Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Random Runner's Guide to Becoming a Runner

Learn how to go from zero to running your first 5K. You CAN do it! #running #run #5K #training #skinnymsI know I once said that I really have now clue what I'm doing when it comes to running...and that any advice I give should be taken with a grain of salt.  Well...it's advice time.  When I started this blog I had several friends you mentioned they've thought about running, but just never got the urge to start.  I'm hoping this post will give you the know-how (and hopefully some motivation) to get out there and become a runner too.

This post is based on my experiences, as well as some other "not so random" runners that I know.  In other words...this is based on people who know what they are talking about.

First, let's talk about what supplies you will need to get started.  Just like you spent hours making sure your children had the right supplies to go back to school (pencils...already sharpened, light blue folder...brads and pockets but not dark blue), you need to make sure you have the right supplies to run.  Here are the basic supplies you need (let's work from the ground up):
  • Running shoes.  Those canvas Keds you have at the bottom of your closet are not going to work...neither are the tennis shoes that you wear so much that they are your trademark.  You need shoes that are designed for running.  You need shoes that are comfortable for you.  It's time to go shopping!  When you try shoes on, run down the aisle to see how they feel.  You might get some strange looks, but who cares.  These are your feet you're talking about...you need to make sure they are comfy!  You don't need to start off with the most expensive pair you can find...but I wouldn't suggest the cheapest either.  Here's a little trick I learned going into one of those fancy, expensive running stores.  Always buy running shoes 1 full size larger than you normally wear.  When you run your toes swell, and they need extra room.  Otherwise, you can end up with blisters under your toe nails.  Blisters under your toe nails lead to black & blue toe nails.  Black & blue toe nails lead to loosing a toe nail.  Loosing a toe nail lead to painting your toe with nail polish so it looks like there's still a nail there.  Don't paint your toes with nail polish...get the right size shoes instead.
  • Socks, Shorts, Shirt.  Please wear them.  Thanks.
  • Sports Bra.  Got. To. Have. One.  (Okay, guys get a pass on this one.)  You will not be happy if you run in a regular bra...or even the super cheap sports bra. Make sure you have one with good support for running.  I didn't realize beforehand that it makes a difference...but trust me the girls will be very grateful!  
  • Phone running app.  If you just go out and try to run as far as you can you will quickly get frustrated and give up.  You need a plan to slowly work you up to the longer distances. There are soooo many couch to 5k type apps out there.  You will definitely need one!  When you start running you will be doing intervals...such as run 60 seconds then walk 90 seconds.  You can keep track of that on a stop watch...but it's so much easier to let the app do that for you.  Your app will also keep track of our pace, distance and other cool stuff.  I would highly recommend Ease into 5k by Bluefin Software.  That's the app I used and I really liked it.  It will even play music from your phone...and good fast music will help keep you moving.  I would highly suggest some kind of arm or belt case for your phone.  Your hand will get sweaty and you don't want to drop and shatter your phone.  I know this from experience. (Can you say shattered iPhone?)
Now that you have you have your supplies it's time to move on to the hard part...the run.  

so true.
First you need to figure out when you can run.  Do you have time in the morning?  Are you better at exercising at night?  Go with what works best for you.  If you're fighting time you'll be less likely to make it out the door.  Just don't think about running right after you eat, you'll be sorry.  

Next, you need to decide if you would run best solo or with an accountability partner.  I prefer to run by myself...but there are lots of people that do better with someone there to nudge you on.  That's the person you don't want to leave hanging by not showing up.  It's also the person that will help you keep going when you're ready to quit.

Last decide where you will run.  Whatever you do don't start off running steep hills!!!  Find someplace that's relatively flat...you'll have plenty of opportunities to add in some hills once you get in a few runs under your belt and you feel a little more confident.

Once you have your gear and you've figured out all the logistics it's time to lace up those shoes and hit the road.  Take it slow and easy at first.  Don't push yourself to go too fast or you risk the chance of getting injured.  Make sure you rest between running days.  Remember...you're muscles are not used to this and are probably screaming for mercy.  For goodness sake let them rest and get used to the idea.  

Whatever you do...don't worry about what you look like.  You may feel like you're an elephant stampeding through peanut butter...but I promise that's now what you look like.  Since I was 36 when I started to run I felt like experienced runners were laughing at me whenever I ran.  Since then I've learned that runners are a special breed of people.  They are supportive of each other...no matter how slow you go or how many walk breaks you need to take.  There are some runners out there that have been running longer than they can remember...but there are far more of us that took up the sport in their 20s, 30s, 40s, or later.  We can all remember those early runs...and know how you feel.

So...I promised real running advice from real runners.  Here is what Tasha, LeAnn, Katie and Heather said:

When the little voice talks, just let your mind take a walk, and keep going!
  • Get good shoes
  • Find an accountability partner
  • Start slow to avoid injury and burnout
  • Don't give up
  • If you do give up, start again
  • Have goals
  • Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle
  • Focus on baby steps
  • Slow down when you're tired instead of walking
  • Just keep going
  • Despite the fact that you're running, it's not a race, so just keep moving
  • Take rest days between runs
  • It is the easiest habit to fall into, and the easiest habit to fall out of

I've learned that I need to set goals for motivation.  I've told myself that when I run 5 minutes straight I can get a new pair of running shorts, or that when I run 10 minutes with no stops I can get the sparkly headband I've been wanting.  Find what will work for you to keep you moving...and keep you walking out the door.

Another good motivation is to sign up for a race.  If you've signed up (and paid your money) you are more likely to keep with it.  Get some friends to sign up with you and make it into a party.  It will make all that hard work worthwhile.

My last piece of advice...HAVE FUN!!!  Be proud of yourself, because once you start, you are now a runner.
you are a runner

1 comment:

  1. Great tips for beginners! When shopping for your first shoes, I also recommend going to a real running store with sales reps who are trained to analyze your gait and help you select the right category of shoes (neutral, motion control, etc.).