After 8 weeks of getting up, lacing up and hitting play it’s official.
I’d rather be running.
Don’t get me wrong. I stick to my strength training routines, because I love the fact that I’m developing biceps and that I don’t have to call for my husband or son to lift things (as much) now. But it’s a constant battle between my inner Couch Potato and emerging Fitness Freak to get up and lift on these days.
On running days though, it’s a whole different story. My alarm has barely beeped before I’m laced up and out the door, waving at the Sun just starting to yawn his own way out of bed and over the horizon.
According to some, this makes me crazy. And I agree that running borders on an addiction for me. It takes a strange breed of human to run 26 miles for fun.
But this limited version of insanity comes with a bonus for you – tips and insights that I’ve gained from running those marathons years ago and from recently starting over as a runner!
The Seasoned Newbie’s Running Tips & Insights
I am both a former marathoner and a current running newbie.
I spent four years of my life (my early 30’s) running half and full marathons. Then, I took a 3 year break. No running what-so-ever.
Seven weeks ago, after spending three years sighing and looking on with envy as people ran by, I fired up my Couch to 5K (C25K) app and started over from scratch. And now I’m going to share with you some things I’ve learned from both the seasoned and newbie sides of the running pool. (I’m going to mention here that I’m not a doctor or trainer by profession, so please remember to check with your own before starting out!)
It’s in the water
Drink a lot of water. Everyone knows this, sure. But what you may not know, and I really didn’t, was that you need to swallow that H2O the day before you run. Not just the day of your run.
This is when you’ll store it up and be fully hydrated and energized for your run. Especially if you plan on running a long distance.
Cinderella was on to something …
… It’s all in the shoes.
Did you know that there are different shoes for different types of runners and even foot placement? For instance, I’m an over-pronator. So my shoes have support in the areas my foot needs it most. I had no idea until I seriously started running.
And you want to buy your running shoes in a larger size than you wear normally. So if you wear a size 7 shoe, you’ll want a size 8 (or above) running shoe. Because your feet swell when you run.
The best thing to do is find a store that specializes in “sports” shoes. Here in my neck of the woods, we have Shaw’s and Capital City Runners. You walk in and the knowledgeable staff will watch you walk and run (either on a treadmill or out on the sidewalk) and recommend running shoes that will offer the best support for your foot.
Do a web search too, for more information. WebMD has a good article on running shoes and styles.
Legs don’t lie
While we’re on the subject of shoes, the question of “how often should I buy new running shoes” should be addressed. I think, personally, the answer changes with each individual. (This is a good one to bring up with your doctor.)
Running in old shoes can cause injury, so you’ll need to be careful.
But I’ve found that different brands of shoes wear out at different speeds than others. So I’ve started listening to my legs for an indication that my running shoes are running out of steam. When it’s time to replace my shoes, my ankles will start getting stiff and even hurting. On average, I swap out shoes every three to four months.
But again, talk to your doctor or “running professional” for shoe replacement advice. And trust your gut. Or, in this case, your legs.
Keeping up with the Joneses
It can be so hard to stay motivated and encouraged when you’re just starting out. Especially when your elderly, speed-walking neighbor just laps you for the second time.
There are two things you can do to really help yourself and keep discouragement at bay.
- Focus only on what you’re doing
- Keep it consistent
Don’t worry if someone out there at the track is running faster or longer than you. Focus on the fact that you are out there putting one foot in front of the other! And I’ll let you in on a little secret:
Runners are incredibly supportive of other runners.
You may be envying that woman running like a gazelle, making it look effortless, while you sound like the big, bad, wolf huffing and puffing behind her, but she’s also silently cheering you on. We runners love seeing other people get out there and jog, walk or run!
And if you get out there consistently and keep putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll be the gazelle before you know it. When I started C25K seven weeks ago, I could barely run for 60 seconds. Yesterday, I ran for 25 minutes straight!
So please don’t give up because you think you’ll never get there. It takes time, but less time than you think.
One or the other; not both … at first
When you’re just starting out, I suggest you focus on either speed or endurance, not both.
For instance, I’d like to run both fast times and long distances, but for this running reboot, I’m focusing on the endurance part first, instead of speed. Once I get comfortable running for 30 minutes straight, I’m going to work on increasing my speed.
This focus has helped me stick with it. I think if I overloaded myself with trying to run both long and fast, I’d burn out or discourage myself!
So if you find yourself getting discouraged, pick one aspect to focus on for now and add the others later. It really does help.
Go on, give yourself a “Woohoo!”
Finally, when you’ve had a good run or you’ve reached a personal milestone, go ahead and throw your arms in the air and act like you’ve crossed your dream finish line.
Because you’re a rock star and you should be very proud of your accomplishment, no matter how big or small it was!
You’re a Runner now.
Week Seven (June 12 – June 18, 2013) Check-In
While life didn’t get in the way of me exercising, it did get in the way of me writing about it. So I’m adding my week seven and eight accountability posts here, together.
Total Strength Workouts Scheduled for Week Seven: 3
Completed – 2
Missed – 1
Total Cardio /Abs Workouts Scheduled for Week Seven: 3
Completed – 4
Missed – 0
I ended up having to swap in an extra day of cardio for one of the strength training days. It just wasn’t possible that day to bust out the weights.
Week Eight (June 19 – June 25, 2013) Check-In
Total Strength Workouts Scheduled for Week Eight: 3
Completed – 2
Missed – 1
Total Cardio /Abs Workouts Scheduled for Week Eight: 3
Completed – 4
Missed – 0
Week Eight wasn’t any better with the schedule! Again, I ended up having to swap in an extra day of cardio for one of the strength training days. Week Nine is here though and I plan on getting three full days of strength training in!
The Writer’s Fitness Plan is teaming up with the folks at Your Pace or Mine to start a local “running” group. We’re going to meet up one night a week for some running, jogging or walking (or combination of the three) camaraderie and fun. Join Team WFP and start your own local group. Or, if you’re in the Tallahassee area, drop me a line and I’ll spill the details. The more the merrier! If you do start a local group, or have one already, feel free to leave the details in the comments! It’s always fun to connect with one another.