You have decided to run. With a bright pair of running shoes,your old gym T-shirt, and ancient tube socks you head out the door. The adrenaline is pumping and when you look to see how far you have gone you realize you're lost because you went so far. As you uber back home, you think to yourself "So it is true, anyone can be a runner!"
The next morning you wake up and crawl out of bed feeling like an old man or woman - everything hurts! Then hanger attacks and your ravaging the fridge for breakfast. Your knees are still aching, your body is tired and now you have blisters. You are ready to quit. But don't give up now. With a few small changes you could be running with the pros. Follow my five "F's" below to a fun and healthy start!
Let's see if we can get rid of those blisters. Often people make the mistake of buying a running shoe based on color or because it was on sale for 50% off. Purchase a shoe that fits well, feels comfortable but also supports your lower body and foot as it hits the ground.
Find a local running store and get fit for the right pair of running shoes. They should have you try on several pairs and videotape you running in them.
Your shoe should be ½-1 size bigger than your typical work or leisure shoe to allow your feet to swell during running and prevent black toe nails.
If you take the shoes home and don’t like them most stores have a good return policy. It is usually okay if the shoe has been run in a few times as long as they don’t get muddy or look beat up. Be sure to ask your store before purchasing.
One of the benefits of running is that there is not a lot of cost or equipment associated with it. However if you don’t start with a good pair of running shoes you might set yourself up for aches and pains you don’t need.
Cotton T-shirts are great to support your local charity, but running gear has improved tremendously in the lat 20+ years. Get some comfy, but running specific clothes that are designed to wick away seat a minimize irritating rashes. You can get great running clothes at Marshall's or TJ Maxx for a decent price if you don't want to invest in expensive running clothes yet.
You always want to dress as if it is 15-20 degrees warmer outside because you body will heat up as you exercise.
Dry-fit socks and clothes are the best because they help to keep you dry and comfortable.
Women make sure to get a sports bra that is nice and snug.
if you still get some skin irritation pick up some body glide to help ease the chaffing
Just because you ran doesn't mean a chocolate chip cookie is always deserved. While the sugar and chocolate taste great it won't help your recovery or provide with the nutrients to keep going. Fuel yourself correctly and you will benefit more from each run. In order to improve recovery you should consume a mix of protein, carbs and fat within 20-30 minutes after you finish your run. Here are some suggestions:
Handful of nuts
peanut butter on toast
well balanced meal: meat, carbs and veggies
A good friend can hold you accountable. If you can't convince anyone to run with you unless they are being chased search the internet. Find a local running group to start with. Facebook pages, meet-up groups, and runs out of local running stores are good places to start. Through your network seek out people with more experience to help guide you beyond the first mile.
A good training plan is recommended. Up to 92% of runner can be injured a year. The most common causes of injury include: doing too much too soon and training error.
There are a lot of great couch to 5k programs available online that will safely give you an idea about how much you should do and how quickly to progress.
It is best to start with a walk run plan and transition to running.
The commonly accepted rule on how much you can safely increase your mileage by per week is 10-15%.
It is also important to remember that even though it feels good don’t run too much too soon. 3-4 times a week is plenty and in the beginning try not to run 2 days back to back.
If you want you can even get a good running coach to help create an individualized plan for you.
Before your feet hit the pavement incorporate these good habits as a part of your running routine. You will be more resilient, recover faster and be more likely to stay out of the doctor's office.
Your neighbors may laugh, but dynamic stretching before your run will increase blood flow, warm up your muscles and improve your performance.
Get a foam roller to help roll out your muscles after your run and help you recover
Cross train. Runners often get injured because they just run. Give your body a rest swim, bike, do yoga or pilates to improve your overall strength 1-2x/week
Strength training for your hips, core and legs with make you stronger, faster and less likely to be injured.
Get your running form assessed to decrease unnecessary stress on your joints, ligaments and muscles.
That's it. Theses five things: Feet, Fashion, Food, Friends and Fundamentals should have you running like the pros in no time. Now lace up those running shoes and race your neighbor!