So, is running part of your New Year’s resolution? Here are some of the lessons I learned when I was starting out. I hope these tips will make it easier for you to jumpstart your running lifestyle.
1. Shoes. Invest in a good pair of shoes suited for your foot type. It took me awhile to run 30mins straight because I was wearing a pair that wasn’t very comfortable. When I finally found a pair suited for my foot type, running 30mins was a breeze. When shopping for shoes, don’t be shy. Put them on and hop and jog around in them.
2. Set a goal. Is it weight loss? Run your first 5K? Run a marathon? Run an ultramarathon? 😛 It’s easier to keep logging km after km if you are clear on why you are doing it. In the middle of a training run or a race, I guarantee you that you will still find yourself asking, “Why am I doing this again?” At least if you have a goal, you will have a ready answer. Or if you are like me, you will just accept that you are plain crazy and will keep on running.
3. Make a plan. It is easier to get from point A to point B if you have a road map. Having training plan is one of the keys to success. There are days when you can’t follow what you planned. It’s okay. You live to run another day. If you drop off your routine you can easily go back on track by consulting your plan.
4. Start slow and you will last longer. When we were kids, we sprint then end up bended from our waist with our hands on our knees and gasping for air. Fun! I recommend doing it every so often to remind us our childhood. However, if you want to incorporate running into your life, I would suggest that you start slow and steady. You will notice that you are able to sustain running longer if you do it at a slower pace. If you can’t do a straight run yet, walk/run is a great way to get you started. Be patient, promise you will get faster.
5. Warm-up and stretching. Often neglected and disregarded but these are very important in preventing running related injuries.
6. Race. This is a good way evaluate your training. The adrenaline rush of being in a race is primal and priceless. You don’t have to do it every single Sunday but I recommend setting a goal race to help keep you motivated.
7. Have fun. If running becomes a chore then its no longer fun and you are likely to quit. Run with friends. Make new running friends. Run with your family and make it a bonding moment. After awhile, you will find yourself redefining fun. Seeing kms pile up is fun. Completing a 5x400m workout is exhilarating. Thursday 10K tempo, the best! And that crazy 42.195, no longer impossible but dream in the horizon.
For girls only:
8. Invest in a good sports bra. The last thing you want is to subject yourself to unnecessary pain. Or worse, a black eye. A good sports bra also ensures that you have the correct running form. I often see female runners with hunched up shoulders and arms not swinging but pressed tightly to the sides to tame the bounce and protect the girls. So before anything else, go out and buy a pair or two. When you try them on, try jogging in place and jumping to see if they support you well.
9. Red letter days. To run or not to run? Well, if you can run on these days, I say “Why not!” If you can’t, then don’t. There’s always tomorrow. Based on experience, sooner or later the desire to run will be stronger than the discomfort.