Tuesday, October 9, 2012

In the beginning....

A few months ago, I wrote Gotta Start Somewhere, but I wanted to expand on the points I made and add a little more. For every week, month, year that I run, I learn more. I gain perspective. I gain insight into myself. Keep in mind, I am NOT an expert. I am NOT a coach. I am *just* a mom who likes to run and has learned many things along the way. Some of which I wish I had known when I started running!

So, you've got your support system. You've taken your first steps toward the C25K program. Heck, maybe you're even halfway through. Did you pick a goal race yet? I hope so. That goal race is a HUGE motivator to keep you going! My suggestion is to pick a race that might be a couple weeks after you're supposed to finish the C25K program. That way, if you need to repeat a week or two (life gets in the way!), you won't feel rushed or stressed about your race.

Hopefully, you have been properly fitted for running shoes. This is a MUST! The wrong shoes can cause injuries and more discomfort than beginning running will. Locally, we have several options; with Fleet Feet Sports and  Roadrunner Sports the two that I head to most often. Both offer a gait analysis where they have you run on a treadmill barefoot to see what your foot strike looks like to properly advise you on a pair of shoes. The big box sporting goods stores have a great selection and often run good sales, but (in my experience) do not have the knowledge needed for a first time running shoe purchase.

(Originally pinned this several months ago, but when I searched
for the source, it's missing. )
Just like the picture says....you're not trying to beat other runners. You should not be worried about pace when you are just beginning. Do not compare yourself to other runners. The first time I started running (between children), I had no idea how far I was running (I drove my usual route in the car for an estimate) and I had no idea on pace. Honestly, I think this was the best way to start running! I wasn't worried about going too fast, too slow, too far or not far enough. I ran as long as child #1 would tolerate being in the jogging stroller and considered it a good workout. September 2009 (what I consider my TRUE start to running), I had my Garmin Forerunner. I started to worry about pace. I started to worry about distance. Of course, the Garmin data did make it easier to celebrate new milestones! And I love being able to look back and remind myself of how far I've come.

Use your breathing as a guide. If you cannot form a sentence or carry on a conversation, you're pushing too hard. Slow down. Build up  your endurance. Speed will come later. In fact, I've read some places that you should not work on increasing speed until you've been running for at least a year.

Walking---when I first started running, I thought walking was taboo. If I walked during a run, then I wasn't a real runner. NOT TRUE! In fact, Jeff Galloway teaches the run/walk method of running and I know many people that successfully utilize the Galloway Method. Walking during a run is perfectly acceptable! You will still be a runner even if you take walking breaks. Ignore anyone that says otherwise!

Patience!!! You will not be able to go out and run five miles. Just take it one day, one mile, one STEP at a time. Stick with it and eventually you will be running farther than you ever thought possible.

Schedule your runs. Whatever plan you are following, write the workouts/runs on the calendar as an appointment. If you just try to fit it in whenever you can, chances are, life will get in the way. Make it part of your life and pretty soon, it will just become a habit. Figure out what time of day you are more likely to enjoy exercising...is it getting up an hour earlier? During the baby's nap time? After work? After the kids go to bed? Try them all and figure out what makes the most sense for you and makes you most likely to stick with it.

I hope this helps you at least a little bit on your journey. Remember that everyone starts in the same place and we've all been there!

I would love to hear about your progress if you have started recently. Or tell me what you wish you would have known when you first started running. What advice would you give to new runners?


  1. Great tips and advice! I was clueless when I started running and this def would have helped!! Spa love!

    1. Thanks, Jenna! I was clueless, too which is why I love trying to help other runners.

  2. Great tips, Anne! I'd take the sentiment of that picture a step further. "Motivation is what gets you started. Joy is what keeps you going. Dedication is what gets you to your goals."

    1. Thanks, Richard! And great point, too.

  3. Hi Anne - Just started following you on Twitter. You have a lot of great tips here for beginners (I'm a beginner too). Like you, I thought walking was not permitted in order to be a "runner." I'm glad I learned early on that it was OK to walk! :) Wendy


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