I haven’t always liked running, and by “haven’t always liked,” I mean I sometimes Hated running — hated with a capital “H.” It hurt: my lungs burned and my legs felt rubbery. I felt like I just couldn’t take one more step. For years I tried to get into running, but I never could stick with it for longer than a week or two. It was always easier to talk myself out of going, even though I always felt so much better even if I just ran up the street and back. That negative inner voice would whisper, “Why bother? It’s too much work. It hurts too much,” while the couch and episodes of LOST on Netflix beckoned.
With a lot of support and motivation, I’ve been consistently running for over a year. Hundreds of miles logged, I can now even call myself a runner. On Saturday, I will run my first half-marathon, finishing 13.1 well earned miles. This is a HUGE accomplishment for me considering that when I started I could barely run one minute, let alone one mile.
Running has forced me to put myself first at times, and while it’s hard to take time away from my kids, it’s been SO worth it.
I don’t think that everyone is meant to be a runner, but there are things that can help at least give yourself a running chance (see what I did there? Running chance?! Get it?!). Becoming a runner is something I am proud to have accomplished and with these tips, you can become a runner, too.
Join a running group or find some running buddies 1 of 5Many cities have running clubs and running stores that offer training classes for both beginning and experienced runners. My local Fleet Feet Sports offered a beginning runners program called No Boundaries, for those wanting to train to run a 5K, and that's where I first found success as a runner. Several running programs later, I've met lots of new friends and received amazing coaching and encouragement. Without this training, I don't believe I could ever have had the stamina to stick with the program or the courage to sign up for a half marathon.
If your city doesn't have a running group, at least get yourself a running buddy! If you know your running buddy is waiting to meet you to run at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning, you're much more likely to get up instead of turning the alarm clock off!
Don’t let excuses keep you from trying 2 of 5For far too many years, I could think up a million excuses as to why I couldn't make time to run.
Too fat? Nope. My running group is made of women (and men) of all different shapes and sizes. Sure, some of them look like they belong on the cover of Runner's World, but most of them look like me, with some flab on their legs and a menopot.
No time to get away from the kids? Most running groups can accommodate running strollers. My kids are too big for strollers, so I've even hired a babysitter that comes one evening a week so that I can get in my training run.
Too slow? It doesn't matter whether you're the slowest runner or the fastest runner, what matters is that you're out there trying. Don't compare yourself to others, but instead keep trying to do your personal best!
Too hot? Too cold? Sorry, but that excuse just isn't good enough. Invest in some good running gear, and you'll be ready to run no matter the weather!
Photo credit: Flickr
Let running be an excuse to go shopping 3 of 5The first thing you need to do is get fitted for running shoes. Be sure to get fitted at a reputable running store. Shahin Hadian, running coach and owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Knoxville, TN, recommends shoes that match your running style.
"Choose proper running shoes that match your foot type, foot stride, and foot strike pattern."
The way a shoe is made can make a big difference in how your foot strikes the ground. Footwear can help runners avoid allowing their heels to strike the ground first, which causes leg fatigue and injury, but rather allow for the best foot strike pattern where the middle portion of their foot strikes the ground first.
For running clothes, find fabric that is moisture wicking. Be sure to get socks that are moisture wicking, too, which will really help prevent blisters. Great deals can be found on running gear on both Amazon and Ebay!
Photo credit: Flickr
Set a personal running goal and make a plan for how to achieve it 4 of 5Find an upcoming race that you and your running buddies want to do together and register for it! Once you've paid for a race, it can be very motivating to actually go through with it. Whether you choose to train with a group or with friends, there are lots of options online that can guide your training plan.
Look at your schedule and carve out time for training, whether it's early in the morning, late in the evening after the kids go to bed, or while they're at school. Schedule babysitters in advance if needed.
"Keeping a log can be highly motivating to track runs. Runners can use websites like Daily Mile, phone apps, or even spreadsheets to keep track of miles, resting heart-rate, weather conditions, perceived exertion level, and much more," explains Hadian.
Photo credit: Flickr
Learn about proper nutrition and hydration for runners to make your runs more successful 5 of 5There is so much advice out there about what runners should and shouldn't eat. Personally, I used to get terrible side cramps while running, which would force me to stop and give up. I have found that eating protein prior to running gave me the side cramps, so now I only eat simple carbohydrates before running.
"You wouldn't set out for a road trip with your car's gas tank on empty," states Hadian. "High-carbohydrate, low-fat foods are the best fuel source, including breads, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit, and fruit juices."
Also, be sure to drink plenty of fluids the day before running to get your body hydrated ahead of time.
Hadian explains, "Regardless of the outside temperature, runners must be well hydrated not only to avoid heat complications but also to run effectively. You will experience a gradual reduction in performance as dehydration increases and should drink 1/2 to 1 cup of fluid for every 15 minutes of exercise."
Photo credit: Flickr
What tips can you share for beginning runners?
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