hard work. I remember doing an assault course and getting covered in mud as a teen and I loved it. Your picture brought back some memories! Angela

  13. Good going Joy, big well done to you. I tried to do the couch to 5K last year and sadly at my weight running is not practical but I started at a fit club tonight and really enjoyed it. Mich x

  14. I started running last year but gave up after about three runs. I could barely breathe and was doing only a very short distance. I need to start again.

  15. Well done you!

    I’m doing Slimming World at the moment and as soon as I get my weight down a little bit then I want to start running.

    I hope I’ll be back for advice soon x x

  16. Well done to you. I think it’s important to find something that suits you and stick to it whilst it still does. I love my yoga and walking.

  17. Well done, you. I love that photo from the Pretty Muddy run – looks like a lot of fun. I did the couch to 5K fitness app a few years ago and couldn’t believe I could do 5k at the end of it but your body does adjust very quickly. My problem is that I find running quite boring and therefore can only think about how tired I’m feeling. These days I tend to do exercises DVDs at home. Part of me does miss running though, when it was good it was REALLY good. 🙂

  18. Well done to you. This is amazing and an inspiration. I’m gonna start to get into running. I’m away in australia for a but so the heat is rather off putting. I can’t run at all and have always hated it but I’ll give it a go x

  19. You have done amazing well. I really need to get fit but running isn’t for me as I have arthritis and end up in agony. I really must start swimming though as that isn’t weight bearing and helps my joints

  20. That is really brilliant! I love running and really need to get back into it regularly. I’ve never done 10K and it seems like a huge distance to me so I think I should work towards that!! Keep it up x

  21. Wow, well done, Joy, amazing progress and inspiration! I have put weight on since losing Georgie and I do struggle with regular exercise but my dream is to be able to run and be fit one day. Maybe set the target for my 40st, as you have had1xx

  22. What an achievement, really well done. I’d like to make myself exercise more, and you’ve inspired me with this post. Like you, I don’t need to lose weight, but I definitely should be fitter.

  23. This is a great post. Well done. I would really like to run and hopefully can motivate myself to go running once I have Baby x

  24. This is such an inspiring post. Well done. It sounds like you have built up gradually and that is the best way with any kind of exercise but especially running. And this goals you have set yourself are brilliant. I would love to do a marathon. I’ll be 40 in three years too. Maybe I should make it my goal as well. You have inspired me. Hugs Lucy xxxx PS. I also agree about having running gear making you move faster. I always felt such a plonker in my bright running top and running tights if I was only walking or jogging really slowly. No one wants to see that!

  25. You’re doing amazingly Joy! As you know I’m back funding the streets two this year and as you say the motivation to get out there can often be the biggest barrier, but once I’m actually doing it I’m loving it! It’s not taken me long to get back to 5km distance, but now I need to work up to 10km. I can walk it, but need to try to increase my running distance a bit more each time. The furthest I’ve done so far this year is 5.6km, but I’m hoping to smash the 6km mark this weekend if I can.

  26. This is really inspiring. I NEED to lose weight this year every year I feel like it’s creeping up and part of that is not exercising at all I definitely need to get out there

  27. Well done! I am trying to build up on the treadmill at the moment, to try and get my fitness up a little before I run outside again as it really is a lot harder outside, and since I insisted I NEEDED the treadmill in our spare room, I better actually use it.

    I would love to be able to run 5k though, you’re an inspiration.

    Stevie x

  28. Love to see someone starting from scratch. I managed a pretty muddy 5k this year with no training. Finding the time is my biggest issue. What music or apps do you use?
    Emma x

    • Time is hard, I struggle and I work for myself and the kids are at school all day and I still find it hard. Music is something I need to sort – I listen whatever is on my iPhone – next door runs and said I need to get good running music. Just using map your run. How about you?

  29. You are awesome! I love that you are so determined and it’s brilliant that you’ve got your 5k down to half an hour and your 10k down to an hour. As long as you can stay injury-free, building up to a half marathon from 10k shouldn’t be too hard at all. I think you will inspire a lot of people with this post! x


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