5 simple running tips from Olympic medalist Lynn Kanuka
How to navigate challenges and find the motivation to develop a healthy, consistent running routine.
2 minute read
Coach Lynn is an Olympic medalist, mother, coach, entrepreneur and movr partner. Her lifelong passion has revolved around running and inspiring people of all ages and abilities through physical fitness. While her coaching will undoubtedly lead to improvements in running ability, her primary goal is to support greater health, both physically and mentally. Find out more about Lynn and check out her free running programs on her website.
What a year it has been! It’s been different and challenging for us all. When there is change there is turbulence, but we can always choose to find the positives.
My world as a running coach changed signficantly when everything went online – it was difficult, but I also found I enjoyed less urgency every day and more time for myself and my family. I had time to run and do yoga, and I returned to the workout Minis on my movr app because I was so tight in my upper body due to sitting at the computer all day.
Then something else happened.
My dear friend asked me if I’d run a half marathon with her.
Me? Such an idea! As a coach, I am always setting goals for others – but it had been a long time since I had set a goal for myself personally. I wasn’t used to being an “athlete”, but I thought, “Why not?”
Suddenly I felt excited! Plus, I felt a need to be accountable because my friend and I were in it together. I loved having a new focus.
After 8 weeks of preparation, our designated half marathon day arrived! We chose a wonderful route in the countryside with Mother Nature – a path in the Fraser Valley along the Pitt River, with a view of Golden Ears Mountain in the distance.
It was incredibly gorgeous and inspiring. I was back to my roots and the peaceful freedom of fitness and health – what I think running is all about. I felt immensely grateful that my body could do it.
After completing the half marathon, I unexpectedly wound up completing another one a few weeks later! Not long after that, I supported my friend in her full marathon and ended up doing my own as well.
Here I am, an Olympic Bronze medalist on the track, a World Championships Bronze medalist at cross country running, a coach for all distances and ability levels for over 30 years, and I was still able to have a completely new and wonderful experience in the sport I have loved for as long as I can remember.
No matter where you’re starting from, it all begins with that little voice inside. One decision can begin a whole positive domino butterfly effect. It did that for me, and I know it can for you, too. Butterflies are free to fly… and so are we!
Tips for the Beginner Runner
Why is running so hard? People often ask me how it is that I love to run – “Lynn it HURTS! My shins, my ankles, my knees, my back… OW! And running is SO boring! How do you do it? Why do you do it?”
Most often the culprit of running feeling hard is wanting to do too much, too fast, too soon. Why can’t we just run with the ease and rhythm of the runners we see out there on the trails and pathways?
“Most often the culprit of running feeling hard is wanting to do too much, too fast, too soon.”
The impact of running is hard on the body, and I know better than most that impact needs to be respected. I knew to be patient – to take it slow, progress carefully and find an “ease” in my rhythm to be able to run as far as I did comfortably.
No surprise, it takes time, patience and consistency. Building your running ability requires a simple progressive program and some support along the way.
With that in mind, here are some simple but effective tips to help you create a consistent, healthy running routine:
1. Stick with the program
Seek out a well-thought-out, tried-and-true program and follow it – no more and no less. Be patient! The temptation is always to do too much too soon.
2. Create a schedule
Decide on your running days and times each week and pencil them into your calendar, just like you would any other important meeting or appointment. 3 days a week is all it takes to notice real improvement.
Be kind to yourself – don’t choose to run early in the morning if you are not a morning person!
3. Treat your body right
4. Pace yourself
Stay at a nice, easy “talking pace” when you run. You should always be able to carry on a conversation with a friend. If that’s not the case, then please slow down!
Choose routes that inspire you, take your time, and have fun! No huffing and puffing allowed.
5. Track your progress
Document your successes and how you are feeling when you run. Keep a journal and make sure it’s somewhere you will see it every day.
Give yourself a nice big star or happy face for every completed workout and you’ll feel great seeing your progress!
Bonus: Come find me!
“A thousand miles begins with a single step.” Begin your running journey with me – let’s get started with a 5K. I promise to guide you safely to your own finish line, with a joy and freedom you will love. Truly, the sky’s the limit!
For programs, coaching advice and video tips – it’s all FREE on my website. If you do happen to need personal attention, I’m just an email away.
Update: Coach Lynn has just returned from coaching Canadian marathon runner Natasha Wodak to an impressive 13th place finish at the Tokyo Olympics!
We’re proud to partner with Lynn around our shared belief that movement brings positive benefits to all aspects of life and should be accessible for anyone.
Improve how you move and feel
in as little as 5 minutes a day.