As the Fall racing season is upon us, I have had several people approach me and tell me they wanted to start running but needed advice. When the summer heat breaks and the cooler temperatures come in, more people enjoy running because it isn’t so unbearable. And those who may have not had an interest during the heat of the summer take up running as a change in their workout routines.
I will give you advice from what I learned not to do, as well as what I learned when I started to use Jeff Galloway’s run/walk/run method, attended his seminar, and hired him as an e-coach to help me survive my first runDisney Dopey Challenge in 2015. I am now going to finish my fourth Dopey Challenge in January of 2018, and I will be running the NYC marathon in just about a month from today! To date I have run 8 marathons and countless half marathons, 10Ks, and 5Ks. But it all started with the basics.
How to Start Running
First, one of the most important things you should do before you even head out onto the road is to go to a local running store and get fitted for the proper pair of running shoes. Don’t go to your closest sports store and pick something off the shelf. You need to go to a specialty running store who can fit you for the appropriate shoe for your foot, your gait and your mileage.
Clothing is almost as important as footwear. You need to know how to dress for the weather. You also need to find the right clothing that won’t cause you to chaffe. Many people think they can put on their cotton t-shirt and a pair of shorts and tube socks and hit the road. That may work for the first few runs; but eventually, you are going to need to purchase clothing that removes moisture from your skin as well as socks that won’t cause you to get blisters on your feet. The key component to running attire is the fabric that pulls the moisture away from your skin to help regulate your temperature and also avoid chaffing. When it is 85 degrees out with 80% humidity nothing is going to keep you dry, but at least your clothes won’t feel like they weigh an extra 5 pounds because they are soaking with sweat. If you are unsure if running is going to be your sport, I suggest going to WalMart or Target to purchase some of their workout clothing to get your started. They are affordable, come in bright colors (good for safety) and really do the job.
I put socks in their own category. It’s important to get the best socks for running. Believe it or not wool socks are perfect for running. The brands I like are Balega, Feetures and Thorlo Experia. Out of the three brands Balega is my favorite. It’s important for the socks to pull moisture away from your feet for two reasons. One is to avoid blisters, and the second is because in the winter your feet will feel cold if there is moisture on your feet.
When picking out a sports bra I like to keep a few things in mind when making my selection. I do not like the bra to have any brackets or strap adjustments in the front of the bra near the shoulder because it hurts my skin. I also want to make sure the bra fits me correctly. If it is too big or too small it will cause chaffing.
Getting out on the road
When you begin your first time out on the road or the treadmill, I recommend you start slow. Using the run/walk/run method allows you to use an interval time (you can purchase one or use an app on your phone) and set it to the amount of time you want to run and the amount of time you wan to walk. Then as you find what intervals you like best, you use those for your training. Jeff’s site also has a lot of information on the intervals he recommends.
What NOT To Do
Don’t do too much at once. What I mean is, don’t run every single day, a mistake I made at first.
Don’t go out too fast, build up to the speed you want to run at.
Don’t run too far too soon. When increasing your mileage you should increase it by 10% each week. This will help you avoid injury.
What to Do
Cross training is also very important. You need strong muscles in your hamstrings, glutes, quads, and also your upper body to hold you up. I like to incorporate Beach Body On Demand videos into my weekly routine so that I am building muscles on the days that I am not running. I used to run and ignored cross training and have found that I was constantly fighting injuries that were so bad I needed physical therapy. Now that I have been cross training more I feel stronger and recover faster from my long runs.
Find a friend. I enjoy training alone, but I love making new friends and all the friends I have met at the races. If you find a running buddy you will have someone to share your successes and failures with. That’s what I love about the sport of running. You can do it alone or you can run with a group or team. Or you can be alone in a large crowd!
This is my first blog post to help you get out on the road and work towards your first race or just to get out and run for your enjoyment and fitness.