Things I wish I knew as a new runner...
Happy 2021! I hope everyone had a Happy Holidays and a good time ringing in the New Year.
Like it or not many people set New Year's Resolutions at the beginning of the year. Gyms are usually packed, people go on diets, and some people try a new activity like running.
It is no secret that I love running and think it is a great way to stay active and get healthy. It is a very simple sport and just about anyone can do it anywhere. There are a few things I wish someone had told me before I started running, so I did not have to learn the hard way.
Get Fitted for Running Shoes & Buy New Shoes Often - When I trained for my first half marathon, I ran in the tennis shoes that had been sitting in my garage for a few years. When my left IT band started hurting, my sister-in-law, who is a life long runner, told me I should probably go get fitted for a pair of running shoes. I went to my local running store, got properly fitted for shoes, and like magic, my IT band issues went away. I did every training run and ran my half marathon in that same pair of running shoes. After my half marathon, I started training for a full marathon, in the same shoes, and my IT band started flaring up again. I learned the hard way that after you put about 300-400 miles on a pair of running shoes, the foam and cushioning of the shoe starts to breakdown and it is time for a new pair. You can put a reminder in your phone to help you remember or Garmin and other watches have features to log the mileage of your shoes with your runs.
Running Socks Make a Huge Difference - I struggled with getting blisters on my feet a lot when I first started running. Buying socks that are specific for running makes a huge difference. Again, I had no idea there where specific socks for running when I first started. I have tried a few brands, but my favorite is Balega Hidden Running socks, linked here: https://balega-socks.implus.com/products/hidden-running-socks
Be Patient & Realistic - If you are new to running, especially if you have never ran before, it is going to take time to build up your aeorbic base. I would highly suggest following a training plan whether that be a Coach to 5k or a longer 20 week half marathon training plan. Whatever fits your goals and current fitness. Having some guidance when you are first getting started can be helpful. We all do better when we have a game plan.
Running Injuries Happen, More Often Than You May Realize - I did not realize when I first started running that running injuries seem to "come with the territory " for runners. I have had my fair share of "niggles" and tendonitis over the last decade. BUT fear not you can prevent injuries many running injuries. Educate yourself and remember that you can only sustain as much training as you can recover from. If you are not recovering properly from your training, in my experience, an injury is coming around the corner. Some of my favorite resources for injury prevention are:
- The Doc on The Run podcast and website. There is a wealth of information on treating your own running injuries, different treatment options, and you can even schedule a telemedicine appointment with Dr. Segler : https://www.docontherun.com/doc-on-the-run-podcast/
- The Runner's Fix on Instagram - This Instagram is a great follow and provides great strength training exercises and warm up routines specifically for runners. https://www.instagram.com/therunnersfix/
Run Your Easy Days Easy - If you are following a training program that has workout days, do not worry about the pace you are running the days that are marked "easy" pace. Most training plans will give you an idea of what you "easy" pace should be, but if it doesn't feel easy to YOU, it is NOT easy. Easy is a feeling, not a pace. If you need to slow down on your easy, recovery days, slow down. That is what allows you to run faster on the hard workout days.
I hope this is helpful to a new runner out there. I know it would have been helfpul for me 10 years ago when I started running. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or message me on Instagram. I love helping new runners get started.