EDITOR’S NOTE: When our friend Kelly Krause shared her incredibly inspiring “How to :: Change Your Life” story of losing over 135 pounds in a year, it seemed to resonate with so many of our readers. We love her enthusiasm and passion for her adventures in wellness, so we invited her to start taking us along for the ride on her new experiences in fitness. Her new series kicks off at her first ever running group! 

Glacially paced is how I best define my running style. While I fully enjoy a run around Austin’s Lady Bird Lake, I mostly run for leisure without a timed goal in mind. As a run-walk type, I typically shy away from joining friends, worrying I’ll slow them down or be too out of breath to chat.

When I ran the Austin Half Marathon in February, I finished completely sore and in pain from improper training, nutrition and guidance. Albeit an acheivement to cross the finish line, I immediately wanted to learn how to train properly for the next one. Shortly after I met Jennifer Howard-Brown, Running Coach with Rogue Running who encouraged me to try a running group. I figured this might be the key to overcoming my fear of running with others, while gaining the skills I need to finish a race feeling good.

Jenn and I met over coffee to discuss my current fitness state, running aspirations and time commitment. Given how much I travel and cross train, we decided that training for a Half Marathon in November is doable without being overwhelming. And thankfully running is one of the easier workouts to fit in while traveling — no gym membership required! 

From a nutrition and hydration standpoint, I felt prepared. I swapped my double iced coffees for water two days prior and got the appropriate mix of good carbohydrates and protein to fuel my workout. But the thought of the actual workout left me a nervous wreck. At most, I run 2-3 miles once or twice a week so I’m a complete novice. I received an email from Jenn detailing the workout that read “The group is 3+ months into training and really fit right now.”I immediately thought I was running with a group of elite pros training for the Olympics. What if I’m the new girl that slows everyone down? What if they try to talk to me and I’m so winded and quiet, they think I’m rude? What if I fall down (I’m pretty clumsy)?It was that new-kid-on-campus fear where you just want everyone to like you. From the moment I arrived to the workout, everyone was extremely kind and inviting. Jenn introduced me to a few folks she thought I’d pace well with throughout the workout (she was right) and they welcomed me with open arms.

Not once did I feel like my glacial pace held anyone back, nor did I feel the pressure to hold a conversation. The small group setting kept me motivated and determined to push harder than I normally would. Every fitness level was represented and everyone had different objectives. Jenn was encouraging when the workout was challenge, but didn’t over-push. She’s aware of her athletes and caters her approach to coaching based on their needs. And that part about not being able to breath or talk? That had to do with my pace.When Jenn had me slow down (yes it gets slower than glacial), I was able to talk. She said a lot of factors can affect pace — temperature (it was humid), nutrition, hydration, recovery, stress, sleep, etc., so it’s important athletes listen to their bodies and adjust when necessary.One piece of advice that stuck with me is to learn to run by effort and not be so focused on running specific paces most of the time. The group had a wonderful comradery and established respect for one another. Everyone does the same workout, so there’s an immediate bond when you finish. Though, I felt the bond before I even started.Before I left, I received the appropriate “you did it” hi-fives and a few quipped, “I hope you come back!” Little did they know, I already decided I was coming back less than 10 minutes into the workout.Tip: when joining a group for the first time, it’s proper etiquette to introduce yourself to the coach / leader and athletes in the group. We started off with 1.35 mile warm-up at our own moderate pace. Then took a 5-minute rest and hydrated (hydration is key, especially in this humid Texas climate). We continued with a round of drills to keep our heart rate up and went straight into our workout, which was a steady but hilly 2k loop (about 1.24 miles), repeated 2-3 times. We then finished with a 1.35 mile cool-down. Jenn adjusted the workout to fit everyone’s fitness ability and goals — including myself as a first-timer and another athlete who just ran a half marathon a few days prior. When the workout ended, I looked down at my Garmin, saw that I completed 4.1 miles and smiled. I loved it.

*Kelly’s favorite kicks from Brooks

What I Learned + Tips for Joining a Running Group:

1. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
Not only is it important to hydrate during your workout, but you should start hydrating the day before, espcially in humid climates like Austin. I’m a personal fan of Nuun tablets to help replenish electrolytes, but there are plenty on the market to choose from. A few runners carried handheld water bottles during the workout, which Jenn recommends for longer durations or at higher intensities.

2. Nutrition is Key
Everyone is certainly different with their needs, but Jenn recommends eating a light meal 1.5-2 hours before longer runs (longer than 45 minutes). Ideally this meal would have a mix of carbs, fat and protein like a banana and yogurt or half a PB&J sandwhich. My pre-run favorite is half a banana with almond butter.

3. Post-Run
Within 30 minutes of your workout, Jenn suggests taking in recovery fuel between 150-250 calories, ideally with a 4:1 carbs to protein ratio. Her go-to’s include Vega Recovery Accelerator or a smoothie with fruit and protein. A post-run stretch with a foam roller or Trigger Point tool will help speed muscle recovery and prevent injury. Within 1.5 hours, she recommends eating a true meal and of course, hydration is important. My post-recovery meal that evening was grilled salmon, half a sweet potato, zucchini and a little watermelon.

4. Which Running Group is Right for Me?
Jenn said that this all depends on the athlete’s level of experience and goals. Rogue Running offers programs for all levels, but none are a one-size-fits all. Most groups include all levels of athletes and the coach helps adjust the training to ensure the athlete gets the most of his/her training. I liked that at 13 weeks into their program, Jenn was still able to tailor the workout to my experience and needs.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4



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Comments (27)
  1. 1
    unpofucsia June 27, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Can you please write more on pros and cons of running – I heard A LOT of cons from many experts and not enough pros that would convince me

    • Jessica June 27, 2014 at 10:38 am

      I am no expert, but have felt the same way in the past. My mind has been changed since my partner started working for a running-centric website.
      I think a lot of the cons have to do with it being high-impact on delicate parts of your body (read: knees), but as Kelly suggests, having a running coach or educated group of peers can eliminate a lot of these issues if they help educate you to run properly.

      Running is a funny sport because anyone in the world can just wake up and decide they want to do it. No training or equipment required, right? But if I decided to wake up and play football, or baseball, I’d get out on a field and not have a clue what I was doing, would make a bunch of mistakes, and probably injure myself or someone else. Running is no different! Again, I’m no expert, but, I think running properly, when paired with strength training and plenty of stretching, offers many more pros than cons! It gets your heart rate up, gets you sweating, increases your cardio stamina, builds muscle, burns fat, and doesn’t require a fancy gym. I still dread it, but, love the confidence it builds, too, when I get on a disciplined streak!

      • unpofucsia June 27, 2014 at 1:14 pm

        thank you Jessica for this post ! I truly appreciate it!

        However – it is not true that “you can just wake up and go for it”.
        It messes with your blood sugar lever, with you joints etc. … and then there is that case of “chronic cardio ” and how bad it can be for you – it stresses out your body and decreases stress hormone chortisol which makes you stress out and , yeah – fat, then (amongst other things) your body ages prematurely , you turn in a ” sugar processing factory ” instead into a “fat processing factory” and you crave sugar so it can mess up with your diet and your hormones … also it can increase inflammation big time there, and there is nothing “natural” about it (nobody in nature needs to run for a longer time – quick short sprints are totally different subject ) and then – it can be so very boring/monotone and exhausting – and if we accept body – mind connection premise it is a big thing and has HUGE impact on our well being (not that positive when you are bored with and exhausted with something ) … so it definitely is not for everyone. I need to explore more into this issue and I will – but I am so very grateful to you for answering to my post.

        • unpofucsia June 27, 2014 at 1:20 pm

          *increases stress hormon cortisol … (and you ll pardon other typos and grammar mistake of this non – native speaker :))

          • Steve June 27, 2014 at 5:23 pm

            Actually … So, not sure where you heard all these things, but most, if not all, are incorrect. For example, running is not bad for the knees. This is an old wives tale. Modern scientific studies show that long distance running, when done properly (good coaching, proper nutrition and strength training) have no impact on the wear and tear in the knees. In fact, running helps strengthen the bones and improves blood supply. All when done correctly.
            Another thing you mention is burning sugar versus burning fat. A well-designed marathon training program will cover how to properly hydrate and nutritional needs, and emphasizes the need to train your body to burn fat instead of sugars. If you are running over 20 miles, your body had better have learned (through training and conditioning) how to burn fat. It turns out that the human body is somewhat tuned to go about 20 miles. This is an adaption that has come into place over thousands of years; one of the many that differentiate humans from animals, and gives us superior skills in terms of running. A fun read about this is covered in a popular book called Born to Run, although there are again scientific studies to back these claims.
            I would encourage you or anyone else to read more about the relative distance-running adaptations in humans over animals, as I found it a fascinating subject.
            As for brain chemistry … I have never heard a runner feel more stressed out from running. The exact opposite is in fact true. Running releases brain chemicals that are somewhat analgesic and soothing.
            I would encourage you to read more about running and the relative health benefits.

            Also disclaimer: I know the coach in this article. She is awesome.

          • unpofucsia June 28, 2014 at 10:33 am

            I cannot answer to Steve or click on him because it gives me no option to do that so I ll answer here:

            Steve, you gave me a lot of (dismissive) attitude, lobbing, disagreeing but not much evidence that what you say is utter true while what I said is “incorrect ” . While I appreciate your info and I am sure that what you said works for you, I assure you that different even opposite approach form yours is true for many people.

            As for where I got my info from – all the info I got are from certified fitness coaches and trainers as well as some doctors and physical therapists and are backed by scientific research (although everyone who is long enough in academic world – like I am – knows how easily scientific researche can be manipulated and in distortion with real life) more importantly they are backed by MANY real life experiences.

            If you haven’t heard that people can get stressed from intensive workout (and running is an intensive workout for many) I guess you haven’t read enough on that subject – so I urge to research more on that matter .

            Also studies show that that story about brain chemistry and feeling great after ANY kind of physical engagement are simply not true and definitely not for everyone – if you are stressed out and body does not make a difference between mental and physical stress so your body feels like it had lifted weights or run for a looong time just because it is under a constant stress on work, for example, doing some calming slower pace exercise like yoga or pilates or tai chi or walking can help you more than marathon running which can exhaust and stress you even more.

            Then it is also important where we run – there are studies that show that it is even worse for lungs if we run in the cites – we fill our lung with polluted air even more quickly – so that must be held in mind for those who are in urban spaces.

            I completely disagree on what you said about running and how it is natural to human – especially marathon running. People used to run for very short intervals to catch animals or escape from animals or something for example and then rested most of the day .Even when people ran long distances to catch an animal it was very rare and certainly not for pleasure and not as everyday activity. It is hard to understand why would anyone “train for marathon ” out of survival or biological needs … running marathon is as much natural to humans as, let’s say, football is. The fact that it is popular sport does not make it natural to our species or automatically beneficial for everyone.

            I urge you to check Mark Scission’s example to see how he looked and felt when he was a marathon runner (drained , thin and always tired – and he did train for marathon systematically – he did not just jump into some marathon without preparation) and how he finally got his health back when he stop training for marathon.

            As for what you said about marathon running helping bones and joins – I disagree on that or at least you gave too general statement. Sprint (NOT marathon ) under some conditions can be good for joints and bones. Even if what you are saying maybe can be true for some we should be carful here and explain to people that the state of you joins matter big deal as well as surface you are running on etc.

            From all you wrote I can see that you are a bit biased, in a lobbying mood but I guess why is in your last sentence : “Also disclaimer: I know the coach in this article. She is awesome.” If what you wrote was marketing for running marathon or for her you did a lousy job on me 🙂 You gave me the attitude (“I dont know where you got those info but they are not true” ) but not real proof for what you stated.
            Most importantly you missed the point of what I said – I was NOT saying that running is not for anyone I was just saying that is not for everyone and should be approached with great caution and awareness of your lifestyle and your abilities (running and especially preparing for marathon cannot be some kind of fitness trend everyone should just hope on) in that sense serious article on pros and cons when it comes to running would be nice. That was my point.
            I wish you good running – I am glad you have found what is working for you but please leave some space for doubt when it comes to recommending to others your fitness choice.

  2. 2
    Heidi June 27, 2014 at 8:25 am

    I love to run – albeit slowly. I’ve run 5 marathons and 10+ half marathons and I take away something positive from every run. Even the bad ones provide a learning experience. I’m a big fan of Nuun tablets and they’ve made my hydration during a long run so much more enjoyable because I used to struggle to consume water while running. I trained for my first three marathons on my own, but joined a running group for my later marathons. That camaraderie made all the difference in the world. It made skipping a long run impossible knowing that there were other people out there waiting for me. Good luck with your running and keep up the good work.

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      Thanks Heidi! I’m three weeks into running with the group and have already noticed a big difference — the group holds me accountable and definitely pushes me to do a little better than I could on my own!

  3. 3
    Vanessa @ Living in Steil June 27, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Love those running shoes from Brooks!


  4. 4
    jennhb June 27, 2014 at 9:15 am

    You are amazing!!! So grateful to be part of your adventure. <3

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      So grateful to have you part of this adventure!!

  5. 5
    Kirsten June 27, 2014 at 9:21 am

    I can’t think of any cons!! I’m an wish member of Jenn’s group and love every minute of those Tuesday work outs. If you are having a bad day, after the workout, you just feel better!!

  6. 6
    Jo June 27, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Thank you for giving me the boost to try running!! Great article!

  7. 7
    Kathryn June 27, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    KK you inspire and amaze me on the daily! Can’t wait to see future posts! xo.

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      DITTO friend.

  8. 8
    Julie S. June 27, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    What Kathryn said 🙂

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      ah, thank you!!

  9. 9
    Maralyn Beck July 13, 2014 at 10:48 am

    @Kelly — I just wanted you to know, I saw you speak a year ago at PRSA’s southwest conference and have been following you since on Instagram. Two weeks ago, you posted this picture and link to the blog, and I read it while lying in bed, contemplating going to the gym. I am 29 days out from turning 30 — -and the heaviest, least-in-shape, I’ve EVER been in my life. And I saw your post, and skimmed over a few of your most recent posts, and decided then and there, that I am turning over a new leaf, and if you can do it, so can I. I hopped out of bed, and got my butt to step aerobics. It was a comical experience, but I really think showing up was more than half-the-battle. So, wish me luck, and please know, (if it’s not creepy), I’m going to continue to follow your successes via social media! I’m in Baltimore for a work conference, and i’m about to sign off and go to the gym! THANK YOU!

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      Maralyn, that is so seriously cool to hear! There is no better day to start than today. I will be thinking of you & always here if you need to chat! Best of luck — you got this!!

  10. 10
    Nikki August 27, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Can anyone tell me where that entire outfit came from? Grey shirt and black crop pants.. so cute!!

    • Shelly September 16, 2014 at 11:55 am

      I’m wanting to know the EXACT INFO!!! I love the outfit!! Especially the pants!

  11. 11
    Lovely Sharice March 14, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Thanks for this post. I am currently training for a 5k that will take place in 1 month so this post is right on time.

  12. 12
    hergamut May 17, 2016 at 5:35 am

    Great tips and very support, inspirational guide. Thanks for sharing it! loved the running shoe.

  13. 13
    Skeyndor July 22, 2019 at 7:15 am

    This is amazing! I loved all the designs!




Kelly Krause