A lot of people come to me because they would really like to start running but think they are out of shape, or have never tried it, or they feel like they are not really athletic…there are endless reasons why they think they can’t start running. When someone tells me they are interested in trying their hand at running I get genuinely excited. As you can tell I am pretty passionate about this sport. I got my certification to coach because I really want to share my love and knowledge of running with others.
So if you are reading this because the idea of running has piqued your interest I first want to say, “Awesome!” You have come to the right spot. It will be a struggle at first and you will need to be more patient with yourself and your body than you may have ever been before. But with time you will also find yourself reaching new depths both mentally and physically that you may have never imagined to be possible.
So what do you do first? Number one, make the commitment. Decide right now that you are going to gift yourself 30 minutes a few times per week to becoming a runner. You can do it at the gym or on the road, it really is up to you. Make it a gift to yourself and not an, “I have to go run now.” Come to the mindset that it is only 30 minutes out of your day and once you do this the pieces will start to fall into place.
Next, get yourself the right equipment. Fortunately for beginning runners this is a much shorter list than what you might find if you were to take up any other sport. The one piece of equipment that you really need to invest in is a good pair of running shoes. I recommend going to your local running store and having someone fit you for the proper shoe. Expect to pay somewhere around $100. Be honest with them. Tell them you are a beginner and if you aren’t ready to make a huge investment ask them what might work that suits your budget. Here’s a hint, use the shoe store the first time to find out what shoe you should be running in and then in the future you can use a website that might have that shoe for a lot less. In fact I use zappos.com so often that I am now a VIP member and get free overnight shipping. Zappos also saves your purchases so you can quickly sign in and repurchase the same shoes when you are ready.
Running clothes are pretty fun and one thing they don’t lack is colors. You can get cool tights, shorts, and even skirts these days. Running clothes come in all sizes and are made for all types of weather. Even better, larger discount stores now make great running and athletic clothes that work really well. I have some great running clothes from Target and my winter running jackets were purchased on clearance at Old Navy last year and have been abused a lot this winter and are still going strong.
Finding a pair of comfortable running clothes can make you feel great. Having a new outfit that you are excited about makes it even easier to get out the door. This is also a great idea if you are in a running slump. Fun running clothes can help mix things up.
Once you have the basics you are ready to head out the door. But take it easy! Don’t get overly excited and run out the door planning to do 3 miles on your first day. I recommend giving yourself 30 minutes and to start at a nice comfortable pace, a jog if you will. Do this for a few minutes until you are feeling a bit winded and then allow yourself a minute or two of walking before you start back up. Repeat these steps until you have completed your 30 minute workout. If you do this for a awhile and slowly build to shorter and fewer walking breaks you will soon find that you can make it through that full 30 minutes at a nice even clip.
One of the easiest ways to get discouraged with running is to start out with too much, too fast. Remember that it is best to start out slow. You don’t need to go fast to condition your body for this sport. It is all about the time spent on your feet. If you push too hard and beat your body down you are a lot less likely to stick with your plan.
Just don’t get discouraged. Allow yourself some time to adjust to this new sport. Don’t forget that everyone goes through a phase of anaerobic activity at the beginning of running, meaning that their body is working without oxygen. This occurs for most of us at the very beginning of a run and you feel winded before you have hardly even started. It will ease up and soon go away.
Finally, be safe. If you are running on a road always run against traffic so that you see where cars are. Never run with your back to the traffic. Running with music is often helpful, just make sure you have the music low enough that you can hear what is going on around you. Be aware of your surroundings and let someone know where you are going.