How To Start Running | City Fit Girls Running 101
By Takia McClendon
Running. All of your friends are doing it. All of your co-workers are talking about it. You can't walk from the subway to the office without seeing someone zooming past you and even though it looks dreadful, you're intrigued. Maybe it's officially time for you to become a runner...but what does that mean? How can you start running? Are you thinking about running a 5k or a marathon? Do you want to run on the treadmill, the beach or through the trails? Do you have the right socks, shoes, gear, etc? Although this may seem intimidating, it doesn't have to be! We created City Fit Girls Run Club for women --- all over the country --- who want to take a shot at running but may not be sure where to start. Although this postmay seem a little lengthy, we recommend you read it in it's entirety to help you get started. Let's begin....
1. Getting Started: You want to start running, now what? Let's start by discussing what it means to "become a runner". This guide is by no means designed for intermediate or experienced runners. This guide is for City Fit Girls who are on the fence about taking their first few laps around the block or for runners interested in running their first organized race.
- Set a Goal: It's ok to set short term and long term goals. An example of a short term goal may be to run 1 mile without stopping while an example of a long term goal is to run a 10k or half-marathon. Whatever you choose, make sure your goals are attainable. Setting the bar too high too early could lead to trouble.
- Your Pace, Your Race: Whether you're running your first race or hitting your local trail, you'll notice runners going much faster than you. Trust us, there's no way to avoid this. Great thing none of those people will have an impact on YOUR running. With practice and strength training, you'll increase speed over time. For now, imagine all the other runners in their underwear and focus on accomplishing your goal.
Getting started will require you to get the right gear. We don't anticipate you to drop $500 for your first 3 mile run, but there are a few things that you have to do before you start taking this running thing seriously.
2. The Right Gear: The run specialty store can be a scary place. With hundreds of gadgets, shoes and apparel to choose from, it's easy to feel defeated before you even hit the road in a new pair of running shoes. Before you go crazy, make sure you cover the essentials:
- Running Shoes: No matter what anyone tells you, you need a pair of running shoes if you plan to do long distance running. We won't budge on this one. Running shoes come with a hefty price tag, usually around $120, but this is an expense that you DON'T want to bargain shop for (unless you have to). There are many different types of running shoes to choose from. Reading the shoe guide in Runner's World may help you learn what's out there but don't let it be your deciding factor. Head to your local running store (or sporting goods store that specializes in running) to have an expert analyze your gait and recommend a great pair of shoes for YOU (not the shoes that works well for your best friend).
- Key Tips: The average shoe lasts about 300-500 miles or 6 months so you may need to replace your shoes two times/year to prevent injury (more on that later)
- Do socks really matter? Yea, they do. Buying a good pair of shoes and not getting good socks is like buying a Lexus and filling the tank up with olive oil. Probably not a good idea. Running socks should be 100% moisture wicking - meaning that moisture from sweat will wick away and prevent blistering and chaffing.
- Treat yourself - A good sports bra and BodyGlide: Add another $65 to your budget and grab yourself a good sports bra. Our favorite brand is Moving Comfort. Be sure to get a "high impact" bra. We love Nike Pro Bras as much as the next girl but save them for cross training days - yoga, CrossFit and spin class - or really short/easy runs. If you experience chaffing, skin peeling/rubbing during your runs or workout, you'll want to give BodyGlide a try.
Eventually, you'll want to buy a moisture wicking shirt and bottom to keep your running clothes from sticking to and rubbing against your body. Here are a few of our favorite brands:
- New Balance: Not just awesome running shoes, but awesome running apparel. Cute gear designed for the millennial woman
- Oiselle: Super cute running and fitness clothing for women
- Athleta: A little pricey, but worth it. Think yoga meets Gap (literally, that's what it is)
- Nike Women: When it comes to apparel, Nike has the most selection/variety to accommodate ALL of your fitness needs.
- Nathan Sports: Not really an apparel line, but Nathan Sports is your go-to place for hydration, safety lights, and cases.
Once you have your gear, it's really time to get rolling. You've already set a goal, now it's time to train towards it.
3. Choosing The Right Training Program: A common mistake that many new runners make is increasing milage too quickly. Relax, this isn't the olympic trials. Your training program should increase mileage gradually, allow ample time to rest, and include strength building workouts in your routine.
- Which program is right for me? It's completely up to you! Our favorites are listed here:
- We teamed up with Coach Marcy Gialdo to create an all-levels 5k and half-marathon training program. Get access to our programs by signing up here.
- Couch-To-5k: This two month program will lead you from couch potato to 5k runner in two months. Find out more here.
- Hal Higdon Training Programs: For those looking to go beyond beginner's level Couch-To-5k, check out Hal Higdon's training programs.
- Cross-training is VERY important: If you're just getting started, check out this link: Strength Training for New Runners (Runners World)
- Switch it up: Not only will you want to switch up your activities by adding other workouts to your training program, you'll want to switch up your running route. Running doesn't have to be boring. Use Map My Run to find local running routes to keep your training fresh.
- Eat The Right Food: There's a diet for everyone. Be sure to consult with your doctor before trying any new diet program. Nutrient-rich foods are very important for building strength and refueling/recovering after your run.
- If you don't remember anything else, remember this: carbohydrates, protein and fats fuel your run!
- Recover, recover, recover: Your body needs rest! Be sure to take it easy a few days each week.
4. Common running injuries: Although we'd love to impress you with a few technical injury terms, we'll try to keep these as simple as possible.
- Shin splints - Can be caused by overpronation, inadequate stretching, worn shoes, or excessive stress placed on one leg or one hip. It involves shin pain and can be eased with icing, rest, and getting the right shoes.
- Plantar facetious - caused by drastic or sudden increases in mileage, poor foot structure, and/or inappropriate running shoes.
- Runner's knee - Is your knee killing you? It may be runner's knee. To prevent runner's knee, run on softer surfaces, keep mileage increases less than 10 percent per week, and gradually increase hill work in your program.
- Other things that we don't classify as "injuries" but still suck: blistering, chaffing, and losing toenails.
Interested in learning more about common running injuries, check out these FREE resources:
- Runner's World: Injury Guide
- Athletes Treating Athletes: (Our favorite) A database for common run injuries, how to recognize them and how to treat them.
Let's recap: We covered a lot of material in this post. Here's a recap of what you need to know to get started - 1. Get a pair of great running shoes, 2. Eat a balanced, nutrient-dense diet to fuel your runs and 3. Follow a training program to help you become a better runner.
Add Confidence: Don't be so hard on yourself. You ARE a runner. Don't be afraid to join a run group, sign up for your first race or increase your mileage - slowly (see above). If you're looking for a Run Club, ask us how to start a City Fit Girls Run Club in your area! City Fit Girls Run Club is an all-levels group for runners of all paces!
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