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new to running? well alright then! - The Original Live Journal Runners Club
new to running? well alright then!
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.

15 miles | run a mile
x_metal_angel_x From: x_metal_angel_x Date: October 21st, 2007 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi, I'm new here.

Great information and tips in this article! Thanks for posting :o)
klm185 From: klm185 Date: October 21st, 2007 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)

the first tip i got...

Moisture-wicking running socks.

That's all I have to say.
supermanz From: supermanz Date: October 21st, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: the first tip i got...

Air-E-Ators FTW!
chendog From: chendog Date: October 21st, 2007 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)


Great post. It will really help many newbies and is a good reminder of us more experienced as well. Good job.
supermanz From: supermanz Date: October 21st, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Tips

thanks :)
jonyoon From: jonyoon Date: October 21st, 2007 07:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Some extra's I'll throw in...

- Cross-Training on days when not running will give your body a recovery break from the typical pounding that your body goes through when running and will allow you to maintain your aerobic capacity. Some examples of Cross-Training can be cycling, walking, using an elliptical, swimming, rowing.
- Even with good shoes, socks, and moisture-wicking clothes; you could get blisters or experience chaffing - especially if you start running longer distances. Applying Vaseline or BodyGlide on those areas can help with blistering and chaffing.
- To prevent side stitches, practice exhaling when your left foot strikes the ground.
- Listen to your body. The term "no pain, no gain" can cause you to never to be able to run again if you get injuries. Learn the difference between just being tired and sore versus being injured and hurting. Rest if you need to rest.

- Respect the course. Running a mile or a 100 miles, you have to know what you're getting into and train smart. If you come in with the attitude of, "I'm going to cross 'Doing a marathon' off my list." and you don't properly train for it, the course will teach you a lesson in humility. This has happened to me during my second 50k ultra, running trails at night in ice, snow, & cold and during a recent 3 mile training run that killed my quads for 3 days straight.

- Run with your heart.
supermanz From: supermanz Date: October 21st, 2007 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
on a not so related to running note...I love that icon!
jonyoon From: jonyoon Date: October 22nd, 2007 12:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I made it myself.
travelogger From: travelogger Date: October 21st, 2007 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks - you did a great job with this! :)
supermanz From: supermanz Date: October 21st, 2007 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
thanks a lot! I was going to suggest maybe adding this to memories and keeping some sort of running collection of tips but I notice it already was lol.
boloko From: boloko Date: October 21st, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
haha... we used to say "hydrate or die" in our unit all the time. it makes perfect sense, but i decided to put more positivity into it and say "hydrate and live!"

good tips!
supermanz From: supermanz Date: October 21st, 2007 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
A quick check confirmed what I thought...That expression is the Camelbak slogan. A few years ago I was hiking with some friends in NH and one of them had a Camelbak, so that became our unofficial motto for the excursion and it's stuck with me.
magaggies From: magaggies Date: October 21st, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is a great idea, and you did a great job with it. Here are a couple more things I usually tell new runners:

*Once you finish your Couch To 5K training or once you get to the point where you can go 3 miles, find a 5K to do. You won't come in last, because there are usually at least a few walkers. If you were ever unmotivated about running or not sure if you wanted to continue it, this will probably give you the bug. It is SO much fun to run in that kind of atmosphere, and you'll find that runners are some of the most kind, supportive and wonderful people you'll ever meet. I can't recommend it enough.

*For the ladies (or brave men)- Two words: Running skirts!

* Have FUN!
(Deleted comment)
supermanz From: supermanz Date: October 22nd, 2007 02:03 am (UTC) (Link)
It actually has been! So someone read your mind. It's here under New To Running appropriately enough.
15 miles | run a mile