Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Quick Thoughts for New Runners

Okay, first let me say a couple of things that are obvious:

1. There are TONS of websites with advice for new runners. How to train, how to eat, what to wear, everything...... I'm not the first one to come up with the urge to jot some notes down for other runners.

2. I'm no expert. Oh I run. I run a lot. I also eat a lot of graham crackers with frosting on them and make a lot of excuses as to why I can't run today, blah, blah, blah.... So consider that I'm just a Dad living in a small town in Georgia that likes to run and that is putting his advice out for new runners to read.

Now, with all that having been said, I wanted to spit out my thoughts on a couple of things that I feel like new runners should keep in mind. If you just decided to run your first race this is for you. If you're moving from a 5k distance to a 10k or from the road to the trail I can share different insights with you. This post is really just for you guys and gals that want to feel the satisfaction of having trained for and run your first race!

Have a plan. Make sure your plan has you running realistic distances with realistic increments of time/distance to reach the day of your race. If you train too hard, too quickly you will hurt yourself. I'm sorry, it's just how it is. Number one rule that my buddy taught me is to show up to the starting line un-injured. If you injure yourself training you just defeated the purpose.

I would suggest running/walking 20 mins at a time a few times a week and increasing it over a few months to 30 and then 45 minutes. It's about getting the time on your feet at first. That's it. By the way, if you can make it 2 - 2.5 miles the week before your race you will be able to do 3.1 miles on race day. The adrenaline and excitement will carry you that last stretch.

Get good shoes. This is so important. You don't have to go to the Big Peach and buy shoes though I recommend it. Shoes there will run you about $100 - $130 but they will put you in the right shoes for your feet and your stride. Also, they will take the shoes back, period. They will take them and give you different ones if you have problems with them. No questions asked. I've worn shoes for a year and in TWO MUD RACES and they took them back.

But like I said you don't have to go to a running store. You can buy Asics or Nikes or something inexpensive and reputable for your first race. I did. I ran in Asics from a department store for a year. We'll talk after that if you need to upgrade. No problem.

Run with a buddy. I've run for many years and I still like running with my friend Matt. When we run together I train harder and I'm more disciplined. Get a friend and walk/run with them. It's safer and more enjoyable. You'll stick with it longer and you'll be happier.

That's really it, new runners. OF COURSE you have to stay hydrated and you have to use some common sense regarding safety and you have to eat right but the biggest problems I see are outlined above. People tend to not have a plan, train too hard or not enough, run in bad shoes and get demotivated and quit. If you stick with some of these basic principles for having a plan, getting some good shoes and being accountable to somebody you will do good! Let me know (if you're in Georgia) and I'll run with you sometime! : )

Happy running - Scott