Getting motivated to run

When you are a beginner runner or just starting to run again, finding the motivation to run or train for a race can be challening. We have jobs, kids, relationships, responsibilites and sometimes going out for that run doesn't fit into our busy schedules. One of the easiest ways to start running or training is to begin with run/walk intervals.

Starting off in this manner is highly beneficial because it:

1) Increases cardiovascular stamina, allowing you to exercise for longer than if you were to go out and only run;

2) Builds up your cardio without injury or discouragement;

3) Allows your body, especially your joints, to acclimate to your new endeavor.

How to Begin: Measure your intervals in minutes and figure out what works for you. If you are off the couch, start slowly- an injury will only hamper your progress. Your Run/Walk might be 1/3 (1 minute running and 3 minutes walking). If you are highly active, you might want to try 5/2 or 7/2 intervals. The goal is to exercise for at least 30 minutes. Aim for 3 days of run/walk intervals and 2 days of cross-training.

Effort: During your run intervals aim to be able to talk without feeling winded. If you start to feel like you are losing control of your breathing, slow down. Monitor how your body responds to the effort during training.  Start and finish each workout with a few minutes of fast walking.


  1. Aim for 3 days of run/walk intervals.
  2. Don’t run or run/walk 2 days in a row
  3. Do at least 2 days of cross-training per week – cardio and strength/flexibility
  4. Take 1 day off per week. Active recovery is okay (foam rolling, easy stretching)

Tools:  We recommend buying the Gymboss because it alerts you, via a beep or vibration, when the interval is up. You can set it for up to 99 intervals and clip it to your shorts or pants. No need to monitor time or remember numbers! 

Location: You can do the run/walk sets on the treadmill or outside. We suggest and encourage as much outside activity as possible because it’s inspiring, invigorating and it most accurately reflects race and real-world conditions. Stick to flat terrain for the first few weeks and add in hills once you are comfortable running for 10 minutes at a time.

We are leading group runs every Saturday at FitRight NW in Northwest Portland at 9am leading up to the Shamrock Run. We lead a run/walk group for those looking to run the 5k race. You get a coach and a group of fun women to run with!