Does it seem like everybody, everywhere, has suddenly become obsessed with running? Blame it on lockdowns and gym closures over the past two years, but you’re not alone if you’ve gradually been seeing an extra dose of STRAVA tracks and sweaty selfies pop up on your Instagram feeds lately.

I don’t know if it was a case of FOMO or the year going a million miles a minute, but suddenly, I too wanted to get in on the running action. My sudden urge to get moving came at the exact time Laura Henshaw and Steph Miller’s Keep It Cleaner Running Program flashed across my radar — naturally, it felt like a sign from the universe.

For those unfamiliar, Keep It Cleaner (or KIC) was founded by the pair in 2017, and has since turned into one of Australia’s leading fitness and lifestyle apps and communities, offering unique and targeted workouts, from HIIT and Strength Training to KIC Bump for pre and post-pregnancy.

The KIC Running Program is the app's latest extension, launched at the end of 2021, and is an 8-week program aimed at helping users run 5kms “with confidence.” It was developed alongside a team of experts and features a guided audio program — by Laura, of course — which not only hopes to gradually build on stamina, but dismantle feelings of self-doubt too.

If you’re like me and looking to get into running, below I’ve outlined exactly what my experiences were like with the KIC Running Program. You can try Keep IT Cleaner one month free on the Her Black Book app with our exclusive code.  

This comes as no surprise, but the hardest part about starting, is… starting.

I’ve followed Laura for quite a while on Instagram, so I know just how pivotal a role running plays in her life — both physically and mentally. She wrote about her own personal journey into running on the KIC blog, explaining:

The good thing about the KIC Running Program, right off the bat, is that it doesn’t overwhelm you all at once. It eases you in, combining sections of running and walking (starting at just 30 seconds) and slowly works its way up week by week. If you’ve never been on a run before, don’t think this is going to knock the wind out of you, it truly is a slow and gentle easing into running.

What I found difficult about the program, is that I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of pace… I wanted to be quick, like now. Realistically, that’s just not how it works. Luckily, Laura is there to remind you that it’s not about speed, it’s about finding a comfortable rhythm that works for your body, one that will also naturally improve with experience and practice.

And yes, naturally some days are harder than others, but that feeling of completing a run, is pretty spectacular. Basically, I’ve never regretted a single run once I’d gotten it done.

Admittedly, I didn’t do the 8-week program in the 8 weeks, it took me around 11 — taking breaks and sticking to my other favourite exercises in between, but even so, the day that you hit 5kms is one to remember, and like you’ve truly accomplished something.

If you’re still umming and ahhing about whether or not running is for you, I always try to remember that the journey is completely my own, and not to be compared to others.

I love this excerpt Steph wrote for Women’s Health, “I realised that a lot of the hatred I had for running stemmed from my comparisons. I would always compare my runs to others’ and judge myself for my slow pace or my short distance, leaving me feeling deflated. As soon as I stopped doing this and accepted my running abilities for what they were and understood that it takes time to build fitness, I started to ‘hate’ running a little less. When that little negative and self-deprecating voice ever popped in, I would give myself a compliment on my run, and think ‘I should be so proud of myself for getting this far’. This new mindset then spurred me on to start running more frequently and in turn I was able to realise WHY people run: because of that post-run high!”

If your goal for 2022 is to become a runner — or at least start running — then why not try the Keep It Cleaner Running Program. On the Her Black Book app, you can receive one month free on the Keep It Cleaner app, so why not test it out.