Be Happy, Feel Beautiful
You’ve seen them— people on the streets, around campus, or on the track. They are sweaty and graceful, speeding by seemingly without any effort. You may envy their ability and probably think they are slightly crazy, but nonetheless, they intrigue you. You question whether or not you could be out there doing what they do, but something holds you back.
It all begins by ending the negative thoughts. “I’m not in good enough shape”. “People will judge me because I’m not fast”. “What do I wear?” “What’s the point?” But you still can’t stop thinking, “What if I could do that?”
Well, my blissful belles, YOU CAN! Although I have always been an athlete–I was a basketball player and now I am a rower–I certainly haven’t always been a runner. In fact I used to hate it. Laps at basketball practice? I’d rather eat leather. Sprints? No thanks! But then one day, I started to get in better shape. I started to get a little faster. I was intrigued. I went outside for a run and really liked it. The next day, I went a little further. Over the years I have grown to love the sport of running. Now I actually consider myself one of those crazy runners! I’m here to tell you that you accomplish running feats too!
Here is how to get started:
1. Start Slowly
This is one of the most important things to keep in mind as a beginning runner. Not only will you risk severely injuring yourself, but you will get discouraged and give up! Becoming a runner is a wonderful goal, so tackle one small challenge at a time!
2. Don’t Worry About Speed
Slow is the name of the game when it comes to this sport. Who cares if you’re running a 12-minute mile? You’re a newbie and that’s perfectly fine! If you go all out during your first run, sprinting as fast as you can, I can promise you that you won’t make it all that far. That’s just discouraging. To avoid this, run at a pace you feel to be most comfortable. You should easily be able to hold a conversation with someone while holding an easy pace. Your legs will last a lot longer on the road than if you tried to be Speedy Gonzalez.
3. Take Walking Breaks
Who says you have to run the whole time? Walking rules, so don’t feel ashamed. There is actually a running method that people use and it basically involves alternating running and walking to make you faster. The best part? It works! The key is to set a time or distance goal for the walking/running intervals, or else you might fall into the mindset of, “Oh, I’ll just walk for a little…a little longer…eh, just a little longer.” Walk for a minute or two, and then run for five minutes. Don’t have a watch? Use telephone poles or mailboxes in the distance as markers to begin or end your walking portion.
4. Don’t Worry What People Think
Honestly, who cares what you look like when you run? Who cares how slowly you’re going or that you’re red and sweaty? Most people will look at you and be envious or impressed! You’re moving, and that’s what counts! Plus, you may even inspire some onlookers to lace up their sneaks and hit the pavement.
5. But, What Do I Wear?
Proper clothing is key when running. This isn’t to say you should go out and buy a whole new wardrobe. However, there are certain things you should consider if you do get serious about running. Proper shoes are a biggie. Getting fitted correctly for a pair of sneakers will help reduce injuries and make your run much more pleasant! Most running stores now offer a free service where professionals will figure out your arch type, gait and stride, and heel strike. Most importantly, they will put you in the proper shoe. Other things to consider are sweat wicking clothing to keep you cool, compression tights to keep you warm, and good socks to minimize the chance of blisters. Also, a good sports bra helps!
6. I Just Don’t Feel Like Running Today…
Feeling lazy? Find a running buddy! You would be surprised that having someone rely on you will get you off the couch and outside on the streets. Plus, it’s fun to go for a run and chit chat the whole time! It’s a great opportunity to catch up and even better, the time flies!
7. Stay Motivated…Sign Up For a Race!
Sometimes, even if you have a running buddy, it’s hard to see the point in pounding out these miles day in and day out. Sometimes you hit that “mental wall” and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this again?” If you start asking yourself this question, sign up for a race! Signing up for a race is the ultimate way to get yourself out there and train. For one thing, it gives you a great goal to work toward. Having something to work toward, whether it’s a time goal or just finishing, is great motivation!
8. HAVE FUN!
Seriously, this is the ultimate tip. Running is supposed to be a fun way to exercise, relieve stress and get healthy. If you’re not having fun, step back and look at your training. Are you frustrated? Maybe you’re doing too much too soon. Are you injured? Take some time off. Mental burn out? Try cross training. Bored? Make a fun new playlist or explore a new route! There are so many ways to mix it up and make your run fun! If you have a few bad experiences, then change your approach.
You will find your groove if you stick with it! Now what are you waiting for? Lace up those sneakers and hit the road, girl!