Today you guys have a super special treat! Allie from VITAtrain4life.com is my sissy from another missy AND she is an incredible athlete! Her story inspires me to run forever. Today she is sharing some critically important tips for new runners. 🙂 Enjoy.
5 Tips For New Runners (From An Old One!)
Yes, I’m old…in more ways then one. I’m ‘old’ to running, as I started way back in 2000, after a break-up from a boyfriend I was with for two years. I had also just moved back to the East Coast after living in glorious Santa Monica, CA for three years post-college. I needed to run – – from the break-up and from the depression of moving from sunny Cali to freezing cold and dreary Connecticut in the middle of winter.
I started out simply running around my three-mile block, with my dog, every morning. Over time I grew to absolutely love it and started adding on mileage and eventually, started racing.
Fast-forward 14 years and, as I face turning 40, I’m still running. As an ‘old’ runner, turning 40 brings a lot of good. I’m still racing PR (personal best) times, winning my age group (I can’t wait to age up!) and occasionally winning the race outright. One of the many great things about running is that you can start at any age and you only get better with time.
I’ve made a ton of mistakes in all my years of running. If I could Turn Back Time Cher style, these are the five things I would want my 26 year-old self to know about running:
- It’s All About The Shoes: Truer words were never spoken. DO NOT buy running shoes based on color, style, or what your bestie is wearing. Save that for the adorable flats or wedges you want to sport to your favorite restaurant after your five-miler. The best running shoes for you are the ones at the specialty running store where you will go to be fitted for the proper shoes! They do not cost more there and, they will certainly cost less then the money you will need for physical therapy and/or surgery if you have the wrong shoes and run for miles in them.
Find your local running specialty store, go there and get fitted for the right shoes. If you’re already running in a pair, bring them with you so they can see how your tread is wearing, etc. They should put you on a treadmill and videotape you running, so they can see what kind of gait you have and therefore, what shoe you need. Most stores will also let you try on several pair and take them for a short test run. It’s like being the Cinderella of running. Own it.
- What Not To Wear: Most newbie runners struggle with wearing the “right” outfit for a given run. A good rule of thumb is to dress 10 degrees warmer then the outside temperature. Your body will heat up quickly on a run, and you do not want to overdress for that occasion. If it’s 60 degrees out – – dress as if it’s 70. You should feel a little cool if not cold when you step outside. By mile one, you will be happy and thanking me in your head. Still confused? Try this great tool by the geniuses at Runner’s World. It’s called “What To Wear” and, by inputting the outside temp and your personal preferences, it will tell you exactly how to dress. It even accounts for wind.
- You Are What You Think: In running, your mental game is everything. If you think you can, you will. Guess what happens when your thoughts go the other way? Right. Stay positive on the run and try to make all your self-talk encouraging. A lot of runners use what are called “mantras,” and they are simply key phrases or words you repeat to yourself over and over when things get tough. Some people use “hills make me stronger” to get up a tough one. One of my personal favorites is “set your pace, run your race” which helps me not to go out too fast at the start of a race, and to keep my mind on what I’m running and not the girl who is passing me. Practice talking to yourself (preferably not out loud – save your oxygen!) on a run and find a mantra that works for you.
- Chafing Is the Devil: What is chafing you ask? Oh it’s just when your skin rubs together (sometimes in very sensitive areas!) for too long, say on a nice long run on a summer day, and literally wears the skin away creating a burn. It’s particularly awesome when you don’t know it’s there until water from the shower hits it. Not fun. To prevent chafing, there are all kinds of produtcs, the most popular of which is probably Glide. You can get it at any sports store and a lot of drug stores. If you don’t have Glide, no worries. Any Vaseline type product will do and I’m a big fan of Aquaphor.
The top four chafing spots are: Underneath your sports bra (even for me and I have no boobs!), between your legs where your shorts rub, that area just behind your armpits and anywhere there are seams on your clothing. Try, at all times, to by seamless running gear!
- You Don’t Have To Run the Whole Time: Read that again. Got it? Don’t think you have to go out for a run and run every step. Jeff Galloway, running legend, has built his entire career around the run/walk method. When I first started out I used to trick myself by saying “I’m just going to run to that mailbox and then stop.” Of course, I wouldn’t stop but it definitely helps to keep pushing though if you keep telling yourself you only have to run a little more. Giving yourself small, attainable goals will help you run over the long haul. And, if you need to run/walk – do it. Repeat it as many times as you need to and pretty soon, you may find yourself not walking at all. Or, you may find that the run/walk suits you and you do it on every training run and every race. Either way you are a RUNNER!
Now close your computer, put on the right shoes, dress yourself properly, tell yourself you’re a running superstar, apply your glide and run and/or walk your way through the best part of your day!
Allie is a sweat addict and gets her fix through running for Team Oiselle, cycling and chasing after her five year-old twin boys. On any given day you can find her racing, freelance writing, reading, dreaming about yoga and coming to terms with being a stay-at-home mom. Allie’s blog VITA – Train for Life is all about hard work and motivation with a healthy kick of snark and hilarity. Allie currently teaches two weekly fitness classes near her home in the Northeast where she and her husband like to live it up big!