Since I am Chris’s unofficial running coach I have done a lot of thinking about what I wish I knew when I first started running and what tips I would give first time runners. Keep in mind I am certainly not a running expert but I would like to believe that I have learned quite a bit since I first started out. With that in mind here are my top tips for someone who is new to running.
1. Find THE running shoe – Guess how I used to pick out my running shoes? I opened a catalogue or hopped on the internet and picked out a pair that looked pretty. While it is nice to have a pair of shoes that look fashionable it is WAY better to have a pair of running shoes that feel comfortable and support your feet appropriately. Since every person is different I recommend that you go to your local running store and get fitted for a pair of shoes.
2. Moisture wicking clothing is your friend – Repeat after me “Cotton sucks to run in.” It really does. It gets wet, then you get wet, then you start chaffing and get cold. It’s just not a fun time. Moisture wicking clothing can be purchased at all price points so there really is no reason to suffer through a run wearing cotton.
3. Start out slow & be patient – It will take some time to build your mileage so don’t be hard on yourself. Eventually you will build a base and be more comfortable during your runs. In the meantime allow yourself the freedom to have setbacks and struggles as that is all part of the training process and in the end you will be a stronger runner because of it.
4. Follow a training plan – Sometimes the hardest part of running is knowing what to do. Luckily there are a plethora of training plans available for free on the internet. I use Hal Higdon’s training plans when I run a half marathon but he also has training plans for other distances. Click here to check them out.
5. Cross-training is SO important – Cross-train, cross-train, cross-train. I can not emphasize this enough. Running alone does not work every muscle in your body and for that reason you need to cross-train. If you do not cross-train the imbalance of muscles can lead to injury and an injury is always something you want to avoid. There are so many different ways to cross-train you are bound to find something you like. Examples include weight training, Pilates, Yoga, Cross-Fit, cycling, and many many more.
6. Have FUN! – If you are not having fun while running you are doing it wrong. I’m not saying that you won’t have bad runs because you will. But overall you should still be having a good time while running because let’s face it, if it isn’t fun you probably aren’t going to stick with it for very long.
What advice would you give to a beginner runner? Of if you are just starting out with running what questions do you have?