Friday, May 30, 2014

How to Become and Stay a Runner- 4 Easy Tips

You like the idea of running. It seems like a nice easy way to exercise. But how do you get started?

I was looking for an easy way to moderately exercise during my first pregnancy, so I thought how about power walking? I could power walk. So off I began. But then a couple minutes into my mile, I thought to myself, this is taking too long. So I ran for a whopping 10-15 seconds and then walked again, then I ran another 10-15 seconds, then walked and so on. I could barely run, but I would do what I could until I had to stop and take a break. When I finished my mile I felt pretty good, out of shape, but still pretty good.

To my surprise, I kept at it. I kept trying to run a little farther without stopping each time. I had tried running before but would do too much too soon and would quit after a couple of weeks. The difference was this way I was slowly building up my strength and endurance. I remember being able to run with James for .75 of a mile without stopping. I felt like Super Woman! And now I can run 26 miles without stopping.

So how does a person go from one mile to 26 miles?

By simply starting! 

We won't even look at the dreaded 26.2 miles yet, but we will start at just a mile. You probably walk a mile just getting from one end of Walmart to the other. ( Don't you just hate it when you realize you forgot to grab milk and eggs and you're already in the cosmetic section clear across the store?!) 

The Couch to 5K app is a great starting plan for beginners. It is the same basics of what I did on my own. You walk for a couple of minutes and run for 30 seconds then repeat. You slowly build your running time while decreasing your walk time. If you don't have a smart phone then google is your friend. All you need to know about Couch to 5K is online. And who's your best friend? I am-- here's the link: Couch to 5K You're Welcome.

Here are some basic steps to help you get started.

1) Set a goal

     You always want to be working towards something. Sign up for a race that will challenge you. Even if it's just a mile race- a kids fun run with your niece, sign up and get going! A 5K is a great race to work towards. Sign up, get super nervous, and then train!!

2) Find a training plan. 

     Whether training for a 5K or your first half marathon, you need a good training plan. I didn't even know training plans existed when I ran my first 10K. Training plans help keep you on track and working towards your goal. They also have a Couch to 10K. I like Hal Higdon's training plans for marathon training. And Jeff Galloway also has some good plans as well.

3) Get fitted for the right pair of running shoes. 

     Any running store will get you fitted with the right pair of shoes for your feet. I ran for about 6 months before I got my first pair of running shoes. I didn't want to spend money on something I wasn't sure I would keep up with. I was only running a 1-2 miles a day so my pair of tennis shoes worked just fine. But having the right fit of running shoe makes all the difference especially when you are running distance. And dry wick running socks are a must! I bought mine at Target. I was getting blisters on my feet from my socks and my shoes were too tight which I didn't realize at the time, but I didn't get fitted at a running store. I knew nothing when I began running! So learn from all my mistakes. 

4) Get Started! 

    You don't have to wait until the new year to start something new, start today! Running/Walking a mile will only take you about 15-20 minutes. You roll out of bed, lace up your shoes and get out there. Just start. You can't become a runner if you never start. Every runner had to start somewhere. And don't be discouraged if you're not making as much progress as soon as you would like. Your speed will come in time as you build endurance and strength. Your lungs will become stronger so you can breathe easier as your running. And don't be embarrassed by people seeing you walking as you're trying to run- at least you are out there exercising! I recommend running about 4-5 times a week as you start out. Take a rest day every couple of days, but then get back out there.

I hear many excuses as to why people don't exercise. Which is funny because I never ask people if they do or don't exercise. I think they just feel guilty around the 6 month pregnant woman who ran 10 miles that morning.

I know some have valid excuses, but most do not. Mentally prepare yourself each day to get out there and get going. Take it one day, one mile at a time. You can do one day of running one mile, right? Each day, tell yourself you can do one more day, one more mile. And before you know it, you will have become a runner! And believe it or not you may even come to love it like I do!

So how does one become a runner? By being consistent.

Running a marathon may not be on your list of goals and that's fine. Just get started, set a goal, and work towards that goal. Once you've reached a goal work towards another goal. You alone will be your biggest motivator. Get out there and challenge yourself to do more than you did the day before.

Stay tuned for my next running post on how to add distance to your runs!

And just look at all the places you can go! These are all places I've run and races. One perk about traveling on deputation is all the places I got to see while on my morning runs. 

My sister in law Hannah hitting her first 100 miles run! 

First 10K on St. Pete Beach, Fl

Running in Florida and Somewhere cold maybe Oklahoma

St. Louis, Missouri- Ran my first 10.5 miles

First half marathon in Branson, Missouri

First and last Color Vibe Run in Akron, Ohio

First time running 101 miles in one month in Erie, PA

Running in Jersey City, with the NYC skyline to look at! First time I ran 13 miles! 

Running on the Berlin Trail in Deerfield, OH

First time running in 2 states on one run! Indiana and Kentucky!

Running in the heat in Florida! Jumped in the water to cool off! 

Running in Maine 

Running in Brooklyn, OH

Running in Russia!

Trails in Russia