Why run? (Unless you’re being chased by a bear, that is.) Aside from the obvious cardiovascular benefits, running gives you the opportunity to explore nature, take your fitness to new heights, enjoy camaraderie on the running trails, crush new goals, and yes, experience the infamous “runner’s high” (What’s that all about anyway? Read on. I’ll tell you.) If you’ve been yearning to join the club and see if running is all it’s cracked up to be, here are my TOP 3 tips to get you started.
1.) Invest in a good pair of running shoes.
Getting yourself a good pair of running shoes is crucial. Running in old shoes is a no-no. Proper cushioning and support is crucial for preventing injury and shoes wear out over time. A good rule of thumb is to replace your shoes every 500 – 600 miles.
If you don’t have a lot of money to drop on new kicks, just make sure you pick a pair designed for running that you are comfortable in! Trust me, I am all ABOUT the fitness fashion but this is not the time to buy based on looks. If you plan on running long distances, consider buying a pair a half size bigger than your normal shoe size, as your feet will swell and flatten out over time.
Long Story Short: If your shoes are uncomfortable, pinching or ill-fitting, you are not setting yourself up for success.
2.) Find a running buddy.
While running may be considered a solo sport, it can actually be a very social activity. The running community is extensive, welcoming and friendly. When you’re first getting started, running with a friend or group makes the experience really fun! It is comforting knowing that someone is “in it with you” and you will bond over shared struggles (how long IS THIS HILL?!) and triumphs (woo! longest distance yet!).
Anytime you start something new, it can be uncomfortable and when that moment hits, it’s the friend next to you that will keep you going. If you don’t have friends that run, check out local running groups and clubs, or even virtual running communities. There are plenty of running-centered groups on social media where you can share stories, find success partners, ask questions and celebrate your successes.
Long Story Short: Surrounding yourself by like-minded individuals and sharing your journey will enhance your experience, so plug in to the running community.
3.) Set a goal.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of running is doing things you’ve never done before. Maybe you can only run for 15 minutes without stopping. Guess what? When you run for 20 minutes without stopping it is going to be the most fabulous day and you will want to SHOUT it from the rooftops!
The sense of accomplishment that comes with achieving new distances/times is like none I have experienced with any other type of fitness. I encourage you to sign up for a race or set a goal distance and publicly announce your intention to run it. Even if it’s a quarter mile farther than you’ve ever gone, you’ll reap the exhilarating benefits of accomplishing a new goal, your body will start to release endorphins, aka the “runner’s high”, and you’ll have a reason to get out the door as you begin to fall in love with running.
Long Story Short: Maximize the full potential of the benefits of running by pushing yourself just a little bit.
Congratulations! You are a runner. Own your success and celebrate it. If you run, you can call yourself a runner. That term is not reserved for the elites in Boston.
Enjoy your journey, once you start running, it will be with you forever. It will turn a bad day into a good one, reveal strength within yourself you never knew you had, and create memories to last a lifetime. Happy running!