A word that sends shudders through the vast majority of the population, and yet, wildly and enthusiastically embraced by the other small percent.
When we’re children, running is a part of our lives. It’s what we do at school with friends or in sports after school. It’s a part of our play.
Then something happens along the way… we stop doing it… we grow up and (for many) it’s then viewed as “work” “to hard” or something other people can only do. Running definitely takes effort and honestly that’s an effort many prefer to abstain from.
Yet… a few of us grow up.. and wander back to running. Sometimes quite by accident. We’re fortunate to find it later on, still waiting for us. Our abilities to run still very much intact, although often long dormant.
So one day, we take those first tentative steps, and venture out . At first not far and not long and certainly no impressive speed. But we go. And if one stays with it long enough, a fire is kindled and a new romance is born.
Like many others, I came to running later in my life. It’s one of the biggest things I’ve ever done that has empowered me and given me a “I can take on the world” mentality. It’s not only the most mind clearing activity I can do, it’s also the most physically demanding that yields some powerful results. If you’re looking for good cardio calorie burn, 100 calories a mile is pretty good.
So maybe you’re sitting out there thinking… ” I’d like to run again. I have no physical limitations to keep me from trying.. why not ? But… where do I start? How? Don’t a I need a bunch of things?”
Running is one of the easiest ( haha well I use that term loosely here) forms of exercise to get out your door and do. I’ll offer up some “Beginner 101 Tips” for you. I am not an expert… but I have learned a few things along the way =)
Consider this first of all. According to Runners World, almost 50% of new runners get injured in the first year because their bones, ligaments, and muscles aren’t used to the stress of running.
(Basically, running stresses your body, in a good way 😉 these adaptations do take some time though.
Ok you ready… beginning running 101…..
- Shoes. If there is anything essential to running it’s a good pair of shoes. No, you can’t dust off those 10 year old ones you’ve used for lawn work. Go to a sports store and get fitted for a pair. A good pair of shoes will protect you from injury and keep you comfy on the road. Your feet absorb two to four times your body weight with each step… that’s extreme! I joke my running shoes are the most expensive shoe in my closet …and it’s true.
- Start slowly. If you are a walker already it’s a natural progression to put short mixes of running into your walk. If you are hitting the road with no experience walking (I believe) is the best thing to start for a week or so to let your muscles get used to that movement before starting with some running. If you are having a hard time talking or can’t carry a comfortable conversation…. drop into a walk break. Walk breaks also allow you to stay out longer building cardiovascular stamina as your bones and muscles adapt. In time, you’ll need shorter breaks.
- Try running by time and not distance. Add 5-10 minutes of running per week. Back off slightly every fourth week to let your musculo-skeletal system develop. If you do miles, increase each week no more than 10%.
- Make a commitment, get an accountability partner to encourage or help you.
- Food. Eat nutritious healthy foods to support your exercise. Don’t overdo on your eating. Yes, running burns calories, but keep in mind again, it’s about 100 calories per mile, running. It doesn’t take much to negate your calorie burn.
- Finally, set a realistic running goal. A 5K is often a good first race for beginning runners. It’s easy to train for and a fun event.
Are there other things you need? Should have? For the longest time when I first started running, I ran in cheapy Wal-mart cotton shorts and tanks. Then one day I encountered Nike dri wick shirts… bought one… and fell in love. The fabric wicks moisture away from you, hopefully so you don’t have a soggy shirt hanging off you.
I learned about shorts. Everyone has preferences. I got rid of those windbreaker loose leg ones mainly ’cause that fabric tended to just get bunched up in annoying ways. When I stumbled on Nikes tight fit boy shorts, I never looked back. Sleek, minimal and easy to wear they are perfect for me. The bottom line ? Find what works best for…you. You don’t want to be bothered by your clothing, shoes or any other gear during your run.
GPS watches etc…. I ran for years without one. I drove out every mile I ran and knew everything in my head by miles. I’d lay in bed the night before a run and plot out which roads I needed to run to get my miles in. Don’t get me wrong, when I got my Nike+ watch a few years ago, I was a pretty happy camper. By then though, I also considered myself a pretty serious runner and knew I’d use it.
Ipod… or other musical devices. Again, I ran for years without music. One day I just bought a cheapy Ipod shuffle on E-bay… and boom… somehow… it kicked my pace down some. I like the shuffle cause it’s super tiny and I never know it’s on me.
I consider myself kind of a minimalist runner. I love running because it makes me feel free. I don’t want to be dragging a whole bunch of junk along.
So… yes… there are all kinds of things you can use for running. Running has lots of high tech stuff you can use now days. It comes down to total personal preferences.
Only a couple are really required to enjoy this sport…
Good shoes and a willing heart =) don’t get bogged down with things… just get out there…and as Nike says…. “Just Do It”
Happy running boys and girls!