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.

Choosing Running ShoesRunning Gear

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!

Race in Europe - Running TourThe Race!

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Cheering – Goosebumps!  The cheering crowds, the high-fives, live bands on the course – you need to experience it!
  5. 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.

Welcome!

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!

Runners in the Luxembourg Gardens ParisWe runners are a big family.  No matter how fast or slow we are, we are runners!  A part of being in the running community is “The Wave.”  But, is the runner wave universal?  Or, does the runner greeting differ around the world?

As we run in Europe, we have come to notice some distinct trends, patterns or general etiquette of greeting your fellow runners when you’re out there getting your sweat on.  First of all, wherever back home in the U.S., big city or not, we find that runners tend to acknowledge each other with a nod, a quick wave or a brief “hi.”  Of course, this is a generalization, but you know what we mean.  Of course, in big cities in any country there is always an element of anonymity, so you don’t always acknowledge each other.  Living in the mountains of Colorado, we don’t have a lot of extra oxygen to expel when coming across a fellow runner, so we just give a quick little hand raise.

Enter our travels…we read recently that the French do not smile at strangers (running or strolling) and that they find it odd when we Americans do so.  They find it almost indicative of some sort of senility – that we think we know these people at whom we are smiling.  We don’t know if the French would agree with this.  But, yes, the French culture is different than ours in the U.S.  They are more to themselves, they’re not going to mow you down with a big bear hug.   So, when in Paris we’ve gotten used to not addressing anyone which was very weird at first, but then we adapted to their ways and thought nothing of it. But, at a race, it’s a different story.  The Parisian runners are full of smiles, high-fives and “Allez!  Allez!” (Go! Go!)

Enter Belgium, where we forgot our manners and weren’t quick enough to respond when we got the nod.  Yep, it’s the nod.  It took passing a few more runners to get into the nod ourselves…those who we encountered earlier in our run probably thought we were rude, nope, just slow on the draw!

Runners in SwitzerlandFast forward to Switzerland…we got a mixed bag, but one super enthusiastic and terribly cute older gentleman who we came upon on a woodsy trail stands out.  He was really chatting us up…in German.  (We don’t speak German.)  He was asking about one of our obvious injuries and trying to explain his.  We commiserated with hand gestures and each then went on our way.

Even stateside, enjoying a run along the beach in SoCal, you get a “hang loose” hand gesture.  Everyone’s got their thing!

And circling back to France, when in Brittany, running on a lovely path near a quaint little town complete with a cathedral (seriously, it could not have been more idyllic), we received an onslaught of “bonjours” complete with smiling faces.  Who’s senile now?  Well, so much for all of that business about the French.  (You can read our rant on why the French aren’t rude here.)  Perhaps, like in most places, it’s just a big city thing there in Paris.  Enjoying all of the beauty of Paris while running is certainly “bonjour” enough.  Enjoy all of the greetings (or lack thereof) along the way!

 

*We would like to make the disclaimer that generalizations are abundant in this post as we certainly did not cross paths with every runner of each country mentioned and hopefully no offense was taken by any smiley, wavey, chatty international runners (wink, wink).

(This post is an update of our previous post – Running Etiquette – Addressing (or not!) fellow runners)

Runners in the Luxembourg Gardens ParisAs we run over here in Europe, we have come to notice some distinct trends, patterns or general etiquette of greeting your fellow runners when you’re out there getting your sweat on.  First of all, wherever I am back home in the U.S., big city or not, I find that runners tend to acknowledge each other with a nod, a quick wave or a brief “hi.”  Of course, this is a generalization, but you know what I mean.  Of course, in big cities in any country there is always an element of anonymity, so you don’t always acknowledge each other.  Living in the mountains of Colorado, I don’t have a lot of extra oxygen to expel when coming across a fellow runner, so what I do is  give a quick little hand raise.

Enter our travels…I read recently that the French do not smile at strangers (running or strolling) and that they find it odd when we Americans do so.  They find it almost indicative of some sort of senility – that we think we know these people at whom we are smiling.  I don’t know if the French would agree with this.  But, yes, the French culture is different than ours in the U.S.  They are more to themselves, they’re not going to mow you down with a big bear hug.   So, when in Paris I’ve gotten used to not addressing anyone which was very weird at first, but then I got in the zone and thought nothing of it.  Until I got to Belgium, where I forgot my manners and wasn’t quick enough to respond when I got the nod.  Yep, it’s the nod.  It took me a few more runners to get into the nod…their predecessors probably thought I was rude, nope, just slow on the draw!  Runners in Switzerland

Fast forward to Switzerland…I got a mixed bag, but one super enthusiastic and terribly cute older gentleman who I came upon on a woodsy trail stands out in my mind.  He was really chatting me up…in German.  When I said I spoke English he just pointed at my KT tape and at various parts of his body (which I took to be achy maybe??) and then he put his hands in a forward motion down the trail.  My interpretation of this message was that while we might have some aches and pains, we carry on!  (Regardless of age or country!)

And circling back to France, when in Brittany running on a lovely gravel path along the Rance river where I would soon come upon a quaint little town complete with a cathedral (seriously, it could not have been more idyllic), I received an onslaught of “bonjours” complete with smiling faces – who’s senile now?  Well, so much for all of that business about the French.  (You can read my rant on why the French aren’t rude here.)  Perhaps, like in most places, it’s just a big city thing there in Paris.  Enjoying all of the beauty of Paris while running though is certainly “bonjour” enough.

 

*We would like to make the disclaimer that generalizations are abundant in this post as we certainly did not cross paths with every runner of each country mentioned and hopefully no offense was taken by any smiley, wavey, chatty international runners (wink, wink).