If I Can Do It, Anyone Can Do It

Since I started writing about running and travel, people always ask me two questions. First, they ask me where I’m running next. Second, they ask me how I got started running. Readers tell me all the time that they wish they could run, but they can’t. My token response is always, “if I can do it, ANYONE can do it.” Then, I share the tale of how it took me over 16 minutes to run a mile when I first started running and a few short months later I completed my first half marathon. There’s more to the story. 

In honor of Global Running Day today, I wanted to share a few tips for getting started if you want to begin the journey of running. Whether it’s to run a race, find a new hobby, or to just plain get healthy, I hope these tips will inspire you to take that first step. 

#1 – Buy the shoes

When I first started running, it was in tennis shoes that I had worn since college. Despite the fact that some days I feel like I could still be in college, running in shoes from those four fabulous years was a terrible idea. I felt like I was running in cement! 

Go get fitted for good running shoes. Find a local run shop where they can evaluate your stride, watch you run, and put you in the right pair of shoes. While you’re at it, get some good socks so your feet are well taken care of before you hit the pavement. I’m currently running in Brooks Ghost 9s and I love them! 

Side note: Shoes, like cars, have mileage. When you purchase your new running shoes, ask how many miles you should put on them before your next pair. If you’re training for a half or full marathon, consider buying multiple pairs so you don’t wear them out as quickly. I learned this the hard way. 

#2 – Make a Plan

I began running after setting a personal goal at work to run a half marathon. I gave myself plenty of time, found a race, got a training plan together, and began to run. I initially used the Couch to 5K training plan until I could run for 20 minutes straight. Then, I just ran as long as I could, upping my mileage by about 10% each week. Couch to 5K is a run/walk method that can be used through your mobile phone. I always run with my phone so this worked great for me. The key to making a plan is to find what’s right for you. Do the research and find what makes you comfortable. Then, get started! 

Side note: Go ahead and register for your goal race, then work toward completing it. I always do this to stay motivated and make sure I am ready to meet my goal.

#3 – Don’t Overdo It

You know when a new song comes out and you add it to your Spotify, download it on iTunes, and turn it up every time it comes on the radio, then about a week later you are completely over it? Don’t do this to running. Overdoing it can lead to burnout, and more importantly, injury. 

When I first started running, I wanted to get out there every single day and run as much as I could to get faster and go further. Stick to your training plan and add a day or two of cross-training to your plan to stay active and avoid overdoing it. Listen to your body. I upped my mileage too fast for this past February’s Rock ‘N Roll New Orleans Half Marathon and paid the price with shin splints.

#4 – Have Fun

Never in a million years did I think that I would enjoy running as much as I do. There is a feeling of accomplishment that cannot be explained when you cross a finish line after training for months to run a race. If you’re not having fun and feeling great, maybe running isn’t for you. But, wait to make that decision until after you cross your first finish line. You can thank me later. 

Side note: Training is not fun. I feel great when I’ve completed a training run, but I don’t look forward to training as a super fun activity. It is a necessary part of becoming a runner. Find a running partner or local run club to join and it will make training more fun and keep you accountable.

To be a runner, all you have to do is take the first step. Good luck! 

2017 Miles to Go: 480

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