Apr 16, 2018

Running Tips: From One Beginner to Another

For my entire adult life, I've attempted to run.  About every three years I would jog regularly for a couple months, decide that running was the worst, and then stop.  Until now.

I've been running regularly for almost a year and can actually feel myself improving, finally!  The other day, I ran five whole miles without stopping to walk and decided that I can officially declare myself a runner!

So I'm here today to give other beginning runners some tips.  I am by no means an expert.  In fact, you can find lots of running advice from "experts" online but I usually give these articles the side-eye because the authors apparently don't remember how much running actually sucks as a beginner!

So, from one beginner to another, here's how I've survived a year of running.

Find Goals That Actually Motivate You

Until this year, my primary reason for running was always to lose weight.  This may be a super motivating goal for you, but it just didn't work for me!  I would run for a few months, not see any weight results and then quit.  Now, I run because I want to beat my best times at races.  My boyfriend convinced me to run a few 5ks with him last summer.  As I trained and realized that I could go faster and faster at these races, I got hooked!  Now I'm competing with myself to go faster and farther than before.  This is what works for me!  This is what I find fun about running.  So find what motivates you and go after that goal (and you might need to readjust that goal if you find that it's not inspiring you to work harder).

Follow A Training Program

This is another big one for me!  When I tried to run in the past, I would head out three days a week and just try to run as much of a 5k as possible.  It got boring and disheartening.  Now I realize that not all of my runs have to be the same.  I can spend one run working on speed and the next on distance.  Some practice runs can be short and some can be long.  With this variety, I've yet to get bored.  If you have a friend who is into running, ask him or her to help you come-up with a plan!  If not, there are plenty of training programs online whether you are shooting for a 5k or beyond.

You Don't Have to Run with a Group

So many of the "tips from running experts" you will find online encourage you to find friends or a running group to join.  I actually don't really like to run with others.  So you know what, I don't!  For some reason I psych myself out when I run with other people.  I try to go too fast at first and then burn-out.  I've gotten to the point where there are a choice few people I enjoy running with but for the most part, I'm a solitary runner and that's okay.  So really, find what works for you, group or no group!

If It Hurts, Stretch

I've talked to a variety of friends who run and each person has a different opinion about stretching.  Some stretch before running, not after.  Some do the opposite.  Some don't stretch at all!  This can be very confusing but my best tip for you is to listen to your body.  I wasn't really stretching and found myself having some shin, calf and foot pain.  The pain didn't really feel related to stretching but I decided to do a few stretches before running to see if it would help.  And it did!  I understand what works best for my body right now and if things hurt in the future, I will adjust.

Clothes Matter

And I'm not just saying this because I'll take any excuse to buy cute clothes (work-out wear included).  I have four must-have pieces for successful and comfortable running.  The first is pretty obvious, comfortable shoes.  I wear these but you just have to try shoes on and figure-out what works best for you.  I also think socks are super important!  Regular socks won't absorb sweat properly and will give you blisters.  I wear these for pain-free feet.  Pants have actually been my biggest struggle with running clothes.  I can't tell you how many droopy pair of leggings I've had to tug at while running.  My best advice is to find leggings (or shorts or pants) with a drawstring that you can tighten to keep your pants up!  And finally, don't wear cotton shirts.  They will get sweaty and heavy.  Find tops with moisture-wicking material for a more pleasant run.

There you have it, my running friends.  This is what changed me from a self-proclaimed hater of running to a runner.  I know that running sucks right now, but I promise you that it will eventually suck less!  You can do it!
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