Becoming a runner can sometimes seem intimidating, but following these few steps will help you ease into it. I always remind myself and my friends that if you run, you’re a runner. Whether you run 1 mile, 5 miles, 26.2 miles-if you run, you’re a runner! It’s simple. So how do we as runners get started? The steps I’ve outlined below are what helped me. I hope you find them useful.
1. Sign up for a race!
I’ve always noticed I am more consistent with running when I have something to work towards-a goal. Signing up for a race is easy and a great experience. The camaraderie between runners, the adrenaline in the air, the motivation all around you-it’s like nothing else. Start small and sign up for a 5K (3.10 miles), then eventually a 10K (6.2 miles), and next thing you know, you’ll be training for your first half marathon (13.1 miles). Below are links to find races in California for 2015. If you are interested in running a race in Sacramento through Sacramento Running Association as a host, you can use promo code “SRA46” for a discount.
2. Use a free app to track your runs.
When I first started running, I didn’t track my runs which meant I had no idea how far or fast/slow I was actually going. Using an app like Nike Plus Running (my app of choice) or RunKeeper, will help you stay consistent and keep track of your progress. These apps are free and keep a log of your daily miles, pace and calories burned. They even allow you to upload photos which show the distance you ran. Celebrate your achievements and let the world know you ran!
3. Make a running playlist.
I love, love, LOVE making running playlists. I use Spotify because it has a great variety of music I can pull from. I’m very meticulous about my playlist. It starts off slower to keep my first few miles at a more comfortable pace and then builds up to faster music. If I keep up with the faster beats, I know I’m running at my desired pace. A lot of my songs bring happy memories and the positive thoughts keep me motivated. My playlist is available under my name, Tiffany James, and is called “Run Gurl” if you are interested in a combination of electro music, throwbacks, and some Latin spice.
4. Set one attainable goal a week…..build mileage.
Set goals for yourself weekly-something feasible you can work towards. For example, on your first week of running you can set a goal of completing one mile. Start at home, go out 0.5 miles…and then you really have no choice but to turn around and go home! I mean, unless you call someone to go get you…but don’t do that. Do that every other day until you can run that mile without stopping or walking. Next you can try to run from home, out 3/4 of a mile, and back-BAM! You’ve then completed 1.25 miles. Try not to create limitations or excuses. It will get easier if you just give yourself time.
Try not to compare yourself to anyone else. This is definitely easier said than done-for me anyway. I force myself to remember that everyone is different and what may be easy for some will not be easy for others. Most runners will tell you they stick to running because they are passionate about it and truly love it. Take time during your run to reflect and appreciate your life, your experience, and where you’re at with your running.
A big part of becoming a stronger runner for me was learning how to breathe-sounds pretty simple right? WRONG! You can’t disregard your breathing because if you do, before you know it, by half a mile, you’ll be panting like you’re dying. Figuring out how to breathe well during your run will help you get less side stitches and improve your posture. I’ve included a link from Runner’s World that will help your breathing technique. The sooner you can control your breathing, the sooner you can increase your speed and/or distance.
7. Get fitted for running shoes.
If you enjoy running and it feels like something you may want to stick with, I suggest getting fitted for proper running shoes. This may cost anywhere from $100-200 depending on the shoe type, but the investment is well worth it. Your feet and body will thank you later. Proper running shoes will help your body stay injury free and provide the adequate support for running. If you live in the Sacramento area Fleet Feet of Sacramento is a great place to buy your first pair of running shoes. The staff is terrific and attentive. They will take their time to watch you run and recommend the best shoes for YOU.
These are just a few tips that helped me when I first started running. Please remember to go at your own pace. Enjoy every minute of it and just keep running! You’ve got this!