Hi there! My name is Nicole, one of Christie’s fellow Elf 4 Healthers and blogger over at fitfulfocus.com. If you’re asking yourself, “Who the heck is this? We want Christie! We want Christie!” have no fear (and open your mind – I’m pretty awesome, too… most days). Christie and I swapped blogs for the day! You can find her post over on Fitful Focus.
“Why the swap?” you ask (so many questions have you). Christie and I are both partaking in the Elf 4 Health challenge, a month-long program filled with daily challenges, all with the goal of helping each other lead healthier lives during the holiday season. Today’s challenge is to share your expertise, so Brianna (another Elf 4 Healther – there are a lot of us little elves) put together this blog swap. You can find a whole linkup of posts over on Brianna’s blog, Martial Arts and Hockey Girl.
So onto my expertise. First of all, I should share that I’m not sure I consider myself an expert in anything – unless you consider being able to eat peanut butter by the spoonful an area of expertise. I actually think that’s pretty impressive. Alas, I am not here to share how to devour an entire jar of peanut butter spoonful by spoonful. That wouldn’t be very healthy, anyway.
Peanut butter aside, I’m here to share running tips. I ran my first (and so far only) half marathon in March of 2012, and I am currently training for my first full marathon, so I guess you can say I’m an expert at beginner running! Woohoo!
A lot people hear, “I’m a runner,” come out of someone’s mouth and think its pretentious and show-offy, that these people are bragging about the miles they’ve run and the shoes they’ve worn through. The fact of the matter is, becoming a runner is easy. You don’t have to run a marathon to be a runner. You don’t even have to run a 5K. The simple act of throwing on some sneaks and hitting the pavement makes you a runner. Do you hit the treadmill for 1 mile? How about a ¼ of a mile? Then congrats, you’re a runner!
The tough part comes in wanting to run more. You can’t just wake up and run a marathon. Well, I suppose you could, but you’d probably end up like this:
Good luck with that.
If you want to start upping the mileage, here are a few tips:
1) Invest in a good pair of sneaks. – That pair you used to wear to high school volleyball practice won’t cut it anymore. The rule of thumb is to change your running shoes every 300-500 miles. If you shoes no longer have tread, cushioning, or look like this…
…it’s time for a new pair. Head to your local running store and get fitted properly for shoes. Have them assess what kind of running gate you have, if you have flat feet or high arches, if you need more ankle support or a wider toe. Good shoes will protect your knees and keep you comfortable. Comfort and function are definitely the most important factors to buying running shoes, but I would also go for a pair you think are cute. Get a pair you admire and you’ll feel fun and unstoppable when you’re out on the road.
2) Start small and start slow. – Don’t try to beat the all-time marathon record just yet. Start of with short distances and a slow pace. Try running at a pace where you can still talk with ease. Try alternating running ¼ of a mile and walking ¼ of a mile until you hit a mile total. Then slowly up your distance to 1.5 miles, then 2. Then try running for half a mile and walking for a ¼ a mile. Keep going slow and steady until you can run 1 mile without stopping, then two miles. Once you are confident with the distance, you can try increasing speed. Sprint for 30 seconds, then go at a conversational pace for 1 minute, sprint 30 seconds, slow 1 minute, etc.
3) Run to the beat. – Good music can solve any problem. If we could all just embrace country music, I bet the world would be a better place. Kidding (kind of). Anyway, pick out some songs that you never skip when they come on – songs that are upbeat and driving. Songs with a beat that match or are slightly faster than your pace will keep you motivated. 90’s boy band songs are excellent for running, but they’re really just excellent in general.
4) Don’t go on a runner spree. – This means two things. One, no matter how long you have been running for, don’t run every day. You need to mix in other kinds of cross training to support your other muscles. Taking a day or two off from running each week to do other exercises will make you a better runner. Two, don’t feel like you have to out and buy all the fancy running gadgets. Good shoes and socks are a must, but beyond that, all you need are clothes that make you comfortable and an ipod/phone/mp3 player for music. You don’t even need to buy a running app if you don’t want to. Simply map out a route on Google Maps ahead of time – but bring your phone if you have a tendency to get lost!
5) Pick a race. – It helps to have a goal to keep you motivated. Do a search to find some races in your area. I recommend looking for a fun run, like the Color Run or a Zombie Run. These are less intimidating races and are more about having a blast than competing for a certain time. The goal for your first race (which I suggest be a distance of 5K or less) should be simply to get out there and do it with a smile on your face. Set your sights on the finish line, not the clock.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get to it. Soon enough, you’ll become and expert on beginner running and I’ll be taking advice from you J.
Don’t forget to check out Christie’s expertise over on Fitful Focus, and get tips from a bunch of other healthy elves over at Martial Arts & Hockey Girl.
Is there anything that scares you about running? Leave a comment and we’ll help you scare those scares away!
Any runners out there with additional tips to add?