When I was in sixth grade, I joined my school's cross country team.  To this day, I have no idea why.  I was short, overweight, and had the vision of a bat.  My running accomplishments were less than stellar.  I think my only achievement that year was having our top runner lap me...twice.

During practice, Coach Clancy would repeat a mantra that I thought was meaningless until I became a marathon runner.  It's an old one, but it's tried and true.

Run for fun and personal best.

Run for Fun
Because if you don't have fun, it's going to be a short-term relationship.  The problem a lot of beginners have is viewing their run as torture.  They dread the moment that they have to lace up.

That was middle school me.  Every time we started our warm-up mile, I'd think about all the bad stuff coming my way: sore muscles, running cramps, and the embarrassment of getting lapped.  Nowadays, I head out the door with a goal that I love in mind.

Sometimes, I try to do something running-related like Fartlek training.  Other times, I leave with the intention of posting something from my run on Instagram.

Last week, I got the mother of all Instagram posts when I saw the president taking flight.


There is a lot to do and see outside - even in the winter - so make the most of it.

Run for Personal Best
Oh, man.  I've seen this one play out time and time again.  One of my competitive friends decides to take up running and it ends in catastrophe.  Unless you're a top performing Kenyan, you should only compete against yourself when running.

The beauty of running is everyone can do it.  There are no requirements in age, height, experience, etc.  When you constantly compare yourself to others, it will only end up burning you out.  Or worse, injure you

Instead, focus on beating yourself.  Every day you should strive to improve some aspect of your running.  Trust me, getting a PR will feel much better than trying to beat the guy who looks like Rambo's stunt double.

Think you have better running advice?  Let me know in the comments below.

Author's Bio: 

Hannah is a business school graduate, New Yorker, and an avid marathon runner. To date, she has finished over ten marathons including the Boston Marathon. With over a dozen years of competitive running under her belt, she began a running blog called www.unicornswelcome.com. She hopes to give runners an honest opinion of what has worked and what hasn't by calling upon her own personal experiences.