These are things that I’ve learned, read and experienced. These tips and advice on running have helped me, as well as for my friends and family. One thing I can say is that running is mental. Yes, it’s physical because it’s an exercise, but I see people psyche themselves out thinking they cannot run when I believe it’s the simplest exercise to do. There’s nothing to it but to lace up your shoes and step outside. When I saw my mom complete her first full marathon, she inspired me on so many levels and showed me possibility. I’ve grown to love it and it makes me feel good when I’m out on the trail- it’s therapy to me. The best and cheapest therapy. With the low start-up costs and ability to run any time and any place, I don’t see why more people are not running. Buy some shorts, a t-shirt, a good pair of running shoes, and you’re good to go. Sounds easy to me! But here’s some guidance for you guys, hoping this will make your running experience simpler and enjoyable.
- Get fitted at a local independent running store. Often these stores have more knowledgeable staff than the big box retail stores. Many provide analysis, which will help reveal your foot strike pattern. And please don’t skimp on running shoes; be prepared to pay $80-150
- I rely on Asics Kayanos plus my custom orthotics and now I feel like I run on water, no pain or discomfort. Good shoes make the difference.
- Stay away from 100 percent cotton and lean towards technical fabric for running shorts, tops and socks. Technical fabric may be natural or synthetic. It’ll allow the moisture to rise to the surface where it can evaporate. 100 percent cotton tends to retain sweat, which causes chaffing, irritation and even blisters.
- For shorts, I usually wear Nike Dri-fit. With socks, I love the Thorlo Experias. I have various tops but love Nike Dri-fit and Lululemon. And I always prefer my Nike Dri-fit hats. They cover my face from the sun so I don’t have to put SPF on my forehead and later have it sweat into my eyes, which can be irritating and painful. Lastly, I love applying coconut oil onto areas of my body that are likely to chafe.
- Motivation, inspiration, accountability, and commitment increase dramatically when you’re a part of a running group or at least have a running buddy. Everyone experiences times when they don’t want to run, but if you know you have buddies counting on you, it can make all the difference in the world when it comes to rolling over and getting out of bed. Even your local running store will have group runs for all experience levels.
- I love group runs, they’re fun. I do a few a month and make friends at each event. And I have my accountability partners for the gym each morning at 5:30 and running. It helps out so I encourage you get a group or a friend to help push you.
- If none of your friends live close enough to be physical buddies, no worries! With technology these days, there are many running apps for your smart phone that can help you with your long distance running-buddy relationships. I use the Nike Running App, as it syncs my playlist to my runs, as well as GPS-tracks my running distance, routes, and timed paces. Feel free to screen shot your finished runs to share with your buddies via text and/or social media.
Easing Into It
- Running can demand a lot from your body. You know your body best. I’ve seen people give up here just like when people give up the gym after 1 month from their New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve heard people say, “If I feel this tired, drained, and wiped out, what’s the point in running?” I read that it usually takes your body between 4-6 weeks to get acclimated. I suggest you expect that “wiped out feeling” so you won’t get shocked and surprised when it happens. Take it easy and listen to your body and know this, “What was once hard for you will be your warm up.” Don’t do too much, too soon, or go out too fast, as many new runners experience shin splints, pulled calf muscles, cramping quads, or sore hips from that. Trust the process and know you will get better; it’ll take time like all things do.
- This is so crucial. Your body is a machine and you need to fuel it. I take my supplements daily (complete multi-vitamin, fish oil, glucosamine, coenzyme q10, grape seed extract). These alone, have made the biggest difference in my performance, focus and energy. Because of them, after running 26.2 miles, I can continue a normal day afterwards with minimal soreness and feel like I didn’t run a full marathon. I read and now share with others that complex carbs and little protein is good before running. I usually suggest eating an hour before. This gives your body time to digest the food and provide your body with energy. Some pre-run fuels I like are yogurt, granola, bagel with peanut butter, and a banana. Every runner is different, find what works for you.
- For long runs, I like to keep GU gel packs in my pocket. Imagine a bar in gel form that you just squeeze out the pack into your mouth- and it’s delicious! Simple and easy to carry in your pockets. Depending on my runs, I’ll take 1 pack every 45 minutes.
- Hydration and fuel are equally important. I’d suggest drinking 20 oz of water 1.5 hours prior to running, giving it time to pass through your body and be voided before your run. During your run, drinking water is fine. If you plan on running more than 60 minutes, then I’d suggest carrying Salt Stick caps. They will help replace vital electrolytes, which are minerals (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus) that are crucial to helping maintain proper water balance in your body.
- Just like working out, after a run your body needs to rest. With any type of exercise, you are actually creating tiny tears in your muscle tissue. The body then rushes to rebuild and repair them. This is the normal muscle-building process that makes you stronger. But if you don’t get the proper rest then your body isn’t fully repaired causing you to feel sore, tired and sluggish.