So there’s this voice. It’s little, but kinda nagging. It bugs you from time to time (maybe around swimsuit season…) and you’re just not sure how to answer it.
It could go a little something like this:
Voice: “You should try to run.”
You: “Um, ya right. How?”
Voice: “Nike: Just do it.”
You: “Have you met my (insert one or all of following: body, knees, legs, ankles) lately?”
Excuses usually keep us from taking that next step. And it’s super common to shy away from the challenge when we first venture into running or take the next step because there’s a lack of confidence. Maybe you’ve never run a mile or it’s been a while. Maybe you love doing the occasional 5K, but fear doing a 10k or a half-marathon.
In any case, you can do it. Really!
So, here are a few of my tips if you’re a newbie just getting started with running (it’s how I got my start, too.)
- Set a Goal. It doesn’t have to be a race; just start with a simple, stated goal. Maybe it’s to run a mile without stopping, a 5K for the first time (5K = 3.1 miles btw) or something else. Pick your goal and set your mind to it. Post it in your bathroom to remind yourself; it’s where your scale is located and where you normally might get ready before you exercise. (NOTE: If your goal IS a race, register asap. This will help you avoid backing out and higher registration fees closer to race day.)
- Make the Time. You make time to go to the dentist or have lunch with friends, so set an appointment with yourself and don’t abandon it. This is a non-negotiable if you want to hit that goal.
- Get Ready. Pick up a new pair of running shoes (you can even find decent ones at discount stores like Ross and Nordstrom Rack). A good idea if you’re very new, but serious about adding mileage is to go to a local running store and ask if they can do a foot-strike evaluation on you. Basically they’ll stick you on a treadmill with thin shoes, video tape you and then tell you which shoes are the most appropriate for how your foot strikes the ground. It can really help prevent injuries.It’s also great to get a cheap running watch that has a timer on it in case you want to see how long you can run without stopping and document your progress.
- Map Your Run. Whether you want to run on the street or another pathway, get an idea of the distance. It helps you during the run to know how much further you have and also give you a better indication of your improvement along the way.
- On the Run. If you aren’t super active or don’t normally run, start off with small goals along the way (yes, more goals).Keep your head up and look forward, focusing your eyes on an object in front of you that you want to run to (a tree, lamp post, stoplight, etc.). Jog comfortably to that point and if you’re still feeling good, set another goal. If you need to take a break, walk for a minute or two, then start up again with another goal. This is called interval training and it’s great for building up endurance and preventing injuries.
- Keep it Soft. As you’re easing into running, avoid hard surfaces such as sidewalk and street if possible. Though they create a flat, easy pathway for you, those hard surfaces don’t absorb any impact, which means your shins, feet, ankles and knees will not like you after a while. Try running on dirt or grass to minimize the impact as much as possible.
- Write Stuff. Take a quick minute to write down your running progress in a notebook or running journal. Describe the course, the distance, how much time it took and how you felt. As you continue to work toward your goal, it’s super encouraging to view your progress.
- Stick to the 10% Rule. As you increase the amount you’re running, stick to a 10% increase. So, if you’re running say, 10 miles a week, you should only increase your mileage by 1 total mile that week. Again, this is another key to injury prevention.
- Variety is the Spice of Life. Make sure you’re still doing other activities besides running. It’s important to have balanced strength in your legs, hips and knees and one of the best ways to ensure this is to exercise in other ways on the days you’re not running. Rollerblade, swim, lift weights, do yoga; stay active and try something new.
- Overcome Body Issues. Okay, so we’ve all dealt with an injury from this or that. There is hope! If you have joint issues (I’ve had a bit of a twinged knee from a previous marathon), take a joint supplement. The best one I’ve found that has made a WORLD of difference is by Isagenix and it’s called Ageless Joint Support. It calls for three tablets daily, but its formulator Dr. Paul Anderson has recommended 6 daily if you’ve had issues. AMAZING results.
Really, anyone can be a runner and so can you!
If you found this helpful and feel led, please make a tax-deductible donation to Childhelp to support me as I raise money for the organization to run the Boston Marathon on behalf of the charity on April 18. My goal is $5,000 and I’m going after it!
Visit my “Donate” page to donate today. (Thank you!!!!)