Tips For A New Runner

I’m sure there are thousands of people more qualified to give these to you, but since I’ve run 3 marathons, I’ll assume that I have a little experience. Here are my basic tips going back to when I started running by run/walking one mile on my treadmill.

  1. Start small and build up – Start by walking and running short distances to build up some endurance. When you want to add mileage, only add about 10% per week. I made the mistake at one point of adding miles too quickly in my training (35 one week and 50 the next 2 weeks) and spent about a month on the disabled list (DL) due to shin splints.
  2. Get in a running group – After a few months of running, I was running 12 minute miles which I felt good about. My friends asked me to run with them and within a month, I had dropped my average times down below 10 minute miles. Plus, you feel that extra incentive to get up and meet them in the morning. Some of my friends have a penalty they pay if they don’t show up.
  3. Vary your routine – Don’t just run the same speed and same route each day. Do sprints. Do intervals. Run hard some days and easy other days.
  4. Have the right attitude – Find the time when your energy level is high and get in a routine. You have to feel excited about running or exercising and have a positive attitude to succeed. Setting a goal can help (i.e., I want to run a sub-25 minute 5K) or creating an incentive (e.g., I’ll buy myself a new iPod if I lose 10 lbs).
  5. Buy Glide – A lot of people think you can just walk out the door and start running. I disagree on a few fronts. First, I do think all the wicking clothes do help, but more importantly, I find Glide to be a must have. I won’t run without it. When I first started, no one explained to me about how much chaffing was possible. For months, I would come home looking like I was shot with blood running down my shirt from my bloody nipples. Some people try Vaseline to avoid this. Others use bandaids. Glide is the only thing I’ve found that works and holds up thru weather and distance.
  6. Buy the right shoes – This is another very painful memory. When you run, you need shoes that are ½ size larger than you normally wear. If you don’t, you will start finding that your toenails turn black and eventually you lose them. (Not as bad for men as I would expect this would be for a woman who likes to wear open toed shoes.) For my first marathon, I lost five toenails and had to learn to stick needles under my toenails and thru my toenails to pop the blood blisters under them.
  7. Drink lots of water – This was a beginner’s mistake that I sometimes continue to make. A lot of times, I just like to run without carrying a water bottle. But at different times, I’ve thought I had some type of stomach acid problem because I was so torn up after my runs. It took me a long time to figure out that it was just dehydration.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been as rigorous about my training lately, but running can be a lot more fun and social that you think. I would encourage it for everyone.

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