Left: Avery Publishing Group; Right: Photograph by Drew Reynolds
Martinus Evans loves running for a reason. "You rarely need equipment to do it. You don't need a gym membership. And it's one of these exercises that just provides you with so many cardiovascular benefits."
As the author of Slow AF Run Club: The Ultimate Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Run, Evans coaches runners of all types. "I think the biggest misconception when you think about running is people think of professional athletes. So people think running should be fast, quick, [and] hard."
But Evans says running is for everyone: "It is hard. [But] what I'm here to tell people is that you can run in the body that you have now."
Evans says to start running, you don't need to run for very long or go very far: "You can do it with something as simple as running for 15 seconds and walking for a minute. It's really about just getting your heart rate up."
Interview highlights from a recent interview with Life Kit host Marielle Segarra
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Table of Contents
How to find your form as a new runner
"The first thing that I think about is that a lot of people when they run, they clench [their] fists. So by clenching your fist, now you have tightness all the way through your forearms.
You want to make sure that your hands are loosely closed. Imagine a pebble inside of your hand, and you want that pebble to move freely, but you don't want that pebble to fall out of your hands.
You wouldn't believe how many people look down at their feet when they're running. Don't look down. You want to look at the horizon anywhere between six to eight feet in front of you."
The importance of intentional breathing when running
"A lot of people do chest breathing, where it just stops in their chest. And when people start to run, they're like, 'I feel like I'm just out of breath. I feel like I'm hyperventilating.' And I'm like, 'Oh, that's because you're not breathing deep enough.'
You want to do belly breathing. You want to make sure those breaths are getting down, and you're really moving that diaphragm while you're running.
One of the exercises that you can do to test this out [is to] literally just put your hand on your belly as you breathe and see if your belly is actually moving as you're breathing. And if it is, you're belly breathing."
Finding your 'sexy pace' while running
Sexy pace is the pace where most of our run should be. And what it basically comes down to is a speed where you're able to have a full, long conversation with someone and you're still running.
Think about Baywatch – like, you run it slow, you got the Baywatch music going, you're feeling sexy when you're doing it.
Or another term for that is called a conversational pace. A pace [where] you can have a conversation and don't feel like you're about to fall over."
Gear for new runners
"Definitely pick up a new pair of running shoes. Go to a running specialty store. If you go into one of these specialty running stores and you say, 'Hey, I need a gait analysis' or 'Hey, I need a shoe fit,' and they look at you like you have three heads growing out of your neck, that's not the place for you.
If you have shorts lying around, if you have some t-shirts lying around, start there, especially for the first runs.
And then the last thing I usually like to tell the people that I coach is don't wear cotton underwear or don't wear cotton anything. Don't wear cotton socks – you'll get blisters, and you'll start to get chafe in places where it will be extremely painful."
Affirmations to help you get started
"The first mile and a half, it's like the hardest mile and a half for me. Because I'm just getting started, I don't want to do this. That's when I start to kick up the mantras, like: No struggle, no progress.
And then there are other things like one step at a time. Stay in the mile that you are in right now. We can do hard things.
I think telling yourself these mantras helps you rhythmically but also keeps you in line to continue to move forward."