When I started running years back, I just started running. It was just something I got up and did. I didn’t run with anyone or enlist in a “Learn to Run” program. (In reality, I was too self conscious to do either.) I just ran.
Now-a-days there are tons of opportunities in my area for people to join programs to learn to run and there are dozens of websites to show you how to get started. So today I am jumping on that bandwagon.
*Note – Be sure to stop and rest if it’s required. If you’re having trouble making the times set out in this guide, try cutting it down to half or a third the time. You can always increase it.
The thing with running is that, really, you can only get better. You might stumble, you might roll an ankle, you might run out of breath, you might pants and wheeze and want to die (please, as with any exercise program, be cautious of your health limitations) – but it WILL get better.
When I first started running I had to stop and rest and catch my breath more often than not. I have a heart condition and I have lung problems and, I basically just sucked. But, I kept at it and I’ve learned to condition and pace myself. My stamina and longevity improved, my lungs, for the most part, function better and take seem to take in more air – which is attributed to proper breathing technique and better overall fitness. I can now run long distances without having to stop (unless it’s for a pee break, which is a whole other can of worms) and I feel exhilarated when I think I’m ready to stop but just keep on going.
Below are just a few tips on how to ensure a better run:
1) Make sure you have good running shoes. I mean it. Don’t try to run in Converse or old sneakers. Splurge and get yourself a great pair of runners with shock absorbers. Your entire body will thank you.
2) Ladies – invest in a good bra. ‘Nuff said!
3) Have some good beats. The right kind of music can keep you going longer than you think. If you’re like me, find even that one song and stick it on repeat.
4) Have a running buddy and motivate each other. And if you’re deciding to run on your own (and not on a treadmill) be sure to tell others of your trail and/or take a phone for emergencies (try carrying a piece of ID as well).
5) DO NOT RUN WITH AN INJURY. I made this mistake. Trying to run with shin splits, a pulled hamstring, a rolled ankle or even a bad headache can/will do more damage to your body. Treat your body with respect. I learned the hard way.
6) Do not run in crazy heat. Again, I made this mistake. I ran in the early morning in July in a heat wave, ended up with a migraine, heatstroke and collapsed on the trail. It was not a pretty sight.
7) Hydrate. Drink lots of water the few hours leading up to your run (not so much that you’ll have to stop and pee as soon as you get started) and within the hour following your run.
8) Rest when it’s needed. There is no shame in walking!
9) Dress for your body and the temperature. Assume it’s 10 degrees warmer than it is and dress for that. Your body will warm up and you don’t want to overheat. Also, if things tend to chafe or you sweat in strange areas, try wearing something spandex-y or applying deodorant or Vaseline in that area so that things glide. 🙂
10) Protect yourself with sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, gloves, extra socks, whatever is required depending on the conditions.
You can find a bazillion other running tips online – just use your Google. 😉