Are you new to running? Maybe you want to start, or maybe you started running during the pandemic and you are one of the millions of new “Pandemic Runners” and you want to learn more about your new passion. First, welcome to the wonderful world of running! Here’s your quick guide to the basics of running.
Running is generally an inexpensive sport – you can run in just about any clothes that are comfortable. I even remember seeing a runner almost every day in the winter running in jeans and a long-sleeved button-down shirt! Once you get farther into your running journey, you may want to find some specialized running shorts, socks, jackets, etc. But, starting out, feel free to wear what you have – any comfortable shorts or leggings, t-shirt and socks.
But, the one piece of gear you absolutely cannot skimp on is your running shoes. It is so important to get properly fitted shoes and shoes that are right for your running gait and body structure. So, go to your nearest specialty running store for advice. You may pay a little more than buying online, but it is so worth it to reduce the chance of injury and blisters. Many running stores have a treadmill where the shoe fitter will watch you run for a bit to examine your running gait, and others will examine wear patters on your existing shoes to find potential issues that can be alleviated with the proper running shoes. Then, they will measure your feet and get the size right – don’t be surprised if they recommend a size that is a little different than your regular casual shoes. Proper shoes means fewer injuries and fewer injuries means a happy runner!
The Training Plan – Take it Slowly
Ok, you have your shoes, now get out there and run! Well – maybe not… First, if you have any health issues, make sure you talk to your doctor before starting a new training plan. Once you are ready to start training, don’t go full steam ahead and run a 5km run. Start slooooowly. If you over-do it, you may injure yourself, or you may just be sore and tired and that will defeat your momentum and motivation. As you start running, there will be days where your muscles are stiff and your legs are sore – that’s normal. But, be aware of any sharp pains or aches that just don’t go away. You may need to back off or go and see a doctor or physical therapist.
We recommend finding a “Couch to 5k” plan. (You may also see it called “C25K.”) These plans are all over the internet and they will take you from never running to finishing your first 5k. (By the way – 5 kilometers is just over 3 miles.) Most of these training plans include a lot of walking at first. An example of an early “C25K” workout would be something like – warm up by doing a brisk walk for 5 minutes, then alternate jogging for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds for a total of 20 minutes. The workouts gradually progress to more and more running until you are able to run a 5k without stopping. Yay!
The best part of running is the race! Only 50% of new “Pandemic Runners” plan to participate in a race in the coming year. Running is a great sport for your overall health, and running a race isn’t required, but if you have never participated in a race, you are missing out.
My 5 Favorite Things about Racing:
- Community – You will see runners young and old, fast and slow all gathering together to do what we love. All so different, but we have running in common — it’s a beautiful sight!
- Adrenaline – There’s something about lining up at the starting line that get’s that adrenaline pumping. It’s definitely not that quiet solo run you are used to.
- Competition – Do you have a competitive streak? A race is a great way to test yourself – having other runners around always seems to get me to run faster than I thought I could.
- Cheering – Goosebumps! The cheering crowds, the high-fives, live bands on the course – you need to experience it!
- Celebration – When we’re done, we celebrate! Yes, our lungs and legs may still be burning, but we all celebrate our accomplishments together at the post-race party.
All of us in the Running Community are so glad to have you join us! Get out there for a run (with some walking, of course) and enjoy it!