A Newbie Runner's Guide

I experienced a little milestone this morning – I graduated (is that what you call it?) from the Couch to 5K running program. This morning, I ran a 5k without stopping, at a 10:30-minute/mile pace. Woohoo!

This is the second time I’ve completed the C25K program – the first time was after the birth of my son in 2006, and I started the program again this year when I realized my 2-3 pilates sessions per week just weren’t hacking it. (It goes without saying that the closer you get to 40, the harder it is to maintain the shape you had in your twenties. LAME.) I love the overall tone and shape that pilates gives me, but I was really missing the cardiovascular aspect. So, Couch to 5K it was!

And you know what? This time around was so much easier for me. I think the the biggest factor was running on a treadmill opposed to running on sidewalks and/or trails. I ran outside the first time around, and was plagued with knee issues, sore hamstrings and shin splints, but the treadmill has been much less jarring to my body overall. Also, I made a killer playlist on Spotify that keeps me on my toes, literally. When you feel like you can’t take another step, just listen to “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. I’m telling you – it works.

Looking to start a running program? Here are some essentials.

1. A well-fitting sports bra – I’ve been running in supportive tanks, but when I asked my Twitter followers what their favorite sports bras were, the resounding majority said Champion. (Which is fab because they are really affordable!) Most did specify that the thicker straps are better than the thinner-strapped styles. Also, for those of you with a more ample chest, Moving Comfort seems to be a very well-loved brand.

2. Earbuds – I don’t know about you, but the earbuds that came with my iPhone do not work for me. Either they fall out or make my ears really sore. These earbuds have been great, and I bought them for less than 6 bucks.

3. A great running short or crops – I’m pretty sure I’ll never wear actual running shorts, but I love my Lululemon running crops. They keep me cool and dry, and I don’t feel like my body’s screaming “LOOK AT MY BARE THIGHS” while I’m working out.

4. A motivating playlist – Like I mentioned above, the right kind of music can take you from unmotivated and out-of-breath to pulled-together and focused in no time.

5. The right kind of running shoe – Take the extra time to get fitted for a running shoe. You wouldn’t believe what an ill-fitting shoe can do to your feet and legs! I know it’s just one more thing to do, but it’s worth it.

6. A running app – If you use your smartphone to listen to music while running, why not use an app to track your runs as well? It keeps you in the loop, and for me, ensures I’m in a goal-oriented mindset. I used the Run 5K app while doing my program, and loved it.

What are some of your running essentials? I feel like this post barely brushes the topic…I love to hear what works (and doesn’t work) for you.

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