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.
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.
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!
“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?