How I Started Running

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Good morning!

Check out last night’s Workout of the Day:


Hmm”¦ Surprise WOD? I should have known then that it was going to be a killer workout! (Our coaches didn’t post the WOD because they thought people wouldn’t come if they saw it ahead of time! Ha!)


When I arrived at CrossFit last night, I noticed that the gym floor had 4 lines of white tape on it, equally spaced from wall to wall. As soon as I saw them, I knew exactly what the WOD was going to be: SUICIDES!!! Do you remember these things from high school sports? If not, here’s how they work: you begin at the starting line and then sprint to the first line. Without stopping, you turn around and sprint back to the starting line. Then, you sprint from the starting line to the second line and back again. You do this for the third and forth lines. It’s tough!

For the WOD, we were instructed to touch each line with our hand before changing direction. We also raced against another member for each suicide (we did 8 in total), which made this workout even more of a challenge. My partner was a tad bit faster than me, so I was constantly pushing myself to try to beat her. (I never did!)

Doing suicides last night at CrossFit reminded me of high school soccer practices, which then reminded me of the position that I played: center midfield. If you know anything about soccer, this position runs a lot throughout the game, which I now realize was my first real experience with long distance running. I was constantly moving around the field to assist the offense and the defense, so there weren’t many opportunities to rest. Most games, I’d run for a solid 60 minutes with only a break at half time.


When readers ask me how I first started running, I never really know what to say. There wasn’t a specific point in my life that I decided to take up running. I started playing soccer as an 8-year-old, so running (as part of the game) has almost always been part of my life.

I stopped playing soccer when I entered college, so I started running as a way to stay fit (and relieve stress). Running became a form of exercise that I could count on (just throw on your sneakers and go!), so for the next decade, I ran two to four times every week. Most of my runs were 3 to 4 miles, and I never ran more than 5 or 6 miles at a time.

When I rang in the New Year in 2009, I decided to set a few goals for myself for the upcoming year, including running a half-marathon. I found a training program online, started following it, and ran my little heart out. I ran my first half marathon on May 24, 2009, and the rest is history! I’ve been running and racing long distances ever since.

If you’re just starting out or want to get more into running, here are some posts I’ve written over the years:

How to Start Running: Tips for Beginners
Running is great exercise and an effective way to tone muscles, but it can be daunting to take the first step! Here are some tips to make it less intimidating.

Tips for Increasing Your Distance
Training for a marathon taught me a lot about how to increase my distance. Here are the tips and tricks that have helped me build my mileage from one to 26.2!

What I Learned from Running Marathons
I’ve only run two marathons, so I don’t have a ton of expertise in this area, but I can tell you what I’ve learned from training and completing those two marathons. Here are some lessons I learned about myself from running marathons!

How I Prepare for Race Day
I thought it would be helpful to share my race day routine since it can be equally exciting as it is nerve-wracking. Here’s how I maximize the enjoyment of race day without stressing out over too many of the details. Additionally, here’s a great Q & A with Mark Remy of Runner’s World’s with some tips and advice for preparing for race day.


Last night’s dinner was one of those quick and easy ones: roasted Brussels sprouts with olive oil and truffle salt and chicken salad on Paleo Bread.

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Paleo bread? Oh, yes, and it’s awesome!

Made with almond flour, coconut flour, and ground flaxseed meal, this bread is light and fluffy with a nutty and slightly sweet (from honey) flavor. I haven’t done much baking with almond or coconut flour, so I was a little worried about how the bread would turn out, but it ended up tasting so good. It even got Mal’s approval on it. He’s really picky about bread (even the store bought stuff), but he loved this one.

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After dinner, I ate another small piece of Paleo Bread with White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter spread on top. Amazing.

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Question of the Day

Do you remember how you started running? Did high school sports play a part in how you stay fit now?



  1. I hated running because it was hard. When I told myself that I didn’t have to automatically run 3 miles and I could walk some my perspective on running changed drastically. Its almost like I was too hard on myself and made running the only choice for exercise. It became too negative. Now I run for fun.

  2. Ugh – I hated suicides back in high school! I began running in college though (mostly to burn calories) but ended up loving it. I’ve been doing it on and off since then, and try not to force myself when it doesn’t seem fun, but I always find my way back to it!

  3. I was a midfielder in soccer for years and years. I played for two years in high school before I was recruited to the cross country team.
    Running long distance started one lunch hour in high school. A bunch of us freshmen were gearing up to sign up for track and I was dead set on being a sprinter. Thankfully one of my friends was talking about joining the distance team and somehow convinced me to do as well.

    So glad she did!

  4. Ooh yes I remember suicides! We used to do them at basketball practice all the time. I think I started running (or at least calling myself a runner) when I lived overseas and was trying to shed 60lbs. It helped – A LOT! There weren’t many racing opportunities there, but when I moved back to Canada I dove straight in with varsity cross country and entering half/full marathons on my own in university. As Claire said above, it was amazing stress relief!

  5. Suicides are torture!! We made my daughter’s basketball team do them at practice last night. Needless to say, they hate us now 😉

    Even though I started running about 2 years ago, I still consider myself a “newbie” runner. Thanks for those links, Tina. I would love to improve my pace a little!

  6. Suicide runs seriously send a shiver up my spine. Those and Indian runs (is that not a PC term anymore?)! Remember those ones? Where everyone runs in a line and the person at the end has to spring to the front? Do not miss that aspect of team sports practice 🙂

  7. Ooooh I definitely want to try that bread! I love that it has a nutty flavor to it but is also nice and fluffy.

    I started running way back in high school – I did sports year round so I was always into it, but when I started track my freshman year that’s really when I grew to love it.

  8. I remember that I was in college when I decided to start running and the main motivation for me to do so was because I wanted to run the marathon in Walt Disney World. This past January I ran the half marathon there with my sister and hopefully next year we will be running the full! Can’t believe I have been running for over 5 years already! Yet also cannot believe there was ever a time I thought I could not run 😀

  9. I neverrrrr liked sports growing up. I would do yoga sometimes and go to the gym sometimes in high school but it wasn’t a regular thing. I only really got into being healthy about a year ago.

  10. i was basically the same as you..i started playing basketball in third grade and played all the way through high school ,so running was just always part of me i guess. I started LDR when i trained for my first half!

    and don’t even get me started on suicides! THE worst. We used to have to do “walls” in high school…aka, start on the wall, sprint to the foul line, back to the wall, half court, wall, foul line, wall, wall, wall. Repeat. We got up to 10 if we were goofing off. Oh the good ol’ days! it weird to say I miss it?

  11. I was a dancer throughout school and hated running. After high school I got lazy and packed on the pounds. Over the past year I have dabbled in running. This post is perfect because I am getting ready to register for a 10 mile race at Disney!

  12. oh boy do i remember suicides!! they were killer! we’d always have to do them as our “punishments” in basketball and volleyball. high school sports definitely had an impact on my present love for fitness! as i got out of high school, i realized i had a desire to still stay active, so i got into the gym and got into running. just within the past year since i’ve lived in utah (beautiful scenery and more jogging trails!) have i gotten more into running longer distances. i love it!

  13. I was not really an athlete in high school. I actually took dance lessons my entire childhood. Sports was definitely not my thing. Even in college, I didn’t do any type of sport. I would occasionally walk Cardiac Hill on Pitt’s campus up to the gyms and use the elliptical and lift, but that’s it. I actually started running my first fall after college (Sept. 2008) when I moved to Philly for grad school. I didn’t know where anything was in Philly, so I decided that I could see more of the city if I just started running through it! After living and running here for 3.5 years, I know Philly like the back of my hand. And found a sport I absolutely love!

  14. This is off the topic but do you weigh yourself everyday to make sure you are at your feel-great weight, or do you just go by how your clothes fit and how you “feel”?

  15. I’m a high school coach and technically we’re not allowed to call them “suicides” anymore in high school sports. They are now lovingly referred to as line touches or victory sprints. I don’t care what the eff you call them they still suck.

    We always used to ask to run them “backwards” in college (start out with the long run first, then the runs get shorter as you go). You still still run the same distance but beause the distances get shorter, it seems a little better. Hey, anything helps right?

  16. I started runing because i had friends who did it. I wanted to be able to run races with them or even just a little group workout on a Saturday. Which is a little strange because now I run alone almost all the time.

  17. I played tons of sports but hated running! Which makes no sense because I was awful at team sports and someone should have suggested running to me… zero aggression necessary. I started in college as stress relief and exercise and picked up racing once i moved for law school.

  18. Ahh suicides! I sometimes make the girls I coach (gymnastics) do them from beam to beam haha. Those things are intense! But I personally started running in HS when my boy-friend and I broke up. It was a way to ease my mind, get my anger out, and stay busy lol.

  19. I was always active but didn’t start running until two years ago. I accompanied my friend to the Pittsburgh marathon to cheer him on and the atmosphere made me want to run…so I ran my first 5K two weeks later! I’m so glad I added running into my workout plans! I coudn’t imagine not doing it!

  20. Oh suicides! I am a 13 year old female wrestler, and we constantly do suicides! One time we did three sets of 15 in just one practive. Uhhhh!

  21. I always admired soccer players for all of the running that they did. I played tennis, which is a lot of sprinting, but I never thought of it as “running”. I didn’t start actually running until this past October because my friend somehow convinced me to do a half marathon this May. Well, it wasn’t as bad as I expected, and I now actually have my first half in 3 weeks!

  22. I played center midfield also up until junior year in high school. Then I traded in shin guards for cross country sneakers and spent a year doing XC and track which I loved. From then on I’ve been running on and off, a half and a marathon later and I’m taking some time off from it right now.

  23. I played soccer, softball, and basketball throughout grade school. I played two years of soccer in high school. We used to run “ladders” at practice which I dreaded! My Mom use to go running at a local park and one day I joined her. I’ve been running ever since. I ran my first half and full marathons in 2003. I love running and can’t imagine my life without it!
    That bread looks delicious. I’m always on the hunt for homemade bread recipes.

  24. Your story sounds EXACTLY like mine! I played soccer from when I was 7, right until my senior year of high school. I was also a center mid, so we just have to be able to run and have great endurance in that position! I also ran track and that kept me in shape. Now I run because I simply did it my whole life and it would be weird not to!

  25. I didn’t start running until after I stopped competitively swimming. I got SO burned out of the pool that I was willing to try anything else. My college roomie (now best friend) was a cross-country runner for our college and got me hooked. I owe it to swimming and her!

  26. I was a lacrosse player in high school and college but hated to simply just run long distance without playing the game. Only recently over this past 2 years have I come to love reaching goals of half marathons and soon a full marathon!

  27. Ahhh suicides! Extreme high school/college soccer flashbacks! The worst was 2 a days….took me awhile to learn to love and respect running but now I can’t get enough

  28. I started to incorporate running into my exercise routine last summer, when I found your blog! I thought it would be a good way to build stamina in every aspect of my workout regime. I may not can run a half, but I like it all the same.
    Thank you so much for the tips!!

  29. Do you have a hint on roasting brussels?! Yours always look so good!!!

    I played lacrosse in highschool. My coach lives in my neighborhood where my parents live and whenever I see him around I always tell him how he was the reason I started being healthy!

  30. I have a question about Crossfit and appetite. I recently started doing a program at my gym that seems very similar to crossfit (incorporates strength and cardio, WOD varies each day, I can barely move when I am done, etc.), but I feel like this type of workout really gets my metabolism going and I am HUNGRY throughout the day – very similar to half marathon training. I’ve noticed that your portions seem like they are getting a bit smaller (i.e. half a sandwich with brussel sprouts for dinner) and I am wondering if you feel like you are NOT as hungry doing this type of workout and/or do you think it has something to do with exercising at night vs. morning? Or do you just not picture everything you eat? My biggest issue with trying to “tone up” is the eating part – both sugar cravings and portion sizes. I almost find that the harder I work out, the hungrier I am and I can’t seem to find a balance. Would love your thoughts (sorry for super long comment!)

    1. @Katie: CrossFit doesn’t really rev-up my appetite like marathon training did, but when it does, I EAT. Maybe my portions don’t show it well, but I generally eat 1800-2000+ calories per day. There are some snacks and bites of food that I consume and don’t appear on my blog, but, for the most part, I post the majority of what I eat.

      My dinner last night might look small, but it was made with Paleo Bread, which is a lot more calorie-dense (and satisfying for me) than regular bread, so it was actually a pretty “big” meal calorie-wise. (Mal actually ate the exact same size portion as me last night.)

      A big part of my appetite and cravings are the kinds of foods (lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains, fiber) that I choose to fuel and satisfy me. I also drink a lot of water! Hope this makes sense! Let me know if you have any other questions!

      1. @Tina:
        This IS helpful! I think that I tend to be a “volume” eater – trying to load up on low-cal healthy options like veggies in order to make my meal feel bigger, but I guess it is mental. What you are saying about the Paleo Bread being calorie dense and thus satisfying is interesting because I think I tend to shy away from more calorie dense foods in favor of those that are lower in calories (but not fake foods like sugar free stuff – bleh!). It feels safer to be able to “eat a lot”. I guess I just don’t trust myself to ever feel full for long, haha.

        I am impressed that you can work out so much and keep most days between 1800-2000 cals. Keeping my days under 2000 cals feels very hard for me, but maybe trying some of your tweaks will help! I certainly feel like I am eating too much, which is not allowing the good work I do in the gym to be visible. Thanks for your response, Tina.

  31. I started running daily back in the 8th grade. It started out as just a fun thing that my dad and I did together. For the past 14 years, it’s been part of my daily routine. Save for a couple injuries that have prevented me from running, I have run EVERY SINGLE DAY in the past 14 years. I do it so stay happy and sane, and while it’s a great thing that it helps me stay in shape, I do it mostly for the mental clarity it gives me. I ran in high school and in college, and I love it just as much now as I did when I started. I’ve transitioned into barefoot running, and that has been GREAT.

  32. I remember when I first ran: ‘I’m a Scat Man’ came on my iPod and gave me a surge of energy to up the treadmill speed(I was walking at the time). No turning back after that!

  33. I started running as a sport in 7th grade when I started sports. I hated, and still do, spirits of any kind – too many line drills in volleyball and basketball. I started running longer distances in college to destress and have done so off and on since.

  34. I’ve only done suicides once before in high school gym class… and I hated every second of it! 😛 I wasn’t an exerciser back then AT ALL. It wasn’t until second year of university that I started working out on the elliptical and eventually running.

  35. I do remember how I started running – it was after college when it was difficult to find a dance studio that would challenge me. I tried the gym rat thing and failed miserably – not motivating enough for me. Then I decided I should learn to run and signed up for a 5K. I had no idea where that would lead me – so glad I laced up those running shoes!

  36. suicides are the devil and now my ass hurts just from reading that.

    I started running because I didn’t want to spend money on a gym, so I tried it and I LOVED it. It was such a departure to work out OUTSIDE!!

  37. We had to run for field hockey in HS and I HATED it. I was a dancer, so it felt weird to me. But then in college I started liking it, and my first race EVER was a half marathon-and I loved that feeling of crossing the finish line. A couple halfs and 2 full marathons later and a triathlon under my belt, I like to run!

    Suicides….oh yes. Those are always killer! Congrats on doing ’em though!

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