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How to start Running – for the complete beginner!

Running for the Newbie

If you’re a looking to add more cardio into your weekly fitness regime,  you’ve been persuaded by co-workers to join their annual charity run, or if you’re a complete beginner and the mere thought of running exhausts you, then this beginner’s running guide is for you!

Running is an excellent form of exercise and has plenty of health benefits such as weight loss, cardiovascular health and mental health.  Ancient humans evolved running and it is one of the most basic human movement patterns. It is also thought to be the oldest ‘sport’ dating back to the very first Olympic Games. Today there are thousands of marathons and running events held each year in North America and millions of people who participate all over the world.

Running never interested me until this year when I was seeking to revamp my regular fitness program and needed some sort of athletic challenge again. I decided to join the Rep 1 Fitness trainers and clients at their annual 5 Peaks Trail run in Golden Ears Provincial Park earlier this year.

I was never a runner or a natural long distance cardio athlete. I tried running a handful of times but stopped well before any note worthy distance. Growing up a competitive gymnast I thought with the power in my legs and a good fitness background I would be able to run no problem. Think again! Long steady-state cardio like running was never part of our conditioning program in gymnastics and I soon found out I had to lose the ‘over confidence’ and learn how to run from scratch… 

Tips for the running beginner! 

  • Start Small and Build Up

The worst thing you can do for your body never-mind your confidence is to start off trying to run too much too soon.  If you’ve never run before we recommend starting with two days per week with at least two rest days in between. Start slowly and monitor how you feel. You should be able to breath comfortably while running as if you were able to carry on a normal conversation. If you find your breathing is out of control, slow down or walk for a few minutes. The key is consistency! Consistent weekly runs will add up to longer distances, faster pace and superhero status in no time! Check out our sample program below! 

  • Posture Posture Posture! 

When you’re running think upright posture, shoulders relaxed and a slight forward lean. A slight forward tilt will place your centre of mass on the front part of your foot and avoid the heel striking first. This allows the foot and ankle to use its proper spring mechanic. Core should be strong and stable. Elbows in, arms gliding close to your sides – lets please avoid the dreaded chicken-wing-elbows-flailing-out-to-the-side technique! 

Have a personal trainer at Rep 1 look at your form and running gait! 

  • Use a Fitness Tracker 

Use a fitness tracker app (there are literally hundreds to choose from!) on your phone or invest in a smart watch to track stats such as distance, pace, heart rate and calories burned. 

Apps We Like:  

Strava App 

Map my Run App

Run Keeper App

  • Follow a Consistent Program

Below you’ll find a sample running program that gradually builds up from a 2 km run to a 1o km run.  If you’re new to exercise visit your health care provider first to get cleared for running. If you’ve never run before we suggest building up your strength, endurance and running fitness base first. This can be done with walk/runs, alternating between walking and jogging intervals for 20 minutes a couple times a week. Specific strength training in the gym can also help build your running base and prevent injuries. 

Sample 8 Week 10 Km Running Program 

Cross Training (CT) refers to exercise like swimming, elliptical trainer or strength training. Remember running is the main goal here so do not exhaust yourself with overly intense cross training, it should be moderate and no longer than an hour. Make sure to always warm up first and cool down by walking and stretching after.  After your first ‘big’ run your body will want to rest and recover for a few days, read our article on rest and recovery here.

Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday Thursday  Friday  Saturday Sunday
Rest 2 km walk/run Cross Train or Rest 2 km walk/run Rest 2.5 km walk/run 20 minute run or cross train
Rest 2.5 km walk/run  CT or Rest 3 km walk/run Rest 3 km run 25-30 min run or cross train
Rest 3.5 km run CT or Rest 4 km walk/run Rest 4.5 km run 30-35 minute run
Rest 4 km run CT or Rest 4.8 km run Rest 5 km run 35 minute run
Rest 5 km run CT or Rest 5.5 km run Rest 6 km run 35-40 minute run
Rest 5 km run CT or Rest 5.5 km run Rest 7 km run 40 minute run
Rest 5.5 km run CT or Rest 6 km run Rest 8 km run 40-45 minute run
Rest 5 km run CT or Rest 3 km run Rest Rest 10 km run!

If you begin to enjoy running like I did and decide to do a trail run like the the 5 Peaks or one for charity like the family friendly CIBC Run for the Cure make sure you know the race course. If it includes any hills for example ensure to add some hills into your training runs. 

Enough reading – let’s get running! Throw on some good running shoes, stay safe and happy running! 

Fun times with friends and co-workers at the annual 5 Peaks Trail Run!



  1. Longevity
  2. Decrease of medical risk
  3. Improved Lifestyle
    1. Balance and stability
    2. Strength
    3. Flexibility
    4. Confidence
  4. Focused, one-on-one personal training is ‘personal’

When we think of ‘fitness’ the first image that pops into our brain is a packed gym of young, fit people full of sweat doing beach biceps curls and sit-ups.  The fitness industry ads and resources are often pointed at this younger crowd and missing a huge, aging, senior population that really needs our attention.  As this aging population increases, so should our ability to keep this crowd healthy and fit.  The benefits work in everyone’s favour!  Personal training is a great tool for senior fitness.  It will not only help to increase life expectancy, decrease medical risks and improve lifestyles, but it also gives seniors one-on-one fitness attention for their specific goals and needs.  There are many reasons to work with a personal trainer, but for senior citizens those reasons are even more plentiful:


               It is true!  Exercise can increase your life span!  We have all heard this and the science backs up the rhetoric.  As we age the intensity of the exercise may decrease but that doesn’t mean that it stops all together.  Even moderate exercise increases the years we live.  We all know that a good cardio workout is great for the heart, and isn’t the heart the most important muscle in the body?  A happy cardiovascular system means a longer life!  This article by Live Science breaks down the extra years exercising can add to your life. 


               As we age the wear and tear on our bodies increases.  We  lose muscle and bone mass, our reaction time slows, our metabolic rate slows down increasing fat deposits, and we increase our susceptibility to serious medical risks.  These health risks have a better chance of being avoided by keeping up a regular fitness regime.  Adult-onset (type 2) diabetes is a great example of a high-risk, chronic disease that can be controlled by regular exercise and, of course, quality nutrition.  Exercise is known to help control your blood sugar levels and increases your fat burning… decreasing the risk of diabetes.  The science involved is way more complicated than I have simply stated here, but you get the idea!  Heart problems, obesity and many other high-risk complications can be reduced with exercise, that is just a fact.

               IMPROVED LIFESTYLE:

               There are so many medical reasons for the aging population to exercise, but what about lifestyle enjoyment?  Working with a personal trainer can have many benefits.  Having stronger muscles, better cardio, and increased range of motion will reflect in the day-to-day enjoyment of everyone, but especially will be appreciated by people as they age:

  • Strength increase. Something as simple as getting your groceries from your car can be easier.  A personal trainer will not only give you ‘functional exercise’ but they will show you how to do it properly.  Weightlifting should be carefully prescribed, and as we get older the need for proper coaching increases.  Having that dedicated set of eyes on you is a great way to keep in check when progressing through a fitness periodization.  
  • Balance and stability decrease as you age. Personal trainers know all sorts of fun exercises to work on balance and stabilizing muscles!  Sometimes these aren’t our ‘favourite’ exercises, but risk of falls increase with age… and if you don’t use it you lose it!   
  • Flexibility also decreases as we age; muscles and tendons get tighter which decreases range of motion and blood flow to joints. Range of motion exercises are way more the norm now than they were 10 years ago.  Foam rollers, stretching and flexibility training should be part of your trainer’s regime with you.
  • Confidence is an undervalued reason for being more fit as we age. The ability to climb a ladder, lift a heavy object, cross a street quickly, go for a hike, or grab something from the top shelf in your house all may seem trivial to anyone under the age of 60, but to a senior these actions can be challenging.  Working with a personal trainer (possibly doing Olympic weightlifting or cardio exercise) will provide the confidence to not only achieve these moves with success but also without a second thought… which is real confidence shining through!


                Personal training is great for the senior population because it is all about them!  There are great fitness classes and fitness facilities geared towards the aging population.  Those should not be discounted, and, of course, they are financially more reasonable.  These classes, though, are designed and created for general population fitness, not individual needs.  People with injuries or specific goals should be seeking a more ‘focused’ fitness program.  Personal training for seniors is all about the individual.  Coming back from an injury?  Have major fitness goals?  Why not get personal training sessions?  This way you will see your fitness results sky rocket!

                I have been personal training for 20 years and I have personally seen the results of an aging population have great success with fitness.  Health in terms of fitness is a great reward, but I really do believe health in terms of mental confidence in one’s own abilities is the greater reward.  The ability to function on your own, and function well, is the true gift of fitness.  Working with a trainer will not only give the aging population a safe environment in which to continue working out but it will also provide seniors the ability to progress to a stronger, fitter version of themselves!  If you are in Vancouver or Kitsilano, and you are looking for personal training studio for the senior population, please reach out to us to get set up with one of our experienced trainers.    

Do I need a fitness tracker?


           Fitness tracking is not new!  ‘Back in the day’ there were books you could buy that supplied programs (for running, weightlifting, cycling, etc) and gave you charts to track your progress… with a pen!!!  But as we moved out of the era of the chisel and stone and into the 2010+ years, fitness everything can be tracked with the touch of a button, or even by just walking with a watch on your wrist.  What do you actually need to follow, or track, when it comes to personal exercise? Why is it important… or not?

           Consistency is the key to your exercise program.  Good days, bad days and in-between days are all important for you to show up and do something!  Tracking your activity/intensity level is another way to keep that consistency going. This just isn’t for fat loss but also for strength training.   

           Some people just track ‘steps’, and if they workout in a gym that day it usually helps increase their step number.  This is your base level of tracking but should not be discounted; hit your numbers every day and see results! Remember this will give you results for your aerobic exercise.  



           But those ‘steps’ are just one piece of the puzzle… how hard did you workout that day?  A heart rate monitor combined with a step, or kms, tracker will also show you how many calories you are ripping through when you are doing a heavy sweat.  The HARDER you work, or the longer the duration, the more you burn fat! So, whether it is steady state, intensity intervals or even group fitness, the heart rate monitor will reflect what you are burning.  This calorie count, along with your step count will give you some very satisfying numbers to add to your daily life.  Blazing through 750 calories and 8,000 steps is a solid justification for that glass of wine!  (life is about balance people!)

          Working with a certified personal trainer is the ultimate fitness tracker!!!  This is a person who goes through all your peaks and valleys with you and they see the progress.  Your fitness coach will know your initial struggles and the victories that you have had along the way.  There should be a fitness assessment and record of your initial fitness values. Whether is range of motion, cardio, or strength you will know ‘where you came from’ when it comes to working in the fitness centre.  If you are in Vancouver and looking for personal training please stop by our fitness facility if you want your progress charted!

         Fitness tracking is here to stay!  There is not a bike ride I go on without tracking my km’s, my average speed, and even the wattage I am pushing into the pedals.  There is not a workout that my personal trainers haven’t designed for my needs and goals. I’m addicted to the numbers and if you are into fitness you should be too!  It will keep you honest and give you the consistency you need to keep progressing. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Getting better!

Future Cat1 Racer

This has been an amazing summer for my kids, not only has the weather been fantastic for them to be outside all day but my daughter has learned to ride her bike. My daughter, “Kitty” watches her brother, “Jackson”, get on his bike everyday and rip around. She is so envious of him. I tried to teach her to ride but it usually ended in some form of an argument. We decided to put her in bike camp to teach her how to ride properly. After her first day at camp, I went to pick her up all I could see what this huge smile across her face. She was so excited that she could ride her bike and could keep up with her brother!!

Everyday I get home from work now we are out riding!! How awesome is that… Look out here comes the future in bike racing.

Click on the link below to see Kitty riding her bike.

A Bigger Shadow

A bigger shadow of my former self went up Cypress mountain yesterday.  My legs have been in a funk for over a year and every time I road on them they just hurt.  Period.  Yesterday was the first time in a long time where they haven’t ‘hurt’!!!  But man am I slow… I think the legs are recovered but now the long road to peak physical condition begins again!  My goal is to get back to being someone to look out for at the front of the peloton… not someone falling off the back.  A structured plan is the only way to do this.  Finish the summer building up some power for the track season… race track and do some seriously long rides this winter.  Yes, embarrassing as it is… I’m training for next year!! Ha!!  See you on the road!

Sunday Morning Ride

I do have to say that one of the great things about being a personal trainer is that you get used to getting up early. On Sunday mornings when most are still a sleep my alarm rings at 4:45 am. Yes you read it correctly 4:45, I am on the rode by 5:30 and it is one of the most rewarding things for me to do, why you ask? Well, there is not very many cars on the road and it is peaceful. This weekend I was out for a couple hrs, and I took this photo in Deep Cove. It was pretty amazing!

Take The Time!

Taking time to do the “extra” is usually not one of the priorities with regards to our training regime but it is one of the most important!

What is the “extra”?  It’s taking and making time to take care of our bodies, stretching protocol, foam rolling, massage, physio and sleep are all examples of the “extra”!  How often do we hear or say, I just didn’t have time after a run, ride or workout, to do the “extra”?  The answer, to often!
Lets all get to bed early and use this as a reminder to make the time, we will all feel better!