New to Running?

It’s that time of year — when many of us have set new fitness goals and are now in the phase of figuring out how to make them happen. If running’s on your list, then read on.

Disclaimer:  I’m a totally amateur, noncompetitive, middle-of-the-packer who started running when I was in my 30s. So, I won’t give you professional advice — we have books for that, keep reading — but over the years I’ve picked up some wisdom along the way that might help you.

My Top 10 Tips for Aspiring Runners

  • Measure your efforts by time, not by distance. You can trick your mind to do anything for one more minute, but if you’re trying to run to that next street corner, it might feel like you’ll never get that far. If you were able to get through four minutes yesterday, try to run for five today. If you survived five minutes today, try six tomorrow. Running is 80% mental.
  • If running straight through is too much of a challenge, try intervals. Run one minute, walk three, repeat. You can adjust your run/walk ratios as your endurance builds. Apps like Interval Timer can help keep you on track. Many Couch to 5K plans are available online for free, if you need something more structured.
  • Wear clothes that prompt you to be mentally ready and physically comfortable to exercise. Avoid cotton t-shirts that retain moisture and get heavy when you sweat. Local discount stores like TJ Maxx have very affordable quality workout wear.
  • ‎The first mile of every run is always the hardest. Don’t think that because you’ve only gone a few minutes and you feel like dying, that you’re not cut out for this. Push through it. I’ve been running for seven years and the first mile of every run still gets to me.
  • If you’re running in the dark, make sure you can be seen by traffic. There are all kinds of solutions to this such as flashing lights that you can clip to your clothes, reflective vests, bright colors, etc.
  • ‎Always have a race on your radar. If you work better to deadlines, why not go ahead and sign up for a 5K? You can find local races on strictlyrunning.com or runningintheusa.com.
  • Quality running shoes aren’t cheap but they’re worth the money. If you’ve found that running is something you plan to continue, invest in good shoes. For free, a professional running store will analyze your feet and gait, and recommend the proper shoe to keep you comfortable and your body properly aligned.
  • ‎If you think you’d do better with social support, our local area has a lot of options. Check with Fleet Feet in Irmo about their training groups and beer runs, search for local running clubs on Facebook, or Google local groups like FiA and F3. I’ve found the From Fat to Finish Line Facebook group to be incredibly motivating and supportive for new virtual running friends.
  • Find a place to run where you feel comfortable. North Lake Drive and Saluda Shoals Park are my favorites and MapMyRun.com can provide additional local routes.
  • Use the library to teach and support you as you take on this exciting new challenge. We’ve got music and audiobooks you can download to your phone to listen to as you run, movies that will inspire you to push harder, and books to give you the coaching you’ll need to get started.

Happy trails.

The Complete Running and Marathon Bible
From Fat to Finish Line
Running Like a Girl
Run Your Butt Off
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Half-Marathon: You Can Do It
Run for Your Life
McFarland, USA
Chariots of Fire
The Everything Running Book

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