How To Start Running & Get FIT with My #1 Tip for Beginners

 This is a guest post by Your Life Your Way contributor Uju Maduforo.

The secret to getting ahead is getting started – Mark Twain.

I’m a slim girl so it was just another excuse for me…

An excuse to not keep fit.

As we know, just because someone is slim, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re FIT.

I was no exception to that rule.

Two flights of stairs and I’m cat-walking up the stairs to style it out and to disguise the fact that I’m running out of breath. I was ready to change that, and this is my story of how that happened.

How it began..

My running journey started about 8 months ago. One of my friends runs regularly and I always promised to join her “one of these days”, with no real intention of doing so, because as I would often say to myself or anyone close enough to hear me, “If I start running the little weight I’ve got will just drop off”.

To be fair this was a concern for me as one who is in the minority category of finding it incredibly hard to gain weight while actually wanting TO do so.

So on this particular Saturday, after a week or so of considering it semi-seriously, I thought, “What the heck, go for a quick run just to the nearby playground and back”.

I briefly wondered what to wear and looked out the window. What do I see? It’s drizzling. First thought is, “Oh drat, well I guess I can’t go now”. Lazy me secretly thought, “Yes” with a little side fist pump.  

I started mentally re-planning what to do with my next hour or so free time. As a busy mum of two, my mind was already drifting to making lunch or picking an area of the house to start cleaning.

Thankfully the Star in me (you know – that “good cop”, “get up and go”, “come on you can’t give up that quick” side of me) stood her ground, and I found myself walking up the stairs to dig out some leggings, t-shirt and a raincoat.

I quickly put them on then grabbed my trainers. Just to show you how odd this whole scene was the kids asked (with extra incredulity in their tone thrown in for good measure), “Mum, what are you doing?” “I’m going for a run”, I replied like it’s no big deal.

They looked at each other and my son actually had the nerve to laugh out loud!  

Just do it!

Ignoring the naysayers, I grabbed my key and was out the door before Lazy me tried to talk Star me out of it again. Luckily hubby was still asleep so I didn’t have any more explaining to do and hurried out of the house.

I have this health app on my phone that includes a running module so I used that for guidance and motivation and went off, setting myself the slowest, shortest pace I could find – the light jog, 20 minutes.  

8 months on, that decision was one of the best ones I made last year. 

The road may be bumpy but perseverance pays.

This was not a smooth transition by any means. That first run was 3.29km, completed in 26 mins 32 seconds at an average pace of 8.03 mins per km. I ran for about 20% of it and walked/semi skip-jogged the rest.  

Honestly I couldn’t run more than 100m without feeling like I was about to die.

If anyone happened to be watching me that day they would have had a good chuckle at my expense thinking “look at this fake wannabe runner”.  

I looked and felt a mess.  

I ached all over, there was sweat everywhere, but amazingly I felt great!

I was going through some particularly testing times at that point so was keen to do something positive that would help me get out or through that funk. So whilst I ran/walked/semi-skipped/jogged I also prayed, cried and sang along to the songs playing through my earphones (how’s that for multi-tasking ladies).

I was doing something for ME!

It wasn’t about hubby or the kids or work or anything or anyone, just me for me. I was giving back to myself, working on me, doing something that I had always thought I should do, but didn’t think I could because I didn’t have the time, the energy, the weight, etc.

I see you nodding… you’ve been there too, right, with your own particular excuses :)? 

Just keep running

I started and survived that first run, and emotionally it felt good. That gave me encouragement to go again the next Saturday, and then the next and the next.

I think on run 3 I experienced the peculiar sensation of simultaneously having one leg feeling like pins and needles, whilst the other felt like it was literally on fire.

Luckily it was over in a few seconds, but it was not pleasant and again I was tempted to stop.

Star me pushed on and through, and I finished the run, this time managing to run 50% of it and at least 400m before feeling like I was going to collapse.

I made a commitment to run for at least 30 minutes every Saturday and save for a few occasions when I really couldn’t due to commitments I couldn’t change, I’ve stuck to it.

I’ve run in the freezing cold, in the rain, up and down hills, dodged cats, dogs, and dog poo.

It’s been quite an adventure.  

I’ve challenged myself and my body, and my pace has gradually improved. Last Saturday I ran my best pace yet, 4.92km in 30 mins 14 seconds at an average 6.08 minutes per km.

Best of it is, I did that without stopping once!

Who’s laughing now?

My kids don’t laugh anymore, what’s more, they even want to come running with me now.

I look forward to it every week. I get to clear my head, push myself further, give myself pep talks, and soak in nature. I feel more confident in myself, stronger and healthier. It was a small start, but I’m so glad I didn’t talk myself out of it. In fact, I’m loving myself for it.

To sum up, here’s what I learned from this experience –

  1.  Whatever it is you’ve been putting off – health regime, career change, new venture – don’t worry about starting off small or making a big splash. The most important part is to just start it.
  2. Once you start, stay committed and keep at it until it becomes a habit.
  3. Ride through the bumps along the way by focusing on the end prize to help keep you motivated

Enjoy life, enjoy YOU. If you liked this post, let me know below. I’d love to hear from you!


About the Author: Hi, I’m Uju Maduforoan Operations Manager and a busy mum of two. I love getting to know people, learning about culture, and writing. I’m working on on a book I hope to publish this year. Check out my blog & connect with me at

About this site: Hi! I’m Tia. Multi-passionate Sparklepants, Life Lover, Curator of Awesome. I run this website featuring kickass inspiration to help you sparkle through life, no matter what! Go here to ignite your Inner Sparkle — that shimmery part of your spirit that says YES to courage + connection, and NO WAY to ‘shoulds’ + restrictions. Click here to contribute a post.

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  1. says

    I had a similar experience the first time I went to go for a run. I was in my apartment with my then girlfriend and best friend. As the three of us sat talking I stood up and professed that I was going for a run.

    Without missing a beat the two of them laughed and said sure. With that, I found the motivation I needed to put my shoes on and head out the door.

    Funny enough, 5 minutes later I returned and she asked me if I had forgotten something. To this I replied, “No. I’m done.”

    As you can imagine, this was followed by more laughter.

    Thankfully, this didn’t bring my spirits down and that day laid the foundation of what would become a lifelong pursuit of health and fitness. Even better, and I couldn’t have predicted it at the time, this pursuit would translate into a desire to become mentally, spiritually, and emotionally healthy too.

    I resonate with everything you have said Uju and want to extend a congratulations your way.

    Keep it up and I look forward to watching your success.

  2. Uju says

    Thanks Joel. Well done to you too.

    The hardest part was that first day right? Just synching yourself to get up and do it. Like you that small step for me has led to a journey of small steps in other areas of my life that I can already see and believe are leading on to bigger things.

    Will keep you posted.

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