I started running 24 days ago (I know, what an expert on the subject…but actually). The 10 runs I have been on in the past 24 days have been the only unsolicited runs in my life. I never thought I would be at a point where I would be back from a run and ready for the next one in two days.
Here are the 10 things (for my 10 runs) that I’ve been doing, which I would suggest to anyone who is thinking about starting to run:
1. Get the right shoes
I have a health club nearby which has a fitness equipment store attached to it. I went there (quite a while ago) to buy my running shoes. They had me stand on a machine which let me see what kind of foot I have and what kind of shoe would be the best. And they could even make an insole which would make any shoe a better fit for me.
I am appreciating that the fact that I have the right shoes on is adding to the pleasure of my runs. Also, I knew that the area around my house has a lot of fields and parks, so I bought a pair of shoes with spikes which are made for that kind of terrain so that it’s harder for me to fall down (but this also means I can’t wear them indoors, it’s too slippery!)
2. And the right clothes
The first couple of days I went running, I had my perfect running shoes, running socks, sports bra, and long leggings (because it was April, and in the North of England that somehow translates to a sloshy rainy winter type weather as opposed to spring). But I wore a normal long sleeved cotton t-shirt. And on my first rainy-grey-day run, I just wore a hoodie. They worked fine, but at week 3, I finally decided to invest in a proper running top and a water proof running overwear top.
The proper running top made such a difference. I could immediately feel that it was a lot lighter than the cotton long-sleeved tops I was wearing, and it also shielded me from wind a lot better. I haven’t yet had to wear the waterproof running overwear top, but I’m sure it’ll make a rainy-run more enjoyable too. I’m probably gonna need to get one of these soon too.
Also, pouring all that money (investing) in the gear might just motivate you to put it to use!
3. Sustenance: Before & After
I’ve been making smoothies to get protein into my system before and get more protein, and sugars and water back into my system after. Since I usually go running first thing in the morning, it means that fruits are the first thing I put into my body.
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
I am soo bad at regularly drinking water, but running naturally makes me want to drink more. I also make sure I do because I want to be able to keep on running, not get ill from doing it, and feel good. And water takes care of all of that.
5. Take care of your body
I have not run since I stepped into my teenage years. I’ve been using an old ankle injury as an excuse to get out of PE and all running-related exercises, in school and in “fun family/friendship group activities”. I did physiotherapy to tighten the ligaments, and the stretches that I do now to be able to run are very similar to these. So part one of this tip is to take care of old injuries.
Take care of new ones too – if you get hurt or get a sprain during your run, come home and ice it straight away to slow down the inflammation reactions and swelling. And from 24 hours onwards, you should apply heat to it, as ice won’t help much after the initial innate immune system reactions (video).
And stretch! They say to do it, but I didn’t do it the first 2 days, and I was in soo much pain. But since day 3, I’ve been following that routine and it’s meant that I don’t feel the unnecessary pain.
6. Run outside and use training app(s)
Running outside starts as soon as I lock the door behind me, and ends as soon get back inside. The fact that there is no commute is such a motivation (and relief).
C25K, which stands for Couch to 5k (literally what I’ve been doing), is a great app in my opinion. And you can continue that to 10K, or just start with the 10K training app which has the same routine for the first 8 weeks.
Last week I also started using Pact App, more information in this blog post. And Runkeeper, which is really cool to look back on because it maps my route and lets me know what my pace is like, and the C25K works simultaneously. But I haven’t yet figured out how to change Runkeeper to km instead of miles. Both of those also work at the same time as the music playing. Though it’s all a bit battery-intensive, I totally recommend it.
Runkeeper also has its own training programmes for getting to 5k and 10k and a marathon.
7. Make a running playlist
My running playlist is about 7 hours worth of all my upbeat music that have ever lived in my iTunes library. You could also use Apple Music, or Spotify or what not, but the reason I like my running playlist is because it has songs that I haven’t heard for sooo long and songs that know all the lyrics to. And while I’m running, instead of thinking about when I get to start walking again, I get distracted by the music, and I think about the memories related to that song, and sing along to it (in my head mostly).
8. Keep a diary/Write a blog
Keep track of your runs. Apps like Runkeeper let you rate your run, how it made you feel, and write a little bit about it. Keeping track of your runs means that you can write about the weather, anything that’s made you happy about the run, anything you need to change. It works as a motivation, a to-do list, and place for goals to come alive.
I’ve also been taking pictures every time I go on runs as an extra motivation and adding it to my blog post. I do it during my walking breaks, but I see some beautiful things during my runs as well when I can’t stop myself to take a picture. But that’s the extra motivation that makes me want to come back another time to take another picture!
9. Don’t make a big deal out of it
Just put on your clothes, take your charged phone and walk out the door. It’s only half an hour for the first few weeks, which flies by. By the time the time increases, you start to look forward to it.
10. Make a big deal out of it
Write about it, take pictures, buy new clothes, new shoes, share your progress from your runs to whoever you want to share it with (or only share it anonymously, whatever floats your boat) and get them to motivate you too! All of these things make it that much easier to go again!
I don’t know how Buzzfeed does this, but it always seems to me that they publish articles which are based on subjects that I’ve either been thinking about or having conversations about…like how they posted this a couple of days ago about “running in the first time forever“.