I started running back in 2010 because it was one of the least expensive forms of exercise and a great way to get in cardio. Running, in the beginning, was easier for me because I was 50 lbs lighter; however, my weight gain (from medication) didn’t deter me from continuing to run. I had a period where my doctor told me that I could no longer run because of Lupus. OK so, I’m a little hardheaded, and let’s be honest, running is addictive.
I’ll be honest and say I have a love-hate relationship with running and there are days that I simply don’t want to roll out of bed. However, my love of running is what keeps me going. There are a few things I wish I knew then that I know now and I wanted to share my tips on running for beginners. I’ll save you some of the stress and dare I say, cursing from frustration that I experienced back when I started out. LOL!
1. Get Fitted – Even after years of running, I still go to my local running store to get fitted for a proper pair of running shoes. With my weight loss, there is a change in stride and I found out the hard way that the wrong pair of shoes can cause pain and blisters. When you go in for a fitting, the store will ask you to run on a treadmill or an in-store course. From there, they are able to see where your feet strike and if you pronate. I can’t stress enough how properly fitting shoes make a huuuge difference. I’m currently wearing Saucony but my overall favorite shoes are Mizunos. When my mileage is up on my current shoes, I’m going back to Mizunos. I love the brand and so do my knees. LOL!
2. Set Realistic Expectations – Running is a sport that you have to build and grow with over a period of time. You can’t start running today and expect to run a seven-minute mile. Heck, I’m lucky if I can’t eke out a 12-minute mile these days and that’s okay. You won’t be the fastest runner just starting out. I was next to last for my first race. I learned a huge lesson about Florida humidity during that run, but I also ran “my” race and didn’t compare myself to those around me.
3. Find A Running App or Watch – You will need a way to track your runs. When I started out, I used MapMyRun. It wasn’t until a few years in that I finally purchased a Garmin but I still use MapMyRun on the days that I forget my watch at home. I believe I’m the only person with a Garmin in the running group. I opted for the version that tracks my run and heart rate. I know I need to keep my heart rate in a certain range to maximize my weight loss and it also keeps me from overexerting myself. I would not recommend the Nike app because I found it to be very unreliable.
As you can see from my picture, MapMyRun will store all of your recorded runs indefinitely. That is my very first runway back in 2010.
4. Join A Group – Joining a running group serves a number of purposes. It keeps you motivated, holds you accountable, and it’s just fun being out with a group. Becoming part of a group is the best decision I made during my journey and I’m so spoiled now that I refuse to run alone. Contact your local running store because they have a list of the running groups in your area. I would also advise joining the group associated with the major running store in your area because you normally receive discounts on races for being a member. Well, that discount goes a few ways. You receive a discount at the shoe store for being a member of the group and you receive a discount on races sponsored by the group for being a member. Discounts all around!!! I’ve never paid full price for shoes or a race. I’m just saying…save your money! LOL!
5. Be Consistent – It’s easy to fall off the wagon and not run, especially during the winter months. The consequence of taking a few weeks off is the struggle of getting back into shape. Even a few days will leave you feeling like you haven’t run in months. If you are consistent in your runs, you will not experience the struggle of getting winded and slowing your pace. I took the time off my doctor advised and I went from a 12 min mile back to a 17 min mile in a matter of just a few months. I spent this summer trying to get back to where I was earlier this year. For some reason, the saying “Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready” comes to mind. Stay consistent and you won’t take steps back that will ultimately leave you frustrated.
I have so many other tips that I will share over time. Before you start, please get fitted for the proper shoes. I hurt my knee and experienced so much pain in the beginning because I went to my local shoe store and grab a random pair of New Balance sneakers. Don’t get me wrong, I love New Balance, but I can’t run in their shoes. I wear them now for fashion.