I love to run.
No, really. I actually love and look forward to lacing up my running shoes each week.
But it wasn’t always that way. I was a novice to running once and I’m pretty sure we were the worst of enemies at one point.
Now we are best buds.
Why I Love Running
It’s my wish to convert more people into runners.
Because running changed my life. It helped me learn to push myself, that I could do hard things. It was the first step to a healthier lifestyle.
Running started out as simply a way to get fit. It slowly morphed into a way to compete when I ran cross country in high school and signed up for local races. In college, running became a social thing. Ragnars and running with friends were some of my favorite activities.
Currently, I’m not nearly as competitive in my running. Now I enjoy running as a way to destress, get outside, and just feel free!
How To Run and Enjoy It
Here is my basic guide to getting started as a runner. I’m not a running expert or certified running coach, but I have learned a few things the past 12 years.
Step one: Invest in the right shoes.
Proper running shoes are a must. They often determine what kind of running experience you will have. Many people starting out will run in shoes that are not designed for distance running which often results in blisters, joint pain, or shin splints (I would know).
If you are not sure what type of shoe your feet will be happy in, I would advise popping in a running store and talking with an expert there. They are usually quite knowledgeable and helpful!
Step two: Plan out your week.
If you don’t schedule a run, it’s probably not going to happen as life often can get in the way. Be sure to plan ahead and try to be flexible if your plans change unexpectedly.
Find times that work best for you. This might take some trial and error, but eventually, you will discover the times your body likes to run most. I feel 10,000 times better when I run in the evening so that’s when I usually will lace up and go.
Step three: Get motivated and COMMIT!
When I started running I was not a fan. But I kept at it because the desire to get in shape and be healthy was greater than the misery that came when I first started. I also was fortunate to have a running buddy who encouraged me to go with her. (Thanks mom!)
Find out what motivates you and remind yourself of why you started. OFTEN. You may or may not like it at first, but if I gambled, I would wager you would grow to enjoy it.
Step four: Start small.
Please, please, please do NOT go out and run 10 miles your first time, even if you are a super lady.
Just like any other physical activity your body needs time to adapt to the new stress it’s being placed under. If you were to run a marathon right away not only will your body be extremely angry with you, but you expose yourself to injury and burnout.
If you are completely new start with only a ½ to 1 mile of a slow jog and don’t feel ashamed if you have to walk occasionally. Begin with 2-4 short jogs a week for the first few weeks until your body starts to adapt.
Remember to take it slow and listen to your body!
Step five: Don’t skip the warm-up and cool down.
It is very important to begin each run with a 5-10 minute warm up and cool down. Warm ups can include stretching, especially the legs and back, jumping jacks, and walking. Pretty much anything you can think of to get the blood pumping.
Cool down by slowing your jog to a walk and after your heart rate comes down, some stretching. It’s easy to forget or forgo the warm up and cool down, but you won’t regret protecting your beautiful muscles and recovering more efficiently.
Step six: Mix it up!
After your body starts to adapt, mix up your running scene! Try out new trails, neighborhoods, and paths. EXPLORE!
That’s one of my favorite aspects of running; you get to see places you ordinarily wouldn’t. Just make sure they are safe before you head into unknown territory.
Try different types of running surfaces like dirt trails, the track, or grassy hills. Not only will adding variety and intensity to your runs prevent boredom, it will improve your fitness!
Running is a great way to get in shape, explore, and de-stress, but if it’s not for you, no worries. There are other ways to get fit and feel great. This post is for you!