"Adrian, you’ve inspired me to run, but I don’t know where to begin? Any tips?" Yes! Here are some of my favorite tips to help get anyone started on their own running journey.
Find inspiration. If you’re eager to begin running, it’s obvious that you’ve already found some form of inspiration that leaves you wanting to lace up your shoes. But it helps to seek more motivation. For me, my initial inspiration was from a friend, an avid runner, but I ultimately became my own motivator. The old me, that is.
Talk to other runners. Watch running videos. Read running magazines. Once you find your form of motivation, don’t lose sight of it. Excellence can be sought after at any age. Lace up and find your greatness one stride at a time.
Understand the sport of running. Before making running a part of your life, I highly condone doing your own research on the basics beforehand. Read about common injuries, proper hydration/nutrition strategies, etc. Heck, you can even go as far as looking up runner lingo so you don’t sound like a total newbie amongst the more seasoned runners. Fartlek? Bloody nipples? VO2 max? Huh?! On the plus side, for me at least, the more I read about running, the more motivated I became to open the door and step outside of my comfort zone. You never know; you may find inspiration along the way!
Photo circa summer 2011.
Set a goal. Having a goal is a sure fire way to keep yourself motivated. If you run without a purpose, you’re simply chasing the wind. Go after your dreams. Chase your fears. Be your hero. The goal doesn’t have to be a race, time, or distance; simply bettering your life is a more-than-acceptable goal. But signing up for a race is pretty helpful too (race finder)! Find a running buddy with a similar goal and train together; set dates and commit to them. Also consider joining a running club in your area. Trust me, they are out there. For me, it’s one of the BEST decisions that I have ever made - so much support. Click here to find a club!
Be realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting the bar too high from the very beginning. Don’t expect to roll out of bed in a week with the sudden endurance to run a marathon. Not everyone can be like Dean Karnazes. I was a happy camper during the very moment that I was able to run for a mere 10 minutes straight let alone for 26.2 long miles! Running takes determination, dedication, and a high level of discipline, but I can guarantee the worth. Being able to experience the world through running isn’t something that can simply be described by words alone.
Dean Karnazes - Ultramarathon Man
Come up with a plan. So you’ve found inspiration, understand the running basics, and have a goal. Now what? Find some way or another to help guide you along your journey. Having absolutely no plan is like traveling within a foreign country without a map. Sure, you may be able to get by, but ciaos will be had and treacherous paths will be crossed. There are so many options out there - Hal Higdon, Hansons Marathon Method, Jeff Galloway, etc. If you’re a true first timer in the world of running, I highly suggest a Jeff Galloway’s run/walk program. It’s a great way to build a solid base, lessen the chances for injury, and they even offer plans from a 5K all the way to a full marathon. Don’t forget to track your progress through the use of a training journal, calendar, or through an online community like Dailymile - add me!
Invest in a good pair of running shoes. I would’ve liked to put this notion first, but it wouldn’t make too much chronological sense. If you still feel that running is something you want to do on a regular basis, good shoes are a critical component. Long story short, I quickly learned the importance after I discovered blood all over my socks upon wearing ill-fitting shoes during a 6 mile outdoor run. Your running shoe size will be different in comparison to your everyday shoe - about a 1/2 to full size difference in fact. Seek an expert opinion from a local running store where you can get fitted properly. Most running stores will examine your foot structure and perform a gait analysis. Don’t merely pick a shoe because it looks good - injuries don’t look good. This investment is worth every single penny.
My favorite shoes are anything from the Brooks Running PureProject line. But don’t take my word for it! There are hundreds upon hundreds of options.
It’s not always about running. Cross training is a critical part of the running equation. Activities can include but are not limited to cycling, elliptical training, yoga and flexibility training, weight lifting, core exercises, and plyometrics. You’ll not only lessen the chances of overuse injuries, but you’ll also become a stronger runner, both mentally and physically. Your mind can be beaten down just as much as your body. Listen to your body, address physical cues, and take an extra day off if you need it. A teensy twinge can turn into a full blown side lining injury if it’s ignored - trust me.
Expect bad days. More often than not, you’ll be faced with not-so-good days. That’s just life in general - things happen. You can’t let the bad days interfere with what could turn out to be a good day if given the chance. Sulk for a moment, brush it off, then move on.
…make you appreciate the good runs even more.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Your first couple of weeks of running will be challenging and on the lower end of the fun spectrum until your body has the chance to adapt to the new aerobic and muscular stressors. If you can get past this, you’ll soon realize that you’re far more capable of anything you put your mind to. The sweat? The breathing? The body odor? That won’t go away. But you know what else won’t go away? The pride, the strength, and the memories.
Here’s another bit o’ information for your noggin. Running isn’t meant to be pretty (see below). If it is, you’re not doing it right.
Prime example of race photos gone wrong. Fall 2011.
Last but certainly not least, don’t EVER be embarrassed. “If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” Thanks Mr. John Bingham.
RUN YOUR LIFE & RUN YOUR RUN. There’s a lot to the sport, but don’t make it as complicated as it may seem. In a broader sense, running is simple. Running is beautiful. Running is a way of life.53 notes
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- itsabettermoni said: You are so inspiring! I love your page!!!! :-). I just started running again since having my daughter. Your blog makes me want to get out there now! Happy Running!!!!
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