Health & Food / September 5, 2018

Running Your First Race? 5 Tips to Get Started Running

Did you catch the Rock n Roll Marathon Series in town last weekend? Have you run it? Did you watch but felt inspired to start running yourself? Ever wondered how to start running races?

There are several other upcoming races this fall and you don’t want to miss the fun. I have you covered with five tips to help you run your first race comfortably and confidently! beach running race

Here are my five tips to get started with running

  1. Determine what and why you want to run.
  2. Get the right shoes!
  3. Start Running
  4. Decide if you’ll train alone or with a team.
  5. Pick your first race.

1. Determine what and why you want to run.

sunglasses hustle shirt running shoes fit petite

Find your motivation. You might have a health or fitness related goal or it may be to raise money or awareness for a good cause. Did you know that most local races are fundraisers for charities?  If running doesn’t grab your passion point, the charity might.

After you decide your why, then decide the distance. Races range from 3.1 miles to a full marathon of 26.2! All distances take a level of commitment. Even if a marathon sounds exciting to you, I recommend you start with a shorter race and see how you like it. Here are my picks for a fun first fall race:

September 29, 2018Neptune 8k 

October 27, 2018Wicked 10k 

November 22, 2018Turkey Trot 10k 

2. Get the right shoes!

Shoes can make or break your training. Investing in a good running shoe is a necessity. I send my clients to Running Etc. for all their training shoe needs- whether you need trail running shoes or a less specialized trainer. They offer two convenient locations in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. The expert staff at Running Etc. is trained to analyze your stride and recommend the appropriate shoe.

running motivation coach

3. Start Running!

You’ve picked the race, you’ve got the shoes…time to start running! Be honest with how much time you can dedicate to running. You can prepare for a race such as a 5k, for as little as 3 days a week. Use a pace calculator or run tracker, like a Fitbit, to help with your daily running motivation. Also, decide what time of day works best for your schedule.

If you function better in the morning, aim for sunrise sessions. If evenings are a better option for your free time, look forward to training as a wrap to the day. Whichever option you choose, write the appointments down in your schedule. I pencil in my workouts for the week each Sunday. That way, I am sure to keep those appointments with myself. I also schedule a couple of my weekly workouts with friends. It is a great way to keep yourself accountable and motivated!

shoes track running kettle bell

4. Decide if you’ll train alone or with a team.

Virginia Beach offers several amazing running groups with coaches. They can provide you with a specific training plan, oftentimes accompanied by organized group runs during the week. If solo sweating is your thing, opt for an app like Couch to 5k. It provides a fantastic training method using intervals and includes encouragement and goal tracking.

J&A Training Team – seasons start each August and December

November Project – Workouts every Wednesday morning

North End Run Club – Group runs near the Oceanfront every Tuesday evening

5. Pick your first race.

Look ahead 1, 2, or even 3 months, giving yourself enough time to cultivate your new habit. Go ahead and register now. Physically paying for the event and registering online makes it real! Training should feel fun. Remember to relax, give yourself some grace, make a new playlist, and enjoy the journey! Welcome to the running community. For more information on coaching, races, or general fitness email

friends running fit petite


Tags:  5k coaches daily motivation groups runs how to start running motivation neptune 8k pace calculator race running running groups running motivation training training for a 5k turkey trot 10k wicked 10k

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Jess Horton
Jess Horton is equal parts Marketing Mastermind, Social Media Slayer, Blogger, Brand Builder, Fitness Enthusiast, Influencer, and Creative. Born and raised in Hampton Roads, she grew up in a home where faith and fitness were important parts of daily life and development. Jess comes from an education and marketing background. In 2011 she combined her passion for fitness with her professional skill set to create, a health and fitness website designed to bring encouragement to individuals as they pursue the healthy lifestyle they deserve. By 2013 she left a corporate marketing career and was sweating and slaying full time. Jess is certified both by the American Council on Exercise and the Road Runners Club of America as a trainer and coach. Jess is a life-long runner and regularly practices yoga and meditation. She finds joy in witnessing individuals make lifestyle changes that bring them closer to living a sweat-filled, soulful life. On most days, when Jess isn’t training her clients, she can be found running through Virginia Beach or at a local coffee shop crafting blog posts on her computer. When she isn’t working, Jess enjoys spending time with her fiance and their dog at their home in Virginia Beach. Jess has been recognized as a top social media personality in the Hampton Roads area. She has been featured in Eat This Not That, The Virginian Pilot, HR Growler, and on various local podcasts. Follow her journey on Instagram @TheFitPetite

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1 Comment

Sep 10, 2018

[…] week I wrote an article offering 5 easy tips to your first race. Full article here…check the highlights below. All easy decisions made by you, that will get you from start to […]

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