Okay guys so I have to start by saying I am NOT a running expert, I am not a personal trainer BUT I have gone from barely able to run a mile (in January of this year) to now running 3-4 days a week! So I wanted to share some of my tops tips! So many women say to me, Oh man I wish I could just start running or I wish I could run like you, Well guess what?! YOU CAN! Anyone can be a runner!
So let me share my running story. I used to run ALL the time, I grew up with family vacations around 5ks and half marathons! My parents both run (my mom does more zumba & weightlifting now) my sister runs and it just became this family tradition we all did together. In college I got super busy and pretty much stopped running all together. But then when I found out I had PCOS (polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) I knew I needed to stay active so I went back to running. I ran my 3rd half marathon and after 3 months of training I only lost 5 lbs. I was left feeling defeated when it came to running and thought I would never do distance running again.
BUT after almost 2 years of no running, I felt this tugging to go back. I missed the adrenaline you get from a race, the medals and t-shirt you get, I missed having a GOAL event to train for! And most of all I missed running on Saturdays with my dad. So in January of this year I decided to just go for it, to start training for a 9 mile race! Not only did I complete that race but I fell back in love with running in a whole new way! I am now a mom, so running with Annabelle has its challenges BUT it has made it so much more fun for me!
Now I am training for my 5th Half Marathon and already signed up for my 6th one next year! Whether you are a newbie or haven’t ran in a while, here are some great tips!
#1- Take it slow
I mean it you guys, don’t go all crazy and run 3 miles if you haven’t ran in two years! That was hard for me, especially because I used to run half marathons, so it was humbling to start with just one mile. But I am thankful I took it slow, I’ve avoided injury and I’ve gradually worked on my endurance and speed. If you are new to running (or a veteran) I recommend doing the Run / Walk method, this is the Jeff Galloway method and it works great! When I first got back into running, I ran 1 minute then walked a minute for 1 mile just twice a week. I slowly worked my way up to longer distances but even now I run about 2-3 minutes and walk 1 minute.
#2- Don’t waste your money on expensive equipment
Now hear me when I say use your common sense with this one. When I started running again I thought I needed a super nice jogging stroller THEN I looked at the prices and I thought well Annabelle is just fine in our ole regular stroller LOL There is nothing wrong with a great jogging stroller, or new shoes or a fitbit BUT make sure you actually enjoy your new found lifestyle BEFORE you go and spend a bunch of money. What I love about running is its FREE! So I can just strike out anywhere and get a great workout, use your judgement and decide what is worth your money (PS good shoes are a great investment, I will get to that)
#3 – Bring LOTS of snacks (for your kiddos)
This is for the mommas! I get a lot of questions about how I keep Annabelle entertained during our runs, let me say it’s NOT easy and its part of the challenge. BUT I’ve learned that while she will throw her toys she will NOT throw her food… she’s like her momma 😉 When I first started back running (again) in January it was a HUGE adjustment, I was used to working out during her nap time or when she went to bed but I knew I didn’t want to run on the treadmill and wanted to get outside, so I was left with making the adjustment for both of us. The first couple times she flipped, but I stayed calm, went slow, stopped A LOT, but then after a couple times she started to enjoy it! Now I know her routine (listen to your kid) If I know I am doing a 5 mile run, I go early before her nap time, I bring a ton of snacks and I bring my phone so we can listen to music. We point out the birds, the dogs and the trees, its enjoyable for both of us. I also usually try and take her to the park after! Best advice for running with kids, is LISTEN to your kids but also be the parent. They will adjust and start to enjoy it, if you stay calm and set the example. Also if I know I am doing a long run (9 miles or over) I typically try and do those when David can watch her. Unless its around her nap time, she will be miserable being in the stroller that long, so use your judgment and determine what will work for you and your kids.
#4 – Find an enjoyable place to run
One of my mistakes I made when I first started running again was to just leave my house and start running, I got bored SUPER quick! My run was mainly on a busy road, on the sidewalk with NO view, I dreaded it every time. Now I have found a beautiful “park” thats about 20 minutes from my house, I can run 6-7 miles, its shaded, popular (important for mommas) and bonus they have a playground too! Find a place that you enjoy, that will be different for every person, but even if you have to drive a bit, (within reason) find a running spot that you will look forward to! I am HAPPY to drive 20 minutes for my weekly run, my dad and I even meet their on Saturdays now! So you might have to look around your city, find some unexpected place (& mix it up every now & then) and you will look forward to your peaceful place!
#5 – Get a running Buddy
When I started running again this year, my sister and cousin had already completed their first MARATHON (26.2 miles) so a year of group texts about their race, their training, their hard work was the motivation I needed to get started again! Now I meet with my dad about once a week on saturdays to do our long run. It depends on what we are training for, sometimes its a 5 mile run sometimes longer. But I know that it keeps me accountable and if I don’t do my runs during the week, then I won’t be able to keep up on saturday. So find someone who will PUSH you but will also keep you accountable. Whether its a fellow mom, or a spouse its great to have someone to run with at least every now and then. I am not going to lie during the week my runs are my “escape” they allow me to pray, to think, to draw closer to God. I enjoy those quiet moments of just me and the trail (and Annabelle) so thats why I run with my dad once a week. Pick a running buddy and get started!
#6 – Set a GOAL race
One of the first things you should do to start running is pick a GOAL race for you! Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the race and train properly for it. If you have never ran before, don’t pick a half marathon right away. Start with a 5k (3 mile race) and give yourself at least a month or two to train for it. I picked a 9 mile race and gave myself 12 weeks to train for it. Because I had been doing a ton of strength training the previous year I knew I just had to focus on getting my endurance up. So find a race near you and trust me you will be SO GLAD you did it! Races are a great way to be involved in the running community, you get a medal, a t-shirt and most importantly acknowledged for your hard work!
#7 – Invest in Good shoes
So remember when I said don’t go out and buy crazy expensive running items, well this is an exception. Good running shoes are a MUST if you plan on doing this as a lifestyle. The brand and fit will be totally up to you, but I recommend getting a fitting. Most running stores (First Place Sports in jacksonville) will do shoe fittings, they will watch you run on a treadmill and see your arch, your stance, and find the right shoe to best support you and your goals. I’ll admit I used to just use my ole running shoes that were in the back of my closet, but this year I did a fitting and found some good ones that fit me perfect! You want to make sure you have LOTS of support and you give yourself enough room too. I typically say to go up at least one size in running shoes. Also good socks are a great idea too! I prefer Asics or Mizuno shoes but go to your local running store and see what they recommend for you.
#8 – Stretch before and after every run
This is a nonnegotiable, whether you are new to running or a veteran it is so important to stretch your muscles before and after every run. You might see different articles online that say its better to stretch before or some say its better after, that is up to you. For me personally I find that doing BOTH helps keep my muscles from getting super sore. I typically do calf stretches, butterflies, lunge stretch and a sumo squat stretch before and after every run.
#9 – Stay hydrated and bring snacks
I typically run with annabelle so I bring 1-2 water bottles and then some snacks like a banana or running gel. If I know I am doing a long run I might even bring a workout drink like HYDRATE is my choice at the moment, you just mix with water and it keeps you hydrated during the run and has electrolytes. I have made the mistake of going out for a long run and forgetting to bring water, this is not good. You want to make sure you stay very hydrated during and AFTER your run! Also a good source of protein within 30 minutes post run is a great idea! I typically bring my protein shake in the car and mix with water (I like Shakeology or Recover Powder).
#10 – Don’t compare
And last but not least, don’t compare your running journey to anyone else’s. It will be easy to say OMG look at so and so, she just started running and shes doing an 8 minute mile! Guess what, shes not you. So focus on you and focus on setting goals for you. Enjoy your own process and running journey and don’t worry about anyone else’s. Anyone can be a runner, you just have to start and stay consistent. Practice makes perfect and if you are dedicated you will be amazed at just how far you will go with it! I am not the fastest and or strongest runner, but its me vs. me out there and I am always proud of myself for accomplishing a great run! You can do it, I believe in you!
If you are currently doing the 21 day fix at home workouts & have been running, I have put together my own 90 day training schedule. Download your FREE copy today!
Download your FREE training schedule HERE
If you are totally new to running, I recommend downloading Jeff Galloways Novice Running Schedule HERE