Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Learn To Like Running

Tonight I was asked: "How did you start running? How did you learn to like it?"

I got so excited over this text message that I decided to make it a post! I am still very much a "new" runner and I am still very much learning! Here is what I have learned in a short period of time:

1. There is never a good time to start running. As long as you own a good set of shoes and a good sports bra you are ready to go! (p.s. buy running shoes 1/2-1 full size bigger...I did not and am regretting it).
2. Sign up for a novelty 5k run (that isn't even timed)! Once you have paid money and committed to a timeframe you will be motivated (hopefully) to get out there and start running. You will be able to run a race without all the pressure of time & pace. Most importantly, you will associate running with a FUN event. Personally, I did the Color Me Rad 5k.

3. Download a free app to track your runs, milage, time, pace. etc. I suggest Runkeeper but there is also mapmyrun. An app will help you know how far you have gone during a run, your pace, calories burned, and even lets you compete against friends.

4. Start running slow and don't push the distance right off the bat. Start with a 1 mile run 2-3x/week. Then aim for 2 mile runs the next week and so on. Your endurance will get better with each run. I used to be out of breath after 1/2 a mile! I am not kidding. Over time, I started adding an extra 1/2 mile with each run and I started to notice a difference in my endurance.

5. Running takes practice & patience! No one likes it at the beginning. It is HARD work, exhausting, & really really hot during a summer in Texas. BUT... I feel awesome after a good run! I get a jolt of energy (and can even skip out on my morning coffee because I am so awake after a run). I am not as quick to get frustrated with the kids - mainly because I got "me time" before dealing with the daily chaos all children bring ;)

6. Hydrate! I didn't focus on this when I first started running and I quickly realized that I had to. Drink a large glass of water BEFORE going on a run. If you are running less than 3 miles, then you really don't have to run with water. Definitely hydrate after a run!

7. Stretch! I honestly had NO clue on how to stretch for running...so I didn't do it. Then after a week or two my calves and shins were killing me! So I searched for stretching tips on Pinterest and I really like this video!

8. Everyone has a plateau point in running. A point at which all the sudden your breathing becomes more in rhythm and running gets "easier". Each person can have a different plateau point. I have noticed mine is around 2.5 miles. So for the first 2.5 miles of a run I feel like I am having to work at running (doesn't help that I have to run uphill at the start and end of my route). Once I get past 2.5 miles all the sudden I feel like I can keep going forever (well, you know what I mean). So if you are just starting out and it is just plain HARD, hang in there! It should get easier once you find your plateau.

9. Form - practice makes perfect! I really have to remind myself this one while running.
10. Mind over matter! You CAN do it (even if you don't want to)!
11. Make the time. I love sleep just as much as the next person. So I alternate running in the evening with early morning runs. I (still) cringe setting the alarm to wake up and go running before everyone else wakes up. But I feel fabulous when I get back and am ready for what the day will bring. Morning and evening runs are very different. Morning runs are definitely not as hot but they are still humid and you will be sweating just the same. I have noticed that I have more "eagerness" to go for an evening run. Maybe because I am ready to de-stress after a long day. But it is absolutely HOT. For anything more than 4 miles I am now running with water on me. And I sleep like a baby after an evening run!

12. Get Support. A friend let me borrow a copy of Run Like a Mother.It has been very educational and motivational at the same time. It is a easy read with information that really helps new runners. They also have a page on Facebook and a blog. You can easily find running groups through Facebook for your area/state.

13. Running is a love/hate relationship. It's a good idea before you go, you hate it during & love it after, which makes it all worth it!

*UPDATE: I wanted to add this one in after a response I got on Facebook: "I feel like people judge me if I try. Like maybe I look like Phoebe from Friends".

14. You don't have to be glamorous to run! If you check out my finish line photo from my recent Loteria 5k, you will realize we all probably look like Phoebe! It is truly amazing how much respect you will get from fellow runners: waves, "good jobs", & even honks while you are out there! Only a runner can appreciate the time, dedication and hard work it takes to be out there. I used to be the person passing judgement - I will never be that person again! No matter who is judging you... you are still running faster than them!

I hope this helps! You can do it!

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