Friday, August 9, 2013

My 10 Tips for New Runners

Posted by Devin

I don't know about all of you, but I have seriously been slacking off in the the exercise department this summer. Even though I'm not anxious for school to start, I am looking forward to a more regular routine around our house and hopefully a return to my normal running schedule. I feel so much better when I start my day with a run!

Looking to get in to a running habit too? Maybe for the first time? This post is for all of the ladies out there who would like to start running. I am a woman (hopefully that's obvious) and a mom and these are my best running tips from that perspective. So here it is, "the good, the bad, and the ugly" of running as seen from my view!

* Sign Up for a Race - If I'm going to get up at 5am to go for a run, sometimes in the dark and freezing cold, I need motivation. It's really hard for me to keep getting out there unless I have a reason to do it. The motivation of a better physique isn't bad, but I usually find that I need something more. Signing up for a race gives me a clear goal to work towards and motivates me to push harder and go further. This is definitely the most important factor for me when it comes to establishing a good routine. And races just happen to be really, really fun and give you such a sense of satisfaction when you're done!

* Follow a Training Plan - A friend of mine recently put a quote on Instagram that said "A goal without a plan is just a wish." So true. If you want to improve your times, increase your distances, and meet your goals, a training plan is a must. I have shared my 4-month, couch-to-5K training schedule on my recent post Becoming A Runner, but you can find great training plans all over the internet that will meet your specific needs. If you signed up for a 10K and you have 3 months to train, google "3 month 10K training plan," find a schedule you like, and simply follow the plan!

* Keep a Running Log - The second part of following a training plan is keeping a log of your runs and your times. There are many great apps that will track your runs and tell you your pace and how many calories you have burned such as Endomondo, RunKeeper, Nike+ Running, and MapMyRun. Using a phone app is great because having your phone with you is a good idea anyways for safety reasons. I typically use a Garmin watch to give me this information and then record everything in a spreadsheet on my computer. Jake keeps a journal and Tara uses Endomondo. I love to keep a log because it makes it so much easier to see where I have improved and motivates me to keep going. I also like to occasionally write down the conditions surrounding a workout (weather, what I ate, how much sleep I got, any aches and pains I had, etc.) if I happened to have a particularly good or bad day. It's nice to see if there's a pattern as to what's working and what's not.

* Get a Good Pair of Running Shoes - I know you'd probably rather spend your money on some cute new heels, but paying a little more for a good pair of running shoes that will give you proper support and comfort will be an investment worth making. Go to a store that offers the service of determining your foot type and helping you find the best shoe for your needs. Make sure to replace them every 300-400 miles. I used to think that I would NEVER run that far, but it actually comes much sooner than you think it will! And you feel really cool when you realize you've ran the same distance it takes to get from Phoenix to LA. And then you'll wish you had just headed that way in the first place so you could be at the beach right now. Anyways... next tip!

* Schedule Your Runs - If you don't schedule the time for your runs, they won't get done. And if you try to plan them at times where other important activities are getting pushed aside, it will become a big inconvenience to keep it up. Fit the training to your life, not your life to the training. I am a stay-at-home mom to 4 boys who are not all in school yet, therefore my opportunities for personal running time are pretty much ZERO during their waking hours. I run on weekdays anywhere between 5 and 6 a.m.. It can be a little brutal to get up so early, but as long as I get to bed at a decent hour it's not so bad. And at that time of the day there aren't too many things that can get in the way of my workouts. There's nothing stopping me but myself (which is a big enough obstacle without having to deal with others too).  ;) 

* Buddy or Ear Buds - Let's face it. Running can get a little monotonous. Especially as you start increasing your distances. In order to battle the doldrums I need one of two things: either a running buddy or something playing on my iPod. I prefer a running buddy, especially since it is safer to run in pairs. It is so nice to have someone to talk with and to help motivate each other as you go. But if my partner (usually Tara) can't make it for the run, having my iPod with me is a must. I listen to music to keep me going but Jake loves listening to podcasts. Sounds a little dry and boring to me, but Jake swears by it so I am still wanting to give this a try. Does "Ellen" have podcasts?

* Plan Routes Around Restrooms - This is probably where the "ugly" comes in to this list of tips. Running often leads to gastrointestinal (GI) troubles. Not everyone has a problem with this, but many people do. And sorry ladies, it seems to be a bigger issue for us. Especially if you've had a few kids. In order to save yourself from the distress of being caught in the middle of nowhere doing the potty dance, plan your running routes so that you will occasionally be passing accessible restrooms. You may find that this is not a concern for you. But it only takes one bad experience to convince you that sticking close to a bathroom may not be a terrible idea.

* Post-Run Protein - As I said before, I run in the early morning. When I get home I make sure that I either have a protein shake or an egg with my breakfast. There's nothing worse than getting to 10 a.m. and completely bonking because I didn't have some protein after my workout. Bonking isn't an option when kiddos are operating at full capacity. Get your protein and don't let your run slow down the rest of your day!

* Hydrate - This is so, so important. Make sure that you are getting enough water every day. Dehydration can lead to more GI problems, dizziness, headaches, fatigue... Lots of yucky stuff. At the end of my runs I always have a full bottle of cold Gatorade waiting for me. When the Gatorade's gone, I fill it up with water and chug. For long runs, I plan to loop around to my car or house where I can take a drink before I go on. If you decide to train for a marathon or another long race, you will probably want to get a belt with water bottles to take with you. And keep hydrating throughout the day. It's not always easy for me to remember to do this, but I am working on it. If I simply got myself a drink every time I filled up a sippy cup I would be doing pretty good!
* Don't Do Too Much Too Soon - Nothing will burn you out quicker than trying to run further or faster than you are ready to. It can cause aches and pains and possibly even injuries. Basically, it will chew you up and spit you out and you will NOT want to go back. Stick with your training. Don't try to do more, just follow the plan. And don't feel guilty if you think you could do more than your schedule tells you to do for that day. Just enjoy the fact that you had a comfortable workout. They will be few and far between.
That's it ladies! I hope some of these tips make the journey of running a little easier for you! And I hope it doesn't seem like I don't enjoy running from any of the things I have written. I love the time to do something for myself and the way it makes me feel when I am done. My body feels looser and more relaxed and I am a healthier and happier person for doing it. Tara and I like to call it our "Mommy Therapy Session." Whatever works, right? Hope it works for you!



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