I am a runner. I have been a runner for about 2 years now. I was never a runner before that and I had never thought I would ever be one. I’ve noticed people think running is this hard, intimidating thing (as I once thought) but everyone seems intrigued by it. I think everyone knows its hard and therefore they admire people who do it, so why not try running yourself? It can be scary to get started so I put together my list of the top things you need to do to get started!
Have a plan
The most intimidating thing is wondering how you even go about starting to run. Whether you use a training plan such as Couch to 5K or just try running as far/long as you can on your own, you should have some sort of schedule. By having a schedule, you will be more likely to follow and stick with it. Remember to make goals and reward yourself for sticking with it. You can get a new running shift after making 6 consecutive running workouts perhaps. Do whatever you can to make sure you stick with your plan!
Do some reading
Everyone know hows to run, but most people don’t run properly. It may seem silly but read up on proper running techniques and form. Also, make sure you read about hydrating during runs and how to fuel your runs so you don’t feel like crap during your workout. It may seem silly but it definitely makes a world of difference. Besides, reading about running can be very motivating to get you going!
I have this book and I recommend it for any beginner runners!
Get a good pair of running shoes
Note that I said running shoes and not “sneakers” or “tennis shoes”. Tennis shoes are for tennis. Running shoes are for running. Sneakers can be for tennis, running, weight lifting, Zumba, cross training, spinning, etc. Make sure you get running shoes. And don’t be afraid to spend a little bit on them. The cheaper you go, the more likely you’ll have problems. I started off with normal sneakers and had shin splints. I spent a little bit of money on a nice pair of running sneakers and all the pain went away. Trust me, get yourself a nice pair! And if you are unsure in the running world what pronation is, go to a specialty shop where they can help you pick out the right pair for you (http://www.nikerunning.com/ also has a little tool you can use to help figure this out). Shoes do all sorts of crazy things now to correct your stride. This can be good and bad (just ask a die hard barefoot runner – they make shoes for that too if you are interested). Get fitted, buy a nice pair, and tack on a few pairs of non-cotton breathable socks.
Find a place you enjoy running
If you don’t like where you are running, you aren’t going to keep running. Find a nice park or a route with interesting views to keep you occupied. If you dread going to your route, it is going to be that much harder to get started! Since running is so popular now, there are tons of trails popping up everywhere for such activities. Find someplace you like that isn’t too far out of your way (because convenience is also important!) and give it a shot!
Sign up for a 5K
I can’t tell you how important this step is, or it was for me anyway. I had such a hard time taking that first step (ahaha I am so funny) until I commited to a 5K with a friend. Make sure you give yourself at least 10 weeks to train for the 3.1 mile distance and find a training plan (back to #1). You can use C25K (couch to 5K) or even Hal Higdon’s plans. Knowing that you will have to complete a 5K in the near future will really help to get you moving. Besides, once you finish your first race, you will probably be hooked. The excitement of the day and the amazing support from the spectators will give you plenty of motivation to keep running after the 5K is done with.
Find a buddy
It can be a real life friend that you decided to run with or it can be an online support community, but find someone who is reliable and will check in with you to see how you are doing. It doesn’t have to be a new runner, it can be an experienced runner. It can even just be a family member who calls you each week to see how your runs went. Someone who will keep you accountable. Of course, it help immensely if you do find someone to run with. Its hard to skip a Saturday morning run when you know your friend is waiting at the park for you, ready to go!
Get out the door and go!
Finally, just lace up your new running shoes and get out that door! You can run as long as you want, as fast or as slow as you want, wherever you want (where it is safe of course). Walking 50% of your run is better than sitting on the couch for 100% of that same time. Running is all about yourself and not competing with others. Don’t worry about how fast someone else is going on the treadmill at the gym or about someone else’s 5K time. Worry about doing it for yourself and sooner than you know it, you will be calling yourself a runner!