As a Runner’s World+ Coach, I interact with all kinds of runners every day, from curious beginners to 10-time marathoners. No matter their experience level, RW+ members are united by their deep passion for running and a drive to get a little bit better with each mile. Sometimes all you need to hit your next goal is an extra shot of motivation—and that’s where I can help.

vincent gaglio
Courtesy of Vincent Gaglio

I recently chatted with RW+ member Vincent Gaglio of Monroe, North Carolina, who just started running at age 60 and wanted a few pointers. Here are three takeaways from our talk.

Feel the freedom that comes with running

Vincent: When I turned 60 last year, I decided to start working out, but I wanted to avoid going to a gym during the pandemic. That’s when I turned to running. I recently got fitted for shoes and signed up for a Couch to 5K program. I’m only a few weeks in, but since I’m a brand-new runner, I need some guidance to start strong.

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PJ: While you might not understand the hype around running at first, once you string together some consistent runs, you’ll notice your body getting stronger and adapting to the physical demands. You might feel your chest opening up, and your arms finding a natural position. But most of all, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when you’re unlacing your shoes at the end.

Don’t worry about people speeding by you at the local track, or that you’re running in the back of the pack on a community run; your running is time for you. Don’t give in to self-doubt. You belong here!

Find a running community to keep you accountable

Vincent: When I decided to get into shape, I watched some videos on YouTube to get a better understanding of the sport. I also signed up for a virtual 5K through a Facebook group. How can I use the online running community to help me improve?

PJ: Joining online groups is a great way to build your self-confidence. Runners love sending each other tips and sharing how running has impacted them, so it’s very easy to find a community online. Simply encouraging a new runner or sending kudos to a veteran can go a long way.

Soon, you’ll start thinking of yourself as a runner and not just as someone who runs. We’re all nervous to lace up at first, but we enjoy it enough to keep coming back. Be an ear to someone else looking to get started. Become a run buddy or accountability partner, and show up and cheer each other on! The sense of community you get from a group can be just as rewarding as the satisfaction you get from training.

Don’t forget to have fun

Vincent: I’m scared that when I run my race, I might bump into people because I’m not running in a straight line! How much should I be concentrating on my form and balance?

PJ: We’ve all worried about how we look on a run. Should you focus on where your foot strikes the ground? Is your back straight enough? Repeat after me: RELAX. If you nail the basics—like completing a dynamic warmup, dressing appropriately, and having a positive expectation for the day’s run—then all you need to focus on is running with ease. Every runner is different, so be proud of how you move your body. Concentrate on improving your form, but don’t get bogged down by overanalyzing your stride. As a new runner, what’s most important is that you’re having enough fun to come back.

➡ Want to be featured in Runner’s World?

We’re always trying to make our magazine and website more about our most core audience: you, our RW+ members. We want to know your best running stories, go-to tips, favorite gear, proudest accomplishments, what races you have coming up, and anything you might know that would be useful to our readers. If you want to potentially appear in an upcoming issue, article on our website, or video, tell us all about your running life.