Are you where you want to be in your health and running journey? This is a VERY cool and FREE tool to figure out how you’re doing and what you need to do to get to where you WANT to be. It takes less than 2 minutes to fill out —> HEALTHPRINT (log in as “guest”). I will receive a copy of the results and will send you an e-mail to discuss your results and what we can do to help you reach your nutritional goals. Feel free to reach out any questions by e-mailing me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that most of the kids (not mine yet!) are back in school, we are about to have some newbie mother (and father) runners join the ranks! While starting a running program can seem daunting, it’s one of the best decisions you can make. In honor of our new recruits, here is a list of my best advice for beginning runners:
Invest in Good Running Shoes
I’m not saying that you have to go out and spend $150 on a new pair or running shoes, BUT please locate your nearest local running store and head there to get fitted. Going to a running-specific store is advantageous for a lot of reasons, one of which is that you will be fitted by someone who actual runs and is familiar with the different running shoe lines and models.
He/she will ask important questions about your running history, past injuries, training plans, etc. You may even get to run on a treadmill, so that your fitter can take a look at your stride. Personally, I recommend sticking with one of the following brands (these companies develop shoes specifically for running, rather than fashion!): ASICS, Brooks, or Saucony. There are other running shoe companies you can start to experiment with as you advance with your training.
Increase Mileage Gradually
When you first starting running, you will improve really quickly if you’re consistent. You start feeling good, and it’s sometimes hard not to do too much too soon. Try starting with a walk/run program like Couch to 5K. Like the old adage goes, just because one is good, doesn’t mean two is better! The same goes for miles in the beginning. Ride the runner’s high and stop while you’re ahead. 🙂 In time, you will be headed out on long runs and running more miles than you know what to do with!
Find a Running Partner or Running Group
Motivation can be really high when you first start a new running regimen, but it tends to decrease after the first few weeks. It’s a great idea to find a local running partner or running group to help keep you accountable. Start by looking for your local track club. Don’t be intimated by the “running club” or “track club” name. Runners come in all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Local running groups often host organized weekend long runs, local races, social events– they’re a great resource for new runners!
If you don’t want to join a group, what about enlisting a friend or co-worker to start running with you? Having someone relying on you to show up for a run is a great kick in the pants when you need it!
Set a Goal
As I mentioned above, sometimes your motivation takes a nose dive a few weeks after you start running. Another way of staying motivated is to set a goal. Signing up for a local race like a 5k will help keep your training on track and give you a benchmark for your progress. You won’t believe how amazing you feel as you cross the finish line of your first race! If you haven’t raced before, try not to set a time goal– you just want to finish the distance the first time you run it. There will be plenty of time to chase personal records (PRs) later!
Create an Energizing Playlist
Music always pumps me up, and I love creating energizing playlists for runs and races. I don’t always run with music, but I usually do for racing and for long runs. Studies have shown that music is a very powerful motivator, so harness the power on your next training run! If music’s not your thing, try a podcast or audible book. Lately, I have been listening to podcasts on my long runs–it’s a great way to pass the time!
Download Your Favorite Running App
There are a TON of running apps available for download on iOS or Android smart phones. If you aren’t sure that you want to invest in a GPS watch just yet, you can get all of the same features from these apps. Some of my favorites are Strava and RunKeeper. Using running apps allows you to track your pace, distance, and time while running. You can even view your route on the map while you’re running!
Many of the apps also have a social component, allowing you to connect with friends to motivate each other and compete in challenges. One of my favorite features of using these tracking apps is that you can look back over your training to see your progress. It’s pretty cool to see a year’s worth of miles logged on the calendar. You can also dig through the data, to see trends in your improvement and make changes when needed. You can click here for a list of the best running apps.
Stay Safe on the Run
It’s important to stay safe when you start a running program, and part of that is making sure that you always carry proper identification. God forbid something happens to you when you’re running, it’s important that your personal information be readily available to whoever stops to help. There are some really sad stories of people ending up in the hospital unidentified after being found on a running route, and that’s why I wear my Road ID on every run!
You should also make sure that if you are running in the dark, you wear proper reflective gear. Drivers are as distracted as ever right now, and you need to assume that they don’t see you. Light yourself up like a Christmas tree! 🙂 Don’t forget sun protection either– runners are at risk for skin cancer because we spend so much time outside running in the sun!
Listen to Your Body
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to listen to your body. Starting a running program is one of the best decisions you can make to get healthy, but you don’t want to jeopardize that by injuring yourself. I’m not saying that it’s not a good idea to push yourself sometimes; but when you’re starting out, take care to listen to your body if it’s in pain or it’s telling you that you need to take a rest day. While you may feel like it’s taking a step back, trust me– it will pay off later!