Last month I visited home. My sister, who is a hard core runner, casually asked me if I wanted to go running with her. I was like, sure. Why not? So I borrowed a pair of shoes and started my training in getting my hiney whooped.
It was love at first cramp.
Since then, I’ve been training to run a 10k. Just this morning I ran 3.62 miles without stopping. I cried! Or at least, I tried crying. No actual tears came out because they were too busy being sweated out.
I’ve been talking to everyone I know about tips for runners. All runners have such great advice and tips! I’m a beginner, and these things have been so helpful for me just starting out. But maybe even seasoned runners can learn a new trick.
Find your motivation – Like I mentioned, I’m training for a 10k (6.2 miles). Yeah, I picked a big guy for my first race, but I have a natural ability to distance run (or so my kick-butt sister told me), so I reached for a goal that challenges me. Training for a race motivates me. It gets me out of bed in the morning before my family wakes up.
What’s your reason for running? Reduced stress, weight loss, healthy lifestyle? Whatever it is, it’s so important to remember it when your alarm goes off at o-dark-hundred and you’d rather be sleeping than hitting the pavement.
Breathe – So, you want to live, huh? Great! Then you need to breathe. One of the things my sister taught me early on was that it’s important to breathe in your belly. How on earth do you do that?
Put your hand on your chest and take a deep breath. Notice how your hand goes up and down? Now put it on your stomach. Take a deep breath and make your hand move out with your belly. This can be challenging while you’re running, but if you can master it, you can double the amount of oxygen you take in while you run.
Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth. This helps you focus on good breathing (rather than panting), and keeps you from clenching your jaw.
Relax – As you run, shake out your arms, don’t fist your hands, and relax your jaw. These waste your precious energy that you need for running.
Gear Up Properly – Invest in some proper running shoes. A lot of running stores will have a running/walking evaluation that they can administer for free. They put you on a treadmill and film your gate as your run or walk. Then, based on what they see, they find you shoes to match your needs. This keeps your feet, ankles, knees and hips in better shape.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money on exercise clothes. Just make sure whatever you’re wearing is NOT cotton. That retains water (aka sweat) and increases chaffing. No thanks!
Also get some good music. If I have music I don’t like, it makes for a boring run. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your own thoughts. Get some upbeat music that motivates you and inspires you. Fast beat music is great because you can try to match your pace to the beat.
Round Up Some Cheerleaders – Everyone needs someone in their corner. Get a running buddy. Or find a friend (or three!) that you can share your successes and milestones with. They’ll tell you how great you’re doing and it’ll help keep you motivated. It’s always a boost to my confidence when I finish a run and text my cheerleaders and they tell me what a great job I did. I feel validated and energized. And when my run stinks, they’re there with a pat on the back to say, “Some runs are just like that. Don’t give up.”
And lastly, remember how awesome you are. Follow the 10 Commandments for the Runner, and you’ll do great!
What other running tips do you have? And check out my 30 Favorite Running Songs!