5 Things Every New Runner Should Do

2 Jun

                                                                          Image from Pinterest.

I’ve been a runner since high school, and have been a runner for more than 20 years (I’m not telling you how many). I wish I could say a love of the sport is what initially led me to running, but the truth is, I had a huge unrequited crush on the coach’s son. That handsome boy (and his rocking mullet) led me to the sport that would become central to my life. Running is my therapy. It’s how I work through life’s big problems, keep in shape and spend time with friends. Running is the most honest sport out there, in my opinion. You learn a lot about yourself and your limits when you’re pushing yourself up a hill in the wee hours of the morning. It’s just you, your breath and the sound of sneakers on pavement.

Since those days in high school, I’ve run countless races ranging from a 5K (3.1 miles)to 15K (9.3 miles) to my very first marathon two years ago.

When I started running, I had the benefit of an experienced and talented coach. He told us what to run, and not matter how much we knew it would challenge us, we did it. (Okay, some of us may have occasionally stopped at a pizza place during a longer run…sorry, Mr. Whitehouse.) If you’d like to take your first steps toward a life long love affair with running, or maybe just flirt with it a little, let me share some words of wisdom with you.

1. Get yourself a good pair of sneakers. Sneakers are the only real piece of equipment you need for running. Your feet strike the ground thousands of times every mile and a pair that it not appropriate for your size and weight or your foot shape and stride can lead you very quickly to injury. Find your local running store. Those folks will be passionate about running and knowledgeable about what running shoe will be best for you. Remember, i’s not about buying the most expensive sneaker, it’s about buying one that is right for you. Ladies, you’ll also need to invest in a good athletic bra, particularly if you’re big busted. I’ve purchased mine from athletic stores and places like Target. 

2. When you first start out, do not worry about mileage. Focus on time. Start out by trying to run without stopping for 2 minutes, then walk, and then run again. Eventually you’ll want to build up to 30 minutes of running without walking or stopping. And don’t feel self-conscious about walking. Walking can be a legitimate strategy – even in races like the marathon. Be sure to hydrate before and after each training session.

3. Set a goal. Personally, I find it much easier to stay committed to something when I have a clear objective. Find a short, flat race as your first race. 5K is a great starting distance. Be certain to pick a race that is around 2 months away if you’re just starting out. You want enough of a sense of urgency that you get out the door every morning, but not so much that you panic and not so little that you start to sleep in everyday!

4. Find a buddy. Having someone to train with can be a great. A partner can help keep you motivated – it helps you get out of bed in the morning knowing someone is waiting for you. Your local running shop or gym can be a great place to find someone. I found my best friend when a mutual friend talked us both into training for a marathon! Don’t be shy – just ask!

5. Know that you can do it! I’ve been passed by people of every size, shape and age in the races I’ve run over the years. They all have one thing in common: they kept going. Running gives back what you put in. Be consistent with your training and keep putting one foot in front of the other. In no time at all, you’ll develop a love of running too!

If you’d like learn more here are some fantastic online resources:

The Couch to 5K Training Program  – 60 Days to your first 5K!
The Runner’s World 8 Week Beginner Runner’s Training Program  – Runner’s World online is a great resource, with information for beginner runners on gear, sneakers and training.
Hal Higdon – This running expert has training schedules for every fitness level and nearly every race distance. It was his schedule that I used to train for my first marathon.

Runners, are there any tip you’d like to share? Any questions?

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11 Responses to “5 Things Every New Runner Should Do”

  1. kayleekingpdq June 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Love this! I have been running a year now. I started with the C25K program! I was bitten by the “RUNNING BUG” and now I LOVE it! I am proud to say that I have now completed 3 half marathons and am planning on completing a full soon! You can see some of my running progress here… http://www.itsthekingslife.blogspot.com

    Can’t wait to read more on your blog! Love it!

    • Beth - Realist Mom June 2, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by! Your running is fantastic – it is so easy to LOVE! i just signed up for my second marathon. Which one are you shoot for? Going to check out your blog right now!

  2. julie June 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    I agree, wholeheartedly that running is an honest sport and “it’s just you, your breath and the sound of sneakers on pavement.” (Although my dog comes with me which I love. She infuses such joy into everything she does.)

    I’ve had to stop running for a while. I used to run regularly. Now my right knee & hip hurt when I run, so I just walk – fast.

    Great post. Thanks

  3. Laura June 2, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    I’ve been running off and on for several years now and trying to get myself back on a more regular schedule. I love that you mentioned Hal Higdon. I’m actually using his half marathon training plan to prepare for a race that’s coming up in September. 😉

    I enjoyed your list post, great tips!

    • Beth - Realist Mom June 2, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

      I really appreciate you stopping by! I love the Higdon schedules. I found them really manageable when I trained for my first marathon. Good luck with your half!!

  4. Rebecca June 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Looks like I’m the loser here. 😉 I don’t run. I can’t run. Could never run. I have a spine that complains from time to time, so no running for me. But even when I was young, I couldn’t run. I have always been, uh, well-endowed. They used to actually even be containable, long ago, when I was about 14 to 17 years old…. *sigh* but I took aerobics in dance class (for drama school). OMG after doing that for a year, my bust sags to my waist now. :-p No more bouncing.

    Your post is great, though– very encouraging. If I could run, I’d feel inspired to do it!

    • Beth - Realist Mom June 5, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

      Thanks Rebecca! I can say, with all certainty, that the “girls” have never stopped me from running – they can’t even stop crumbs from reaching my lap!

  5. Lisa June 11, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    I came from the SITS blog challenge, and I love this post! I’m a wanna-be runner; I think about it then realize how heavy I am and how much it will likely kick my backside when I try. But your post gives me hope….thank you 🙂

    • Beth - Realist Mom June 11, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

      I wish I could take you along so that you could see all the different sizes and shapes of runners there are. That’s why I love it – it’s really all inclusive! If running is something you want to do – go for it! I remember my first runs back after I had my oldest daughter – I had gained 60 lbs during my pregnancy. Did it suck those first weeks? Hell yes. But it got easier and better, and I got stronger – and that’s what it all about!! Thanks for your kind words – I really appreciate them.

  6. Kenda June 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Great post! I agree that signing up for a race is one of my biggest motivators. I also have a dailymile.com account. It links up to my facebook so that everytime I post a run it automatically posts on my facebook. It helps keep motivated knowing that everyone can see how I am doing 🙂

    • Beth - Realist Mom June 16, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

      Thank you. I really like mapmyrun.com to keep track of my runs – that also posts on Facebook.

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