Beginning Running Tips, from a Beginner

Apr 13, 2012

Sunday I had my best run ever.  Ever.  Not necessarily my best time ever, though my time was good, but my best run ever.  I felt great.  I wasn't worried about how much farther I had to go.  I wasn't worried about if I was going ot have to walk.  I was just running.  If every run was like that, I would LOVE running.  Right now, I just sorta like it.  I am hoping the more I do it, the more runs I will have like the one on Sunday.  For the record, I ran 4 miles at a pace of 9:27/mile.  And that was after doing 6 miles on saturday.  Yes, I know.  I am not crushing any land speed records, but for me, that is an EXCELLENT time.  I typically run right at a 10 minute mile.

And the key is in these two words  ... FOR ME.  I read this quote on Pinterest and it completely resonated with me:

"It is very hard to understand in the begining that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants to quit"

This (among other things) is why I run.  Because I always thought I couldn't.  Because I always thought that it was one of those things that people that were skinny and in shape did.  But, I was wrong.  And I can do it.  And you can too, if you try!

Know if you are just starting out, that there will likely be a lot of times where it won't be fun.  I may have uttered a few of these from time to time:

"This is torture, why am I doing this again?"

"Why is this so hard, I have been running for months?"

"I hate running"

"Well, that run sucked"

"I am just going to quit, I am never going to be good at this"

But then there are the days like Sunday where it all comes together and you can think of nothing else you would rather be doing, then, it is all worth it!

I still consider myself a novice runner, but here are my top 10 tips that I would pass along to any of you that may be just starting your journey. 

**Please read in David Letterman Top 10 fashion!

The Top Ten Things I wish someone would have told me about Running before I started:

10.  It's going to suck for awhile.  There is just no getting around it.  Especially if you are starting from scratch.  Running is hard.  You are going to sweat.  You are going to be out of breath.  You are going to be tired.  You are probably going to be sore.  But these are all good things that will pay dividends in the end.

9.  It does get better.  Eventually, it will all be worth it.  Like when the weight starts falling off.  When you finish 3 miles and know that you could go for at least 1 more, maybe 2.  When you run with no thought of stopping.  When you can eat that Mint Oreo Blizzard with no guilt.  When you go buy pants that are 3 sizes smaller.  Oh yeah, it does get better.

8.  Go Slow.  When I first started, I wanted to run a 10 minute mile right out of the gate.  Uh, yeah, that isn't really the way it works.  And if you try to do that and fail, you will be discouraged, like I was.  Oh how depressed I was that I was such a slow runner.  But the truth is, you can go so much farther if you slow down.  My advice is to focus on distance first.  Doesn't matter how long it takes you, the speed will come on it's own.  A little faster every run.  Focus on getting 3 miles down.  Then focus on improving your speed.  I used the Couch to 5k Program to get started.  It mixes walking with running.  A great beginners program.

7.  Make sure to warm up and cool down.  This is so important. I didn't use to do it.  I have a very limited window to workout and I didn't want to waste any time with warming up or cooling down.  I just wanted to get at it.  But your muscles really need warmed up and stretched out to avoid injury.    See point 6.

6.  If you get injured, treat it properly. As hard as it will be to stay off of the injury, that is exactly what you need to do.  I had some trouble with my hamstring and had to sit out a week.  It sucked.  I was afraid I wouldn't got back to running after being lazy for a week.  The injury likely would have been avoided, if I had followed point 7.  I followed RICE for my injury.  Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.  If you think it may be serious, go see a doctor!  The sooner you get the proper treatment, the quicker you can get back at it.

5. Drink your water or Gatorade (But really water, Gatorade is gross, right?  Who's with me?)  It is so important to stay hydrated.  Your body needs water to function properly.  You need it before, during and after your run.  Not getting enough water can lead to muscle tightness or cramping, heat exhaustion, and many other nasty things.  Drink your water.

4.It helps to have a goal.  Be it weight loss, training for a specific event (5k, 10k, half, etc), fit into a great pair of jeans, whatever your goal, it can help keep you going on days when you really just don't want to go. You can also use the reward strategy too.  Run for a month, get a new running outfit, something like that.

3.  It helps to have a buddy.  You don't necessarily need a buddy to run with, this would totally annoy me.  I need to set my own pace, go at my own speed.  I don't want to have to slow down or speed up or adjust my length for someone else.  But some people like it and it motivates them to get out there.  What I need is someone to talk to about running.  How hard it was, what is a good new route, how do I pace myself, etc.  And well, there is the competitive nature of my psyche.  If Wade had not taken up running at the same time, I probably would not have stuck with it. A little competition is fun.  He motivated me, I motivated him.  Dammit, if he went and ran 6 miles today, I was going to do 6.5 miles.  And you can bet the next time he did his long run, he went 7.  It works for us. 

2. You NEED a good pair of shoes.  And for that matter, a good pair of socks too!  If you want to avoid injury, run farther, feel better after your run, you need to wear a good pair of shoes.  Go to a running store and get fitted.  The have great computer programs that tell them which shoes fit YOUR feet.  Yes, they are going to cost some money.  But the $45 shoes I bought from Kohl's seriously do not compare to what I got a Fleet Feet.  I now feel like I am running on air.  And if you need an awesome pair of socks, you have to try Drymax Socks.  Check out my post about them Here.  I cannot say enough good things about them.  No foot sweat.  Very very comfortable.  I rain in the rain  and my feet were dry!  I wear the no show running socks and they are fantastic.  And padded.  Like running on pillows.  Sorta like sleeping bags for your feet.  Ok, I'm done here. 

1.  Running is 90% mental.  Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right. This saying holds so true with running.  My biggest battle with running has not been physical, it has been mental.  That little voice saying, "You can't run 5 miles, who are you trying to kid?"  In the beginning, I would answer, "You're right.  I better walk for awhile, I am exhausted, I just CAN'T run any further."  But really, I probably could have.  The body almost always has something left when the brain just wants to give up.  What did Jillian Michaels always say -- "Unless you puke, faint, or die, keep going".  I won't say the voice ever goes away, at least not for me.  But the voice has gotten quieter and less frequent.  And now when she says, "No way can you do this, you aren't going to make it", I answer, "Shut up, I totally got this!"


*Watch for updates on our challenges later today!

1 comment:

  1. These are all great points. Wish I would have read them 5 years ago when I started running. But they are nice to reread!!!!


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