So You Want To Be A Runner

I was checking my notifications the other day and realized someone had tagged me in their friends post. This person was looking for advice on starting to run, ideally when the weather was warmer and how did they start?

Ok, first of all, running is a pretty natural thing. Our bodies are designed for it and most are capable of doing it.

Most don’t do it because well let’s be honest, it’s hard.  I was thinking on a run the other day the only way to get better or stronger at it is to constantly push myself out of my comfort zone.

I can run decently fast ( I think) for a middle aged woman tipping into her senior discount years. Speed is relevant depending on the individual and certainly not a factor to being a good runner. I just like being able to do it. I know when I get out of my comfort zone I’m capable of delivering up faster speeds…

 

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Somehow my running evolved into doing a run and cycle event with my first duathlon last Nov.

 

 

Faster speeds though are hard, require a lot more effort than an easy run, and can make me feel powerful and helpless all at once.

So that being said, anyone can run if they don’t have some health limitation ( and thinking it’s hard doesn’t count)

The next thing. I’m not an expert, ok?

I’m not some running coach or a person who’s run their entire life. ( I was in my late 40’s when I got started) I never, ever would’ve thought I’d become a runner. Ever.

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And then… all the sudden…. I’m finishing a 50K….  am I a runner now??

 

 

I do think now in terms of miles and distance. I think that a mile driving or on a treadmill is…. for….ever….but a mile on foot can go by rather quickly. I can grumble driving behind a slow person that I could run there faster… yeah….

I guess I’m a runner.

I believe anyone can go run without having to focus on all the technical stuff, unless you have big goals and want to keep improving your game.

Then we need to talk about intervals, speed training, long runs, negative splits and pacing etc….

Well how do I get started?

Listen, you don’t need a lot of fancy gear to run but you do need some solid good shoes under you.

** hubby does delight in reminding me how my low maintenance, not expensive athletic shenanigans have changed** haha the more you get into it, the more cool stuff you find to make it fun…

I spend more money on my running shoes than anything that goes on my feet. Other than my cycling shoes but thankfully those last longer since they aren’t taking a pounding.

Go to a sports store and try several on. Don’t drag out shoes you’ve had 5 years… please don’t.

And don’t buy the prettiest ones. I’m right there with you on liking those but you really need to go for what fits and supports you best and then go for your color.

Once you get set with your shoes, you can pretty much wear what you’re most comfortable in.  Again, the more time you spend doing it, the more you’ll figure out how you’re most comfortable doing it.  What you choose to run in will be determined by your budget, how much you like to be covered, and how you can stay cool/warm enough doing it.

I’ve actually learned to shop discount type stores and have found name brand sports bras and the boy shorts I prefer to run in at a fraction of the cost as the sports store sells them.

The weather, to run or not to run

 

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Enjoying a rare sunny warm run in Feb.

 

 

When I first started off with my running adventures I was what I now think of as a “fair weather” runner. If the weather was the slightest bit not good, I stayed in for another type of workout.

Funny thing over these years how that has changed. I’ve trained in everything from pouring rain, to freezing cold with wind slicing through me. Maybe I am crazy.. or ridiculously disciplined.. there could be a fine line there..

If I have an event I’m training for my take is, I have no idea what the weather will be like on race day. If I train in it all, then I’m better prepared for whatever it is.

I weirdly now like being out when the weather is a bit rough and less than perfect. But that’s me… were talking about you…

This will all come down to what you want to do, your commitment, and if it’s a matter of staying in for safety ( I won’t run in fog, lightning or icy roads there is to much risk)

If it’s cold, layer up accordingly but keep in mind running warms you up fast! I know once I hit my first mile all engines are go and I am often tossing something in the trees till I come back by to claim it. I just don’t run as well being to warm, and you probably won’t either.

You will have to determine how much layering you need to stay comfortable.

Same with hot weather, getting over heated or having soggy clothes hanging off of your body isn’t fun ( hello dri-wick fabric) how much you run in to stay cool will be determined by your personal level of modesty and what you can move best in. I spend most of my time in boy shorts and a sports bra and I’m comfortable in that.

Hitting the road

Assuming you’ve not run before, or haven’t run in a long time, I’m going to suggest you start the way I basically fell into running…

the walk/run method. It’s a great way to practice running yet allowing your body to adapt to the rigors that running places on it. It can also protect you from injury when you do to much to soon.

You start off with small increments of  walking,  and running. If you’ve never run before those running seconds might seem like eternity to you, trust me, the wheels won’t fall off, hold on.

Using a walk/ run method allows you to gradually increase your running time and ease into your mileage.

Start with this plan to get you going

So that’s about it peeps. If you want to run, it’s easy to get started. You just have to get your mind in gear to make it happen, and hey, don’t forget to go get those cool new running shoes!

Do you run? What do you enjoy most about it?  Do you want to but haven’t known how to get started?

 

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Beginner Basics For Running

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On course and pushing to the finish line of last years Rock n Roll Marathon. After 26 miles, why does the last “.2” seem to take forever to get to the finish line ??

Running.

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!