To commemorate my last 5K on May 11th, 2019, I wanted to share some things I’ve picked up on my journey to becoming a regular runner either through my own research or trial and error. Coming from a girl who had asthma as a kid and used every excuse under the sun to get out of that dreaded yearly 1 mile run in high school, I want to let you know that you can learn to love running too!
* As always, check with your doctor before making any big changes in your workout routines. Running is awesome, but it’s not medically safe for everyone.
1. Get good shoes.
The old pair of sneakers from 5 years ago sitting in the back of your closet are not made for this workout. Go to a running store to get fitted for the right shoe. Different shoes form differently to your foot depending on your arch and how your feet hit the ground when you run (this is called pronation). They may even have you jog on a treadmill in the store so they can check your pronation to fit you to the right shoe. The shoes don’t have to be crazy expensive. I have tried some of the more expensive brands, like Brooks, but always come back to my trusty Asics. They run anywhere from $80-$100. I would also suggest a good insole like Superfeet. They are a little pricy (around $50) but made a big difference in my comfort level and were well worth it to me. Your shoes should also be replaced every 300-500 miles ran (than means if you run 5 3-mile runs a week, you get new shoes every 6 months).
2. Find your running style and do it safely.
There are all kinds of running. You have treadmills for those who prefer A/C and can run anytime, but some tend to get bored running on the hamster wheel. There’s road running, which I prefer, where you are on paved roads like sidewalks or in neighborhoods. Road running keeps me interested, hills help with conditioning and and landmarks help me set me pace. The drawbacks include being more limited in the times you can safely run (daylight hours) and the harsher seasons the bring snow and humidity. This is where a treadmill is useful. There’s also trail running where people run on rugged and often wooded trails. I haven’t tried this type of running yet, but I’ve heard some people love it and some people hate it. Some love having more scenery with being on a trail and like the challenge of the constantly changing terrain. But there are others who are used to a treadmill or road running that might not like all of the twigs/tree roots or twists and turns which could leave you susceptible to tripping and falling. Which ever style you decide works for you is what you should be doing. Just get out there, be aware of your surroundings and enjoy the run!
3. Plug in some tunes and smile!
I was listening to a guided run on the Nike Run Club app (it’s awesome!) and the trainer said “Smile! Even if you aren’t loving it right now, you’re out here doing something good for yourself. Running can be fun. Just smile and relax!” This totally changed my outlook of my runs from that day on. Running doesn’t have to be punishment or miserable. What if I actually, gasp, enjoyed the run? So I stopped taking myself so seriously, plugged in some rocking tunes and killed it now that the pressure was off! Also, if you’re running outside, use just one ear phone so you can hear cars, dogs or other things that could hurt you while racking up those miles.
4. Put one foot in front of the other!
At what point do you officially become “a runner”? This happens when you do your first run, actually enjoy it enough and then decide to do it again. Running races are a great way to motivate you to run regularly and a fun way to meet people with similar interests, but it’s never my goal to win a race. My goal is to beat my last personal record (PR in running speak). You are your competition! Running an inexpensive way to challenge yourself and get in a great workout.
So what are you waiting for!?! Lace those shoes up and hit some pavement. And never forget to smile along the way!