Every day when I get a strong urge to RUN and feel the burn in my muscles and the sweat drip into my eyeballs I have to hurry and find something to distract myself so that I don’t ‘accidentally’ start running before I am fully healed. These distractions usually involve sour patch kids, ABC Family Channel shows, shopping, baking or calling my mom.
When my p.e. kids were running this morning and cursing my name for making them do something that involved them actually doing physical activity, I wanted to join them running so badly like the good ol’ days when I would boost my self-esteem by beating teenage boys in the mile. To distract myself from joining in and re-cracking that little bone known as the femur I should just write about it instead.
I get a lot of emails asking for advice about how to start running or training for their first race so here are some of my main pieces of advice and you seasoned runners reading please add on in the comments.
1. Start SMALL and embrace every victory whether it is doing the same 2 mile loop one minute faster than you did last week or jogging up a hill that you used to always have to walk up. Everybody starts at the beginning and running isn’t supposed to be easy (if it was everyone would do it). The victories would not be nearly as good if it was easy to accomplish our fitness goals. There is no better feeling than crossing the finish line knowing that the months of HARD work and dedication got you there.
2. Cross-train. Being a person that get’s hurt like no other and belongs in the freak show for cracking both femurs, whenever I focus on including cross-training, weight-training and yoga I do not get hurt. Injuries come for ME (remember, everyone is different) when I put TOO many miles in and skip out on cross-training and taking rest days!
3. Sign up for a race, that will get you motivated on those mornings that you don’t want to get out of bed and your husband is telling you that you should stay and sleep for another hour (not that Billy ever does that or anything:) I am cheap and refuse to waste money on a race that I don’t run.
Although, it was totally worth $150 for my Boston shirt right!?!?!
4. Find a training plan for your level of running. Google it, get an email coach, Runners World Smart Coach……there are SO many options, do your research and read books, blogs, magazines and learn everything you can about hydration, nutrition, training etc…..SO MUCH FUN!!!
Here is one of the marathon training plans that I used for a sub 3:15 marathon. This plan worked good for me because I was working full time, teach spin classes and was really brand new to the whole running thing. I found it off the internet and it worked for me. Note to self….no injuries on lower mileage:)
5. Fake it to make it. Just like anything hard in life sometimes you just gotta put a smile on your face and brainwash yourself that you are EXCITED and THANKFUL to be running even if it is five degrees outside, windy and you are running on two stress fractures (okay, scratch the last part of that sentence from my advice). It only takes me about a minute of convincing myself how awesome running is to change my mind and remember my love for it. The more I run, the more I love it.
6. Listen to your body. If you miss a run or two that is OKAY!! I promise it takes longer than you think to lose your fitness and if there is something hurting or aching don’t ignore it. Take some time off and if it still doesn’t feel better than go see your doc. Chocolate cake always helps on recovery days.
7. Try the walk/run method and go from there. You will get the same benefits of running (a mile burns the same amount of calories and you get the same amount of endorphins no matter what speed you are going).
8. Start a running journal. Record everything about your runs……pace, time of day, temperature, how your body felt, how your mind felt, your route etc. This running journal will allow you to see how far you’ve come, and will give you CONFIDENCE when race day comes that you did the training now it is time to run!
How old were you when you started running?
-I ran with my sister when I was 12 or 12 and then started doing races when I was 23.
What is your advice to any newbie runners/racers?
Do you have a running journal?
-Don’t make fun of my 10 cent notebook from Walmart, it does the job.