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9 Tips for Beginner Runners
Running isn’t the easiest workout, but it’s definitely one of the more popular ways to exercise. I haven’t always been a runner. In fact, I used to dread it. I played basketball in high school, but I hated conditioning days. I didn’t start running until college when I ran to reduce my stress and depression (read more of that here). One thing led to another and eventually I got addicted to it, and now I can’t stop.
Anybody Can Run
Most people think because they’ve never run farther than their mailbox, or never ran as a kid, they aren’t capable of running, but this is simply not true. I’ve run and trained with several runners who were cursing at me in the first mile who are now running half marathons. With the right training program and determination anyone can be a runner! I’ve seen runners of all shapes and sizes.
Running can be a very fulfilling exercise in several ways: runner’s high, the feeling of accomplishment, the ability to participate in competition and races, and the continuous opportunity to grow and challenge yourself.
If you are someone who wants to start running, Here are the 9 tips I usually give any runners who come to me for advice.
9 Tips for Beginner Runners
1. Dress for the Part
If you don’t already have some running clothes, go buy some. It’s hard to run, when you aren’t comfortable. Wear light, fitting clothes. No clothes that are too baggy or heavy. Basketball shorts are usually too heavy and can bog you down. I wear yoga pants or biker shorts. They’re very comfortable and remove the possibility of chaffing. No one wants that! Yoga pants also help keep you cool and don’t collect the stink as fast.
Dri-fit shirts are the best because they keep you cool and don’t bog you down when you sweat a lot. They also don’t collect your stink as fast. Your body odor tends to stay in cotton shirts over time. The dri-fit shirt helps eliminate that for a longer period of time. But you can just start out wearing a t-shirt or tank top.
If it’s cold, I recommend wearing a long sleeve shirt, gloves (if it’s below 40 degrees), and a warm head band for your ears. Those are the parts that usually get the coldest. Don’t wear a hoodie, you’ll probably get too hot and it’ll bog you down. I don’t run if it’s below 30 degrees, but that’s just me!
Here are some of my favorite running clothes:
Dri-fit shirts really are the best. Once you start running with them, you won’t want to go back to cotton. They spoil you. Two of my favorite brands are Under Armour and Craft. Some of the shirts I have from them I’ve had for the last 7 years. (Yeah, they’re probably super gross and you didn’t want to know that, but it’s true!) They last a long time and keep you cool while you run. Under Armour is more on the expensive side, but more durable. The craft is a nice shirt at a nice price.
The long sleeve dri-fit is great for when it’s slightly chilly. Keeps you warm, but cool when you start sweating. I love my long sleeve dri-fit.
Yoga pants really are the best pants to run in. Several people will ask me, do you do yoga? I feel like they are universal pants. Again, one of my favorite brands is Under Armour. Anything I’ve ever bought from them is high quality and very durable. I also have a few cheap yoga pants that work just fine. They may not last as long because they eventually become too stretchy and baggy, but they work the same up until that point. So, if you’re looking for longevity definitely the Under Armour. If you don’t want to “brake the bank” do Tesla.Â Buy a size that’s comfortable, but very fitting. You don’t want them sliding down or moving around during your run because then you’ll just be adjusting it the whole time. If you get one with a pocket, it’s even nicer. It comes in handy more than you think.
I also like the Capri style. I feel like the pants are always too hot, no matter the weather.
Warm Head Band. I hate having a full hat on because my head gets overheated. This is my favorite band to run with when it’s cold. It keeps your ears warm, and your head cool.
Shoes have to be in their own category. Having the proper shoes is huge. I’ll write an article later on my favorite brand of shoes because I have tried so many and know which ones work for different runners. But for now, all I can say is find the shoe that works for you! Something that’s comfortable. Your feet get a lot of the impact and assist in the mechanics of your running, so proper shoes help prevent injury and keep you running longer!
3. Get Dressed
What I mean by this is if you plan to workout after you get off work everyday, then right when you get home, GET DRESSED in your running clothes. Don’t wait until right before you run. Do the same for when you wake up in the morning. The chances of you changing your mind to go on a run are low if you are already dressed! Sometimes I’ll say, I’m just going to get dressed and then see how I feel. I think only once have I ever not run and changed back into my PJs. Trust me, it works wonders.
4. Don’t be Hard on yourself.
Running takes time. It’s not something you can master in a week or a month. You also won’t have a good run everyday. Some days will be harder than others. You might also hit a wall with how far or fast you can go. Just be patient with yourself and learn different strategies to make yourself better. It’s also okay to be happy with where you are. If you like running a slow pace of only a couple miles a day, great! You’re still a runner. You’re only racing against yourself.
There are varying opinions about music and running. If you are a hardcore runner, and like to hear your breathing rhythm, you probably don’t want music. It’s distracting. I have never made it to that level of running, nor will I ever be. So, if that isn’t your end goal, then music is awesome! Find that playlist that just gets you moving and touches your soul! Haha. It’s not fun to hold your phone or music device while you run, so I would recommend also getting a phone/device holder that you can attach to your arm. It’s amazing. My next plan is get some cordless, bluetooth headphones so I don’t have the cord in my way.
Running Phone Case
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My favorite phone case that I use right now. It’s cheap and it works! It also has lots of little features like a place to hold the headphones, your key, and a credit card. You can also use the touch screen through the plastic. Fits a lot of phone sizes. Love it!
I don’t have these, but I really want some. They are super cool, or so I hear. It’s so annoying to run and the cord gets in your way. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve yanked the buds out of my ears because I catch the cord while I’m running. These are nice and cordless. They also will pause what you are listening to when you take them out of your ear! What? Pretty cool. On my Christmas wish list.
6. Don’t just Run.
Plan to do other types of exercise. Having a strength program along side your running program is awesome. It helps to increase your running abilities and keeps you from getting burnt out. Adding a stretch session, workout video, or strength program into your week, will help a lot.
Don’t underestimate the power of stretching. Not stretching can lead to several injuries, including runner’s knee. Take the time to warm up, cool down, and stretch. Even stretch on the days you aren’t running, and don’t just go through the motions, really feel the stretch. Some of the most important muscle groups to stretch are hamstrings, gluts, hip flexors, and quads. You can’t overstretch!
8. Do a Race.
I would highly recommend signing up for a race. Start with a 5k and work your way up. Or stay at a 5k. Do what you feel comfortable with and enjoy doing. A race is a great motivator and goal setter. It’s also a great feeling of accomplishment. The atmosphere, support, and T-SHIRTS at the races make it so fun. You usually get a medal and free food, and you get to meet other runners in your pace and age group. It’s a lot of fun, and don’t be surprised if you get addicted.
9. Yes, The Runner’s High is Real.
The runner’s high is what keeps a lot of runners coming back, and it’s the reason I do the races. When you have a “runner’s high” you feel on top of the world, like you could do anything, and you could run for miles. It really is an awesome feeling, but takes time to get there, so don’t expect it right away.
Anybody can be a runner with the right determination and consistency. Don’t give up, set goals, run a race, look the part, and do your best! You got this!