I loved running from the start is not something you hear most people say. Sanya Richards-Ross is not most people. The Jamaican American track and field star has not one but five Olympic medals under her belt—four of which happen to be gold. When an injury and health problem almost took her out of the race (literally) in 2007, Richards-Ross persevered with not only her physical strength but also her mental stamina; the gold medals followed. Her journey is an inspiring one, starting when she was only 7 years old. “It was the most amazing feeling,” she says about her first time running. “I felt like I was flying.” Our own feelings toward running are decidedly less enthusiastic, though we’d love to eventually get there—which is why we were thrilled when Richards-Ross agreed to share her motivation secrets. Ahead, you’ll find her thoughtful advice on how to make running a habit that you’ll enjoy and even look forward to. Fancy that. Keep scrolling to see her tips!
If you’re a running newbie, Richards-Ross says to start slow by incorporating 30 minutes of running and walking into your daily routine—and don’t be ashamed if you do more walking than running. Another piece of valuable advice? Get in tune with your body. “I believe it’s okay not to set any goals for the first week,” she says. “Just run and listen to your body. If you feel good, keep running; if you don’t, start walking.” The most important thing is to keep moving in the early stages. Richards-Ross says to remember that running is the best whole-body exercise you can do, and to keep at it for at least 21 days—that’s about how long it takes to turn anything into a habit.