So you want to be a runner? Or you think you want to be a runner? Or a friend has convinced you that you will be a runner with them?! Whatever your reasons for wanting to run may be, these quick tips will help you get started!
1. Find a program to follow. The worst thing you can do to your body is to go out on day one and decide that you are going to run 5 miles straight. If you are not in shape this is going to put serious pressure on your joints/muscles/tendons and you may end up really hurting yourself. If you are in good cardiovascular shape, I would still ask you to start slow and see how your body responds to using your muscles differently. A great way to start is to follow the ‘Couch to 5k‘ program (known more as c25k). They will give you a schedule for working your way up to running your first 5k within 9 weeks of starting. They mix running with walking so you build stamina and by the end are running 5k easily. There is no rule that you have to do this program in 9 weeks, if you need/want to repeat a week because you feel you aren’t ready to move forward then feel free to do so! Another similar program you can look into which a friend of mine really likes is the Galloway program. It’s very similar to the c25k, but focuses even more on taking walking breaks.
2. Find a partner or a sign up for a race. You know how you are motivated best. If I didn’t know that my friends were waiting outside the building for me I could very easily justify staying warm and cozy in my bed. Even if I did manage to muster up the self-discipline to get outside, having friends can help push you when you are thinking Why on earth am I doing this? Is this torture really worth it? I can just walk this lap. And aside from the exercise you get to hang out with your friends and start your day off with people you love. It’s a win/win for your heart!
If you don’t have a partner to run with then sign up for a local race that is close to when you should be finishing your program. Knowing you have to show up and run may be the motivation you need to keep you running. If you fall in love with running, while at the race ask around and see if there are any groups in your area that you could train with.
3. Get the right shoes! Here’s the deal. Good shoes cost money. But so do Dr. visits due to foot, knee, and hip injuries. When it comes to your body please don’t just think cheap but get shoes that will save you from pain or injury. Many running stores offer a free test to measure your stride/gait, and then direct you to the best shoe for you. If the prices are outrageous at the store kindly tell them thank you for all their help and come home and search online for the cheapest place to get the shoe they recommend for your foot. If you have internet on your phone do a quick search at the store and see if they will do a price match. Zappos is always a great place to check out.
If you have finished your first 5k, have given running almost 3 months of your life, and still hate it then find something else! Not everyone is going to enjoy every type of exercise. And though running is a popular exercise it doesn’t mean there aren’t other options for you! I’m still not convinced that after I finish the race with my friends that I will still add running into my schedule. But for the chance that I do fall in love with it, it’s worth pushing through the days I wonder what I’m doing running!
Have you just starting running? Thinking about it? How is it going for you?
Enjoy your exercise friends!