A Few Words for the New Runner

18 May

I got the most fun phone call from an old friend this morning! She has decided to give running a try and she needed some advice on shoes, sports bras, etc. This particular friend has recently modified her eating habits by cutting out sodas, counting calories, and limiting the fast foods. While that successfully lost her a significant amount of weight, she has now plateaued and is ready to fire up the ol’ metabolism and kick it into HIGH GEAR! I’m so excited for her!!

I’m going to be honest, when I started running, I thought it sucked. SUCKED, I tell you. I thought those people who said they loved running were just liars…or crazy…or both. After a few times running, I realized why it sucked so much…because I literally NO idea what I was doing. I had all the motivation in the world, but I was killing my body and running just about as inefficiently as possible. Oh, and did I mention…I was also running in Nike Shox. GASP! (Running…in cross-trainers?? Oh, the horror!!)

After several tries and feeling miserable, I knew I had to be doing something wrong. So I started talking to EVERYONE about running…people that worked at the running stores, people online, random people I stopped around the LSU Lakes. I tried to gather all the info I could on apparel, shoes, form, technique, hydration, nutrition, etc. I bought every running/fitness magazine I could find. I inundated myself with information. And something must have worked, because everything started getting easier. Before I knew it, I was enjoying running! Woot!

To get me to this point, I was offered A LOT of advice. Here are my Top 3 things that made a difference to me:

1. Get yourself a pair of REAL running shoes.
For the love of Pete, PLEASE do not just go down to your favorite big box sporting goods store and pick out some that look “cool.” I beg you to find your local running specialty store and be properly fitted. This will save you from (some) injuries and will help you understand WHY you need the shoes you do. Understanding your form and foot strike will make all the difference in the world.

Suacony Fastwitch 5

2. Invest in BodyGlide.
This stuff should be considered a miracle product. I was advised to purchase this product about 7 years ago when I started walking the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. In all of my 60-mile walks, half marathons, and marathon, I have NEVER gotten a blister. Seriously, I could literally bathe in this stuff. With its no-odor and non-greasiness, I give a big thumbs up! I’ve doused my feet in it and I’ve even been known to put it around my chest and shoulders to prevent rubbing by my sports bra.

3. Join a running group or find a buddy.
There are going to be days where you feel unmotivated. That’s just the way it is. There are going to be days when you are sore and feeling down and you don’t feel like running. It happens. You know what the best cure is? A running buddy to offer you a hand, pull you up off the ground, and offer you encouraging words. Social running groups are worth their weight in gold. In fact, I run in two different groups per week (Happy’s Running and Varsity Sports). I’ve been able to make new friends at all different levels. The faster people give me motivation to push a little harder, and the slower people remind me to be encouraging to others…as we’ve all had to start somewhere.

Me and my new running friend, Andrea Bonnette.

So if you are just getting started, CONGRATULATIONS and a big HIGH FIVE to you for starting on this new journey to health and happiness! Take it one day at a time and remember to enjoy the scenery!

For some other ideas and tips on getting started, check out @bekkib73’s blog! I’ll also leave you with this quote that I stole off of Louisiana Running Company’s facebook this morning…

“There is no limit to what you can imagine. And with commitment, with effort, what you can imagine you can become. Put your mind to work for you. Believe that you can do it. The world will tell you that you can’t. Yet, in your belief you’ll find the strength, you’ll find the ability, to do it anyway.” Ralph Marston

For my veteran runner readers, what advice do you think is important for someone just starting out in the sport?

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13 Responses to “A Few Words for the New Runner”

  1. Jeremy May 18, 2011 at 1:47 PM #

    I went to Varsity for some new shoes two weeks ago, and I’ll definitely vouch for the first tip! I wasn’t thrilled with the looks, but when I tried them on, and especially tried them out the first time, they could have been the ugliest shoes in the wold, and I would have still loved them. Oh, and thanks to you, Brent, Theresa, and Brandon, I can also vouch for number three!

    • katieRUNSthis May 18, 2011 at 1:54 PM #

      I’m telling you…function over fashion is SO important. My friend wanted to get these new “running” shoes because they were pink. She didn’t know anything else about them other than they were pink. I had to roll my eyes and explain to her that sometimes you have to be PRACTICAL and get gear that will be good for your body…not easy on the eyes.

      So glad to have met you too! Our running group is getting STRONG!

  2. Karen May 18, 2011 at 1:47 PM #

    This post is awesome! I totally SUCKED too when I started and my running shoes were terrible. In fact my ankles hurt so much after a month or so that I had to stop for 2 weeks straight.

    My one piece of advice for new runners is to believe in yourself, take it slowly and don’t compare yourself to any other runners.

  3. DubyaWife May 18, 2011 at 1:55 PM #

    Sigh.

    See i was so excited to be a runner and when i first started out I felt like I was doing very well. Now after over 8 months of running I feel like I haven’t moved to the next step. I’m still struggling, still huffing, and not going any faster. I feel like it was easier in the beginning and now I should push myself harder.

    Don’t get me wrong i still love to run, but I struggle with the idea of calling myself a “runner” cause what I do is more of a slow jog/walk.

    • katieRUNSthis May 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM #

      No sighs allowed! Pick that head up, stand up straight, and be a proud runner, Ms. Ma’am!

      If you’re still struggling and huffing away, maybe you just need to refine your technique a little. Getting out to a group run and talking to other runners can really help that, I promise. Also, running with someone who is a more experienced runner can help. As they run beside you, they can help remind you to breathe and relax. (I’ll help you out when you come out to Happy’s! I have a personal “No Runner Left Behind” policy!)

      Lady, you ARE a runner! Look in the mirror and say it with confidence. I guarantee that if you start thinking of yourself as a runner, others will too. (See my About Me page for my personal story on this.)

  4. Bambi May 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM #

    Thanks for this post. I’m trying to be a runner. It is going very very slow. Any advice is appreciated.

    • katieRUNSthis May 18, 2011 at 2:10 PM #

      My biggest piece of advice at this stage of the game is don’t “try to be a runner.” Just BE a runner! Hell, if whatever you’re doing is running to you (whether that’s slow or fast), than you ARE a runner! Get out there with confidence! Oh, and make as many running friends as you can. Accountability keeps me going. 🙂

  5. running on faith May 18, 2011 at 3:07 PM #

    great post! I started running on my team in high school so I immediately had a huge support group of runners and a wealth of knowledge from my coach. But for those newbies who try and start it out alone later on in life, it must be super challenging to sort through all the info about training etc. and stay motivated. this is great advice!!

  6. Venicia May 18, 2011 at 4:05 PM #

    Hi Katie:

    Neicy here, and I must say…beyond the pale, that I still somewhat hate running, so for all practical purposes, this blog was for me.

    I like that I no longer start walking a block into exercising, but it still feels super hard, but you, Brent, Brandon ,Theresa and random high fives from runners @ Happy’s makes me want to continue to become a (shouting) RUNNER, especially since being the tail of a running group realllllly sucks.

    Seriously, thank you for this blog.

    I missed you guys yesterday and I really appreciate you and your motivation! 🙂

    • katieRUNSthis May 18, 2011 at 4:07 PM #

      Oh, Neicy, you are THE BEST! I’m so proud of all the progress you’ve been making these last few weeks! You’ve really been giving it all you’ve got and it is paying off!! Woot! Just keep it up!! It gets easier, I promise!

      We missed you so much yesterday! We’ll be having a few more newbie runners joining us in a couple weeks, so we’ll make sure to make them feel just as welcome! 🙂

  7. Ginny May 19, 2011 at 5:40 PM #

    Great post! I love the comment about NOT comparing yourself to others. If you run, you are a RUNNER!

    In addition to your most excellent points, I would say BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE 10% rule. DO NOT increase your mileage or minutes by more than 10% each week. Remember the “terrible toos” — doing too much, too soon, too fast and avoid this mistake.

    I would also have to say get some good socks. I prefer DryMax (I also sell and mail them, if needed) The best socks I have every had for running!

    Also, commit to 1 month of running and then decide if you like it or hate it. The first month is tough!

  8. Adam May 19, 2011 at 6:49 PM #

    Being injured is VERY different than being “sore” and needs to be treated as such. It takes some unfortunate trial and error, but knowing the difference leads to much more consistent training.

  9. Courtenay May 20, 2011 at 12:59 PM #

    It’s VERY important to do proper stretching and warm up BEFORE and AFTER your run. I’m living proof of not doing that when I was a newbie runner and look what it got me! A raging hip injury that had me out for 2 months and a ton of medical bills! No bueno!

    Definitely set reasonable goals when you first start out. Push yourself, but be realistic about it and relish in the “small things” that truly are wonderful accomplishments. It will make all the training more enjoyable!

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