Are you a newbie to the running scene? Chances are you just watched a marathon on the news or admired someone jogging by with a crazy smile on their face. You’re immediately filled with concern, then wonder, and then an inclination to grab your sneaks and hit the pavement. Whatever your motivation, you’ve already made that crucial first step in becoming a runner: deciding you wanted to become one.
Ask someone who considers themselves a runner why they do it. While some are more enthusiastic (ie: crazy) than others with their response, they all seem to have the same thing to say. You’ll get a mix of “It’s relaxing”; “It’s when I think”; “It’s such a release”; and, possibly the most dumbfounding to understand amongst non-runners, the “I get such a high when I do, usually at mile 5 and onward”. Coming from someone who used to run distance I can say two things: 1) all of those statements are true and 2) you’ll literally never know if it applies to you until you try.
There are so many different ways to start running. First things first: find your motivation. It has to be the kind that comes from within and not the kind that stems from the desire to mirror those who are already running. You have to want to tackle this for yourself, and commit to it. Once you’ve done that, come back to this article and take these tips as serious advice. (Or google research it yourself, I promise I won’t be offended)
1. Be a little vain at first. Go out and buy running outfits that are comfortable, breathable and make you feel good.
2. Make sure your sneakers work for you. Some prefer a lightweight minimalist shoe, some might prefer something with a little more support. Go out there and try on different brands until the shoe fits, pun intended.
3. Start slow. Be realistic with the distance and pace you’re going to be starting at. You’ll gradually work up your mileage but it might take some time. Recognize that you are not going to initially bang out 10 mile runs with ease. You might have to walk during your first mile, or take 5 breaks during your first 5 miler. Be okay with that and enjoy the ride.
4. Get out the door. It’s the first step to getting your run in. If ever you are feeling unmotivated do the following: think of how you’ll feel after you squeeze in a few miles, and then don’t think- walk out the door.
5. Keep a running log. Once you figure out a method that works for you, start writing things down. Record your mileage, pace, how you felt before and after, what music helped you eek out the last 1/4 mile- whatever comes to mind. It’s a physical way to compare runs and track your progress.
6. Be consistent. The longer you go without running, the harder it is to get back into the swing of things. You’ll be amazed at how fast you lose your rhythm and breath control. So make a schedule, stick to it, and run at least 3 days a week.
7. But don’t just run. Continue to be active on your non-distance days. (These days are usually specified in a running plan if you are training for something special) Whether it’s yoga or pilates or weight training in the gym, it’s beneficial to build lean muscle.
8. Drink more water. And bring some on your run. If you are thirsty, you are bordering dehydration. Take your body weight in pounds, divide it in half, and that’s the minimum ounces of water you should consume a day. (ex: you weigh 150lbs, drink at least 75oz daily- and that’s without running!) Don’t take this lightly- there is nothing worse than a dehydrated run.
9. Eat well. As with most physical exercise, carb up before and consume protein after. Amounts of each depend on the distance you’re planning on tackling that day- your 10mile run requires more energy than a 2 miler.
10. Have fun. Reread #3. Whether you are taking up running as a means to lose weight, increase your stamina and overall fitness, or to see what the hypes all about- be sure you actually like it. Remember as long as you are consistent with your plan, you will improve.
So go out there and test your limits, see just what your body is capable of. Tell yourself you can, and you will. Anyone can run.
Note: some of these ideas belong to runnersworld.com, some are my own. Have to give credit where it’s due because that website rocks. Here’s the link.