If you've always wanted to run but don't know where to start, everything from words of encouragement from a fellow runner on the track to knowing that runners come in all shapes and sizes can help motivate you to stick with it at the beginning, when running a mile can seem unimaginable. But many times, finding the courage and motivation to stick with it can still be an uphill battle. So we asked Erica Schenk, 18, who provided serious motivation for real girls and new runners everywhere as the plus-size cover model for the August 2015 issue of Women's Running, for her best advice for anyone who needs a little extra push at the beginning of their running routine.
As a decade-long runner, Erica has some sound tips for beginners: "Start off with a friend, either a veteran to running or a friend who is a newbie too," she says, and also stresses the importance of proper hydration and a pre-workout snack to help set you up for success (her pro move: add a drop of peppermint oil into your water bottle to help you feel refreshed while you're on your run). But we think Erica's best advice for anyone who thinks their size is holding them back may be something you can do from your desk or couch: "Google 'Olympic plus-size athletes,'" she suggests. "They come in all shapes and sizes. Yes they can do incredible things slightly out of reach for a lot of us but it proves that you can be an incredible athlete and plus size." Instead of worrying about what people may think of your new hobby, "if running makes you feel happy and healthy, don't let culture hold you back," she says.