Tuesday, May 19, 2015

“I want to start running, where do I begin?”

My cousin has inspired me to write some beginner blog posts for new runners as I have 8 months to get her ready for her first half marathon.  She took a big first step and decided she wanted to start running regularly but then what?!

Set goals.

There must be a reason you want to start running.  Use this reason as motivation to set SMART goals.

·      Specific – Be as specific as possible.  “I want to lose 10 pounds.”  “I want to drop a dress size.”  “I want to complete a half marathon.”  Or even, “I want to run 3 days per week.”
·      Measurable – It's important to able to measure progress toward your goal.  Put a number on it.
·      Achievable – Is your goal achievable?  Were you specific in your goal that there is a way to know that your goal was achieved?
·      Realistic – Be realistic in your goal setting!  You don’t want to set yourself up for failure.  You can also break it up into smaller goals all leading toward your ultimate goal.  This allows you to check your progress along the way and modify your goals if needed.
·      Timely – There has to be a time frame on your goal.  Open-ended goals have a lower rates of success for those who tend to procrastinate.  “I want to lose 10 pounds in 6 months.”  “I want to drop a dress size before my reunion.”  “I want to complete a half marathon in January.”  “I want to run 3 days a week for the next 8 weeks.”

Run Jen Run Tip: If you’re goal involves a road race and it is your first road race or you are new to the distance, your goal should be on finishing and finish feeling good.  Don’t worry about time.  Just enjoy yourself out there and focus on getting yourself to the finish line.

Buy new shoes.

Happiness is a new pair of running shoes!  Most running shoes will last between 300-400 miles.  Wearing old shoes or the wrong shoes can lead to injuries and unplanned time off.  Visit a specialty running store to make sure you get fitted and buy the right shoes for you.

Hire a coach.

A running coach can be beneficial to any level running—especially beginners.  It is very common that beginners don’t really know what to do or how to train so they go out and get injured.  A running coach will set up a training plan specific to your goals and athletic abilities.  A great running coach will also help with goal setting, motivate you and push you to your potential.

Side note: Did you know I’m a running coach?  You can book with me through CoachUp’s website.

Have a plan.

Whether you hire a running coach or not, you need to have a plan.  If you have a running coach, they will do the hard work for you.  If not, consult multiple training plans and find what works best with your schedule and current activity levels.

Grab a buddy & tell someone your goal.

Telling someone your goal will help keep you accountable.  Find a running buddy and make training fun!  It’s always easier to get out the door in the morning when you know someone is waiting for you at your favorite trail.  They are there to motivate you on days you’re struggling and to give you a high five after a great workout at the track.  Over the years my running friends have become some of my best friends because you share so much out there on the roads together.  It’s even great to have a virtual running buddy—check in from time to time via text or Facetime and talk about your training.

Be patient.

Fitness doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes a lot of hard work, consistency, and dedication.  Don’t get frustrated with slow progress.  Progress is progress no matter how small and each step you take will get you closer to your goals.

True or False: Runners have to run everyday.

False!  Recovery days are just as important as running days to reduce fatigue (physically and mentally), build strength, restore glycogen, and help keep us injury free.

You’re a runner.  Own it!

It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow you run.  If you run, you’re a runner.  The running community is awesome and very supportive so embrace it!

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