So you want to be a runner

“So, you SAY you run.  But do you REALLY?”

Someone said this to me a few weeks ago when we were talking about how the bad winter kept us from walking, hiking and running. I think the look on my face was that of shock. My response was, “Yes! I might not be fast and I do have to take walking breaks.  But yes, I am a runner.”

This conversation made me think about why I run. This did not have a negative affect on me at all.  It actually inspired me to write this post.  You need a quick back story.  See, I had never been into sports as a kid. I did try track once in 7th grade. I wanted to be a runner and was excited when my small school added track that year (the only year)  My last race was a relay.  When I crossed the finish line, a coach from another team laughed and asked me if I even tried because I wasn’t breathing hard.  Little did he know, I had given it all I had. I am just a slow runner.  I was so embarrassed and felt like I wasn’t worthy of being on the team. So, I quit. I never tried another sport throughout my school years. True story.

I thought about this story a lot.  What would I say and how I would compose this post? I want to talk directly to you, the person that wants to get into running but feels intimidated. I am here to tell to stop it! Right now.  I had put running off for a long time and wish I didn’t.  I am not fast.  I do take walk breaks.  Any seasoned runner will tell you it’s OK to walk when you need to. You need to build up endurance so don’t expect to do a 5k in under 30 minutes when you first start.

There’s no pressure. If races intimidate you, that’s ok too!  There is no rule that states to be a runner, you MUST race. I have been a casual runner going on three years now. I do it because it clears my head and reduces stress. I have done one 5k and am talking about signing up for one or two this year with some friends of mine. But if it does not happen, I will not be heart broken.  I set a goal for myself to be capable of running a 10K. Don’t get me wrong. Signing up for a race is a great goal to set to keep you motivated. It’s just not my thing.

Read up on tips for beginners. There are a ton of great running blogs on the web by experts and “regular people” sharing their experiences and what works for them.  I have learned a lot about how not to get hurt, proper breathing, how to fuel before and after a run… Take a look around and ask questions! Also, Runner’s World is a obviously a great website for information.  Here is a link on how to become a runner in five easy steps.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with thinking you need a bunch of techy things to get out the door. There are a few things you should purchase that will make it more enjoyable:

  • Moisture wicking clothing-  Trust me.  You want to feel dry especially as the weather gets warmer. You will be much more comfortable.  I love the Champion C9 line at Target.  I also hit up big label outlets and discount stores like Ross and Marshalls.  Don’t forget socks.  Stay away from 100% cotton anything!
  • The right sneaks for your feet- This is where you should invest your money. Go to a running store and get fitted. If you have high arches, you want shoes that will give you that extra support. Flat feet don’t need shoes with high arch support. The right shoes will help against injury. Who wants achy arches or shin splints? Trust me- you don’t.  If the store lets you test run outside, do it. You will get a totally different feel for the fit and cushion then running on carpet.
  • Something to hold your keys, phone and ID.  I use a SpiBelt and love it. It’s small but expands to hold my phone and car keys.  I have my eye on a Flipbelt too.  Find what works for you. There are a few great items out there.  Google search for yourself. You will find blogger reviews of gear by doing this. Stop in and see what they have to say.
  • A kickass playlist to keep you moving.  Heather over at Divas Run for Bling posted a few great tips for choosing music for your playlist. My original playlist is set at 30 minutes long and it has quite a few genres on there like she suggests.  Sometimes I will just put my songs on shuffle and go.  This does not always work when my IPod decides to choose all slow songs. I get distracted, then annoyed and have a hard time recovering my run. So yeah, playlists are a good idea.  Mix it up and have fun!

That’s it. Garmin, fuel belts, gels… not needed since you are just starting out. When you start building on your mileage and your runs are longer then an hour, then entertain these things.  The point is to not overthink it.  Just go out there and have fun!

As the old saying goes:

no matter how slow

Happy running!

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8 thoughts on “So you want to be a runner

  1. Awesome post! Sometimes I feel discouraged seeing other runners who can run a whole marathon keeping an 8 minute mile pace. That just seems impossible to me! Anyone is a runner no matter what like you said! Also, I am obsessed with Target’s workout gear! It’s so cute and affordable!!

  2. Love this post Mary! So true! I feel like I am always comparing myself to others but that’s not what the running journey is about–its about commitment and making yourself PROUD! 🙂

  3. Great post, Mary. I remember when you first started running, and look at you now! Sharing what you have learned with others. Wonderful.

    My only other comment: don’t be so down on cotton. You know denim is cotton, right? 😉

    • Did you like the part where I said, “Don’t overthink it”? LOL How could I forget about denim? I do yoga in my jeans a lot. Sometimes I just don’t feel like changing and need a good stretch. 🙂

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