In the last week, I’ve had a few people openly declare to me their intent to start a running regimen or to tackle the marathon next year…and to them I say kudos!!
Here’s a few things I wish I knew about running before I started running.
1. It’s going to be uncomfortable for awhile, but just keep going. Especially if you’ve been sedentary, get ready to feel tired, hungry, cranky, and sore…at least for the first month or so. Push through it…the rewards of your hard work are worth it. Don’t discount the power of icing, long baths, massage therapy, nutrition/hydration, or good ole R&R.
2. Plan for rest days and plan to do your best. Sometimes life gets in the way of your training. It will happen. It’s best to realize it and to recover from it quickly, rather than forever dwell on it and then never get back into your routine. Put together a feasible schedule so that you can plan the rest of your commitments around your training. Remember, your training is YOU-time. Make it non-negotiable. 3 days a week to start is good; 4 days a week to start is optimal.
3. Get some decent running shoes. They don’t have to be top-of-the-line and expensive but they should be actual running shoes. Running in shoes that aren’t meant to support your feet over a few miles can be painful and harmful. Zappos has some great shoes and they’ll ship them to your door!
4. Start with short races before tackling the big 26.2. A shorter race will allow you to get into the groove of racing (a.k.a. get the newbie mistakes out of the way). I initially had no interest in running a marathon. I just wanted to run a 5K, so I signed up for the LA Big5K 2011. I caught the racing bug and then on the same weekend one year later I ran the LA Marathon 2012. Funny how that works out!
5. Track/journal your progress. You can start a blog or use an app like RunKeeper.com to do this. I always find myself jittery before a major race. It helps to go back through my progress and to see how far I’ve come and to know that I’ve given myself ample time to prepare.
6. Be accountable to someone other than yourself. It can be your significant other, fitness friend, or a charity team. Just make sure you’re accountable to someone else so that you can’t (or rather, won’t!) slack on your commitment. Someone who earnestly takes an interest in your health and interests will do what they can to eliminate temptations in your life so that you can be the best version of YOU.
Would you add any other tips to this list?