Maybe you've been told that you need to start exercising. You are probably aware of the massive health benefits of running, but you may not know that running can increase your happiness, your social life and your general sense of well being.
Getting started can be intimidating but here are some tips from a long time runner and coach.
1. We runners aren't actually that motivated. You see us out there putting in those miles and you probably think it's sheer determination that moves us. It's not. Running feels good, ok sometimes it doesn't feel good until it's done, but it feels good. Once you get over the awkward beginning part you might really come to love it.
2. Running with friends is magic. Find a group, find a buddy. Most runs should be done at a pace where you can talk. Walk/run in the beginning to get yourself started so you can still talk, breathe and share that Paleo muffin recipe. Running groups may seem intimidating to join but everybody likes a new member with a new story that can be told on the run. If you aren't sure where to start, contact your local running store.
3. "Real" runners won't judge you for trying. You may feel awkward or self-conscious starting out and think we are judging you in your oversized sweatshirt, but really we're thinking about our run or the story the runner next to us is telling. We think it's cool that you are out there. We only judge you when you don't run.
4. Ditch the oversize sweatshirt. Most new runners overdress with too many layers and gear. Dress as if it's 15-20 degrees warmer out than it is. In cold weather working up a sweat actually makes you colder, since you become wet. Reconsider the arm band and the waist belt too. You don't really need all that stuff. Maybe a water bottle if you run somewhere without water fountains.
5. If you do a race don't wear the race shirt until you finish. Try a 5K when you're ready. The thrill and camaraderie of racing can be addicting, and a great way to find new running friends who run at your pace, but for the love of god, leave the race shirt off until you finish. It's a huge faux pas and also bad luck. Earn the shirt.
6. Running doesn't have to hurt your knees or hips. The running population in general has surgery on these less often and later in life than the sedentary population. Strong muscles and less extra weight go a long way to preserving your parts. Going to an established running store and getting properly fit will help protect your feet and the rest of you.
7. You are a runner. People always say they aren't real runners. If you are running, you might be a new runner, but you are a runner. As Bart Yasso (the "Mayor of Running") says, there are no fake runners.
Go run and have some fun out there. If you have any questions email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we are always happy to talk about running.