Hey you guys and gals! I have been running consistently (4+ times a week) for a year and a half now and have completed a few 10Ks, two half marathons and two 15Ks. I am by NO MEANS any sort of running expert but I keep having these moments when I say to myself – I wish I knew this YEARS ago, I would have kept running a long time ago (I started so many times – see my about page)…. Alas, we can’t turn back time, but I wanted to share these few things I have learned about running that make it fun and, dare I say, easy!
1. Clean Fuel = Energy for Running
This is by far the most important part. What you put in your body REALLY matters. I never had the energy for exercise before because of my diet was dragging me down – I was walking around like a bloated zombie, half asleep. Get rid of the junk, soda, processed foods, (and cut back (or out in my case) the meat and dairy) and fuel up with as much fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains as you can. Check out the Inspiration page for links to my favorite recipe sites and books. The more of this you do, the more energy you will have, and soon your legs will be twitching – I promise!
2. Drink up!
Stay Hydrated! Upon rising, drink a quart of water with some lemon juice. Keep the “putting the water to yah” throughout the day, until your pee is wicked light yellow (bordering on clear). I have been dehydrated running before and it can really drag you down, give you muscle cramps (and be dangerous if you get severely dehydrated). When I’m out for more than an hour, I carry water with me. When it’s really hot, I’ll add ice and Skratch powder so I’m replenishing the electrolytes / salt. Keep drinking after you’re done, too…
3. Warm up with Dynamic Stretching
At the very least, go out the door walking for a few minutes, and begin jogging after that at a very slow pace. ONLY after about 10-15 minutes should you pick it up (if you want to pick it up at all and often I do not 🙂 ). The best way to warm up is with some dynamic stretching. High knees, butt kicks and Frankensteins. These exercises will also help you work the bugs out and see how all of your parts are feeling before blasting ahead with your run.
4. Creature Comforts Are OK
I like to carry water with me; I get thirsty and I drink A LOT. There are people who scoff at bringing water with you for a shorter run, but my theory is that if I am 3-4 miles from my house and I feel like going longer, I want to have fluid (and maybe a snack) with me. When it’s fall and I’m just going out for 3-4 I maybe skip it, but anything above that, or hotter than fall in Maine, I am bringing it with me and I don’t give a hoot. I also have one of those hydration backpacks, made specifically for running, and yeah, they look silly but who gives a $%#@? I can also stick my phone, and a couple of medjool dates in there for fuel. Also, wear a running skirt if you feel like you want your jiggly butt covered and your thighs rub together, and wear hot pink compression sleeves on your calves if you feel like they help – I have done and do all of these things!!). Part of this whole thing is doing what works for you and not giving a $#!% what everyone else might think. You are out there and you’re already lapping someone on the couch, so whatever works for you – DO IT!
5. NO EXPECTATIONS!!!!
My first training run a year and a half ago was 2 miles around the neighborhood and I ran so slow, your pet sloth could have caught up with me. But guess what – I RAN the whole way and it felt GOOD! Just lace up your shoes and get out the door. Don’t say to yourself that you “have to run 4 miles today” or that you can’t walk, or that you have to run at x pace (or that you have to run at all for that matter). I repeat – just put on your shoes and go out the door. If you are still miserable after 15 minutes then walk, or turn around and go back to the house. I guarantee that you won’t want to go home after 15 minutes and if you walk – thats FINE!! Keep walking until you feel like you can start running again, then run for a little, walk for a little – whatever. Point is, just start, and don’t set any speed or distance expectations on yourself. (and my rule also is – don’t get out of breath – if you are out of breath SLOW DOWN). I’ve had the best runs when I just go out thinking…”I’m just going to go for a little jog”….
So there they are – keep these 5 things in mind and you will no doubt be successful in your running endeavors. Also – be easy on yourself, thank your body for everything that it does and congratulate it! Take silly pictures of yourself running – that’s ok too!!!!