It’s a new year, and with it I’m sure a new crop of folks interested in running. First, welcome to the realm of running and congratulations on your decision to get into the sport! It can be challenging at times, but is very rewarding – you’ll be amazed at the things you learn about yourself as you continue to develop you running skills. In order to help you get started, I thought I’d provide a few tips for beginners. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the things you must know in order to run, but I think this list definitely encompasses some of the most important tips and tidbits of information needed to get you started on the right foot (lol, get it?).
Listen To Your Body – It’s your best friend and will tell you what you need to know to keep yourself well. If you need to rest? Rest. If you need to walk? Walk. Need to stop all together? DO! Don’t try to push through the pain…you could wind up paying for it big time later on.
Take Walk Breaks – Walk breaks are perfectly normal when going for a run. It’s not something you think about really, but believe me…walk breaks can be key when getting into running. Embrace the walk breaks. Every runner needs to take a walk break now and then. They can help you to preserve energy on runs, which can in turn help you cover longer distances as you are preserving your energy. A little bit of walking can help take your running a long way.
H2Ohhh – Hydration is key. Make sure you’re drinking enough water on a daily basis; doing so can greatly aid the way you feel before, during, and after a run. Check out this water calculator to figure out just how much water you need to intake on a daily basis to be properly hydrated.
Stretching – While it’s often debated whether or not you need to stretch before a run, I look at it like this…your car’s engine needs to warm up properly before hitting the road…why wouldn’t your body? Just take a couple of minutes before hitting the track/trail/road/treadmill to stretch your limbs and get warmed up for the run ahead. Then, after your run is over, take another couple of minutes to stretch again. Check out this section on Runners World for some ideas on stretching.
Gear – Now, there is plenty of gear and gadgets out there for runners. Not all of it is necessary, but admittedly some stuff is just cool to have and can help make you feel/look like a runner. *shrug* Here’s what I think are a few essentials that will help you get started:
1. Shoes – you will want to get fitted for a good pair of running shoes. Check in with your local running or athletic apparel store for a fitting. This is the one item you don’t want to skimp on. A good pair of running shoes is an investment…one that is more than worth making.
2. Clothing – Duh, right? But a simple pair of t-shirt and pants/leggings/tights are fine to start. Eventually though, as you go longer and farther you’ll want to up the anti and invest in some clothing with moisture wicking material. It helps to keep you dry, and won’t cling to your body like wet cotton will. Target carries Champion’s athletic wear, which has some awesome clothing for good prices. Also check out Walmart, Marshalls, TJMaxx, and Ross…they all carry athletic wear, and you’d be pleasantly surprised at what you’ll be able to find there. (I know I was!)
3. Socks – I think compression socks can be helpful..but I don’t believe in spending $30 for them. Walmart & Target both carry athletic/compression socks for under $10 for a 3 pack. I prefer the Danskin version which is sold at Walmart…love them! 🙂
4. Tights – Now I know compression/stability tights have become all the rage these days. And I’m not knocking their benefits…HOWEVER I am not of the belief that it is necessary to spend at least $100 on a pair of running tights especially if you’re an occasional runner. Tights won’t make you run better…your form will. I think the pricier tights really should come into play for those of you who are going on longer runs (at least 8 mi) and logging more miles on a regular basis. Outside of that? Well, I don’t know that it’s really worth the costs. Champion and Old Navy both offer compression tights for a fraction of the price of the more notable 2Xu and CW-X compression tights. I’m going to get a pair of both the CW-X and the Old Navy compression tights to write a review of them in the near future, so stay tuned for that.
5. Epsom Salts & Green Rubbing Alcohol – *swoon* These are my personal faves for a nice long soak in a hot bath after a long run or whenever I think my body could use it. Both can be found at your local dollar store.
6. Confidence – Whether your goal is to run one mile or ten, you have to believe in yourself and your ability to meet your goals. This can be hard sometimes, especially if a run doesn’t go as well as planned or you don’t feel as though you’re making enough progress. Regardless…know that you can do it! Every runner was a beginnger once, and even the best of the best have bad runs and set backs – it just comes with the territory. Don’t let it get you down, don’t lose hope, and don’t stop moving!
Every run begins with the first step. Don’t be afraid to take yours.
Happy New Year!