I’ve got 8 Tips to get you started running — and enjoying it!
Running is often seen as a simple sport, and on the surface, it is: Put on some clothes, lace up your shoes, and just run.
Speaking of shoes, that leads me to my first tip . . .
Get fitted for shoes at a running store
Here’s a cautionary tale for you: my sister decided, no doubt after years of hearing about my running, that she would start running, too. She didn’t get running-specific shoes (or ask me for any advice). She injured herself badly and that was the end of her running.
A good running store will at the very least watch you walk to see if you pronate or supinate. If you’re lucky, they’ll have you run a bit. If you’re really lucky, they’ll video you running and do a gait analysis. Although I’ve had different opinions about my foot mechanics at the same store.
Run in those shoes before you buy them
In pre-Pandemic days, running stores allowed you to run a little bit in the shoe. I don’t know if they still do that. You can’t really tell if a shoe is right for you — especially if you’re a beginning runner — but you will at least be able to tell whether or not the shoes feel good out of the box.
I like to say that I have to run at least 6 miles in a shoe before I can tell if it’s really the right fit. As a beginning runner, you won’t be running 6 miles at a time! If there’s a problem with the shoe, the store should accept a return (like the time the sole came off my trail shoes).
In the future, once you know your foot mechanics and the type of shoe recommended for you, you can try buying your running shoes online. Some brick and mortar stores have loyalty programs — make sure to ask about that.
If running feels terrible . . .
. . . you are probably running too fast. You should be able to talk. Your runs should feel easy. Don’t worry about pace, that will come with time. Even if running feels good, you should still run easy! It takes time for your cardiovascular system — and more importantly, your body — to get used to the effort of running.
It’s okay to walk
New — and experienced runners — get very hung up about not walking while running. You are still a runner even if you walk. Especially when you start, walk breaks will help running feel easier. Even experienced runners can hold off fatigue by taking walking breaks. Jeff Galloway is a famous Olympic medaler who promotes run/walk.
What about the famous runner’s high?
It definitely exists, but many runners will tell you they don’t feel it until they stop running. Some never experience it at all. Thankfully I have, and it’s a wonderful feeling — usually one I get after a race.
Cotton is Rotten
Unless you enjoy chafing, I highly suggest there should be no cotton in your running gear (yes, that includes your socks). Cotton blends can be okay — often race shirts are a blend of polyester and cotton. Cotton doesn’t wick away moisture, which is part of why you are much more likely to chafe if you’re wearing cotton anything.
You Earned Your Callouses
I suggest you keep them! They are usually places on your feet that take a beating, and hard skin builds up in that area. They are there to protect that area from damage. Whatever you do, don’t try to get rid of them before a race!
2 Tips for Your First Race, No Matter the Distance
Almost every first time racer obsesses over their finish time. Don’t! Enjoy the experience. Soak in the atmosphere. Chat with some of the runners: before, during, after.
My number one racing tip, and this one applies to both seasoned and novice runners: don’t go out too fast! Just trust me on that — it pretty much never ends well.
Running is sneaky. You may start it thinking I’m only doing this to lose weight, or because my doctor told me it would be good for me, but it has a sneaky way of getting under your skin. Some people love running from that first run, and others can take months or even years to fall in run with running.
Follow some (or all) of these tips and I promise that your love affair with running will start sooner rather than later.
You might also enjoy:
What’s your number one tip for beginning runners?
What did you have to learn the hard way?
What do you wish you’d known when you started to run?
This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.