Since it's a "free" Friday and we can choose our Friday Five, I've decided to go with my five tips for runners who are transitioning from running around their neighborhood to participating in races with the goal to challenge their endurance and speed.
1- Find a Group!As we all know most of our life's big goals are best accomplished when we have someone alongside us who wants to achieve the same thing. The mutual support and accountability can be invaluable. Local running stores, running clubs, MeetUp groups, etc. are all great options. I have recently started the Women's Running Series at Big River Running in addition to attending some of their group run. This has been a great experience and I've met some awesome ladies who invited me to run with them. I'll be joining their half-marathon training program in July which is free!
Yoga at our first session of Women's Running Series
2-Get the Right Shoes!There are A LOT of cute "running shoes" out on the market right now and it can be so tempting to buy ones that are your favorite color or look. When I first started running consistently a few years ago I threw on whatever athletic shoes I had at the time. Most of the time these were cross-trainers and not designed for running. I would often end up with an injury a few weeks in and I know having improper shoes played a large role in that. Once I was fitted it made all the difference
A store specializing in running will fit you for the proper shoes by analyzing your gait, build and a variety of other factors. However if you feel like you're being pressured or upsold, you don't have to buy whatever they tell you! While giving them your business is good if you feel comfortable, you can certainly utilize the information they gave you about your needs and take time to weigh the options.
Even the property fitted shoes come in cute colors!
3-Slow Your Roll!I think for any person who is just thinking about making the jump from running a lap around their neighborhood once a week whose goal is to compete in a distance race, a 5k is the absolute best place to start. You can have ideas in the back of your head of getting to Boston someday, but focusing on the more manageable goal of a 5k is a great way to get bitten by the race buy. First it's a manageable distance that people with baseline running levels can complete with a non-intrusive training program. Secondly the atmosphere at most 5ks is that of a casual and fun environment which is a great way to introduce yourself to racing. Starting with the ever-popular Couch 2 5k program is a great way to get used to running consistently multiple days per week and really does give you the base for moving onto longer distances.
One of my first 5ks!
4-Run Outside!Now I know a lot of you love your treadmills and that they can be necessary in certain weather and I'm not advocating of never using a treadmill under any circumstance. However, for me, one of the greatest joys of running is being outside and just being out there, in your neighborhood or on a long country road, city park, field, trail, etc.
Moving around your world powered only by your own two feet is an amazing feeling. I ran to my office this morning. It's only 5 miles but it was such an amazing feeling knowing that I was doing my commute on foot. The energy from being out there is carrying me nicely through the rest of my day.
Pic taken while running at Forest Park...this is what it is all about!
5-Don't Get Overwhelmed-The running community is one of the most inclusive and encouraging group of folks and they are so supportive of anyone who wants to get out there and run. That being said when you're first starting out reading/talking about the gear, the races, the fuel, the rolling, the pacing, the tempo runs, the speedwork and all the in-between can seem SO overwhelming. Remember running is really putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward, you don't need to jump into all that stuff right away to be a "runner"...you just need to run! Sooner or later you'll want to scratch the surface a little more as your distance increases to see what it's all about, but for now...just get out there!
Thanks for reading!