As has been noted, we've gotten LOTS of new, enthusiastic runners here thanks to the spotlight. I wanna say a hearty welcome to all of you! I've been noticing over the past day or so, a lot of people who are new to the community are also relatively new to running and are asking similar questions, or questions that have similar answers. So in the interest of trying to make things easy for everyone, I was thinking of making a 'getting into running' post for people just starting out or getting back into it after a long layoff or people who want to do it more regularly/seriously. I'm just going to list a few things I think are important for every beginning runner to keep in mind that hopefully also covers many of the questions they were wondering. Everyone and anyone should feel free to add their own advice, or spin on advice, or things that work for them, or correct me and tell me I'm dumb, or whatever else.
-The most important thing, I think, is to start off slowly. Don't expect that you're going to be running 5 minute miles, or 20 mile long runs, right away. If you do too much too soon, you're going to get hurt and then you won't be doing any running. Ease into it, I think a good rule of thumb is to increase intensity by 10% each week. A lot of beginners here have mentioned the Couch to 5K program.
-Don't be afraid to walk! I know this community is called 'runners' but sometimes walking in the middle of a run to break it up when it gets too hard can help you extend the length of your run, thus keeping your heart rate elevated for a longer period of time, giving you the cardiovascular benefits longer.
-Go to a running store and get someone who knows to help you find a running shoe that's right for you. Everyone's feet are different and as such different running shoes work best for different feet (high arches, low arches, etc.) It might be a tad pricey, but it could also prevent future injuries (it did for me!) and treating those can be costlier.
-Weight training is not just for bodybuilders and football players! This article explains why better than I could but essenitally it helps prevent injury, and improves your speed and stamina. Don't be afraid of resistance training, just make sure you do it right. For newbie weight trainers, I recommend Stumptuous.com which I know is more geared towards women but still has excellent information for everyone.
-MapMyRun is a great website that allows you to keep a running log of your runs, map out distances and elevations and save those routes for future use. There's other sites out there too that work just as well, that's just the one I use. Keeping track of what you've done can be a good motivator for the future. Setting short and long term goals can really help you stick with something and down the road you can look back with pride to see how far you've come!
-I think a big obstacle to people just starting out is actually making running a habit. If you skip a few days, that can turn into a week or two, then a month, and you're back at square one. So...Schedule a run like you would schedule a doctor's appt. or a meeting or a class. I know everyone has busy schedules and often it's easy to say I'll just run tomorrow, and it keeps getting pushed back. Set some time aside beforehand, and on a regular basis, and make that time "running time". If you stick to a routine, it'll become a habit
-It also can help to find someone to run with. If you know you're going to be running with a friend, it may help motivate you to push, or go in the first place, when you may not be feeling it that day. and vice versa.
-Get enough rest! Just like with any exercise, you're body needs time to recover, so make sure you get enough sleep, especially on days you run. It'll help with soreness and recovery time, so you can be ready for your next run!
-Get enough food! I know some people start running to lose weight and it can definitely help with that. But running on a severely restricted diet is dangerous. There's 8 gazillion different nutrition plans and each of them can work for some people and not for others. Whatever diet you're on, make sure to get enough carbs, they're the primary fuel for runs and not poison as some diet plans may have you believe. Just remember that if you've just started running, you're burning more calories than you have been normally.
-Keep in mind the weather. Remember than when you start running, you're body is going to warm up so I tend to dress a little lighter than what would be comfortable to walk around in and once I start running I warm up to a more comfortable temperature. Also cotton can get soaked in sweat and become uncomfortable, and even cold in the winter, so it may be worth investing in some moisture-whicking material that all major brands sell nowadays.
-Hydrate or die! Make sure, especially as you get into longer and longer distances and times, and in hotter weather, to keep yourself hydrated. If you start feeling light headed on a run, chances are you're NOT hydrated enough.
-Just do it baby.
Like I said, feel free to expound upon this, or add to it. I'm sure some of our other resident regulars have oodles more knowledge to impart to our newbies, and not-so-newbies too, that we'd all love to hear.