Running: Where do you start? We LOVE guest bloggers. Rebecca Bishop is a marathon runner, who is working on running marathons in all 50 states! Here are her tips and tricks to jump into your running shoes and start moving!
Running is becoming a more popular sport than ever. Distance running, whether it’s a 5k or an ultra marathon, is no longer a sport for “athletes”, but almost anyone can grab a pair of running shoes and head out the door to try their hand at distance running. It’s a very universal and welcoming sport that more and more people are discovering, and it’s one of the more affordable sports that require very little equipment and can be enjoyed alone or with others.
If you’ve ever been a spectator at a running event you may feel motivated to get into running yourself. How can one get started? Is it really that easy to just grab a pair of old workout shoes and head out the door for a jog? I think it’s very important to take many factors into consideration before you decide to tackle a distance event. Here are some good tips to get you started:
1) Get fitted for a good pair of running shoes. This is the FIRST thing you should do above all else!
Runners come in all shapes and sizes, and running shoe selection can be incredibly overwhelming. Don’t rely on ones that just “look good” or “seem to fit”. The best thing to do is go to a local running store and have them help you get fitted for shoes that are just right for you. They will usually have you walk barefoot and see if you have over/under-pronation, high arches or flat feet, etc. and will be able to help you find the shoe that is just for you.
2) Find a good Couch to 5k program or other run/walk training plan. This is exactly how I got started with running years ago, which starts with walk/run intervals that eventually will have you running more, walking less, until you are able to run a 5k without stopping. Don’t worry about pace, just get out there and do your best. A good recommendation is Jeff Gallloway‘s program, which has helped thousands of runners meet their milestones and beyond with his walk/run training plans.
3) Don’t worry about watches and gear. To this day, I have never owned a Garmin, I barely run with a watch, and simply run and listen to my body. Don’t let gadgets do the work for you, let your body dictate your limits, and if you have to scale back or want to push harder, you will know when the time is right.
4) Calories are important, but don’t overdo it. A lot of people assume being a marathon runner means you have a license to eat. That is not necessarily true. Sure, I may need to take in more calories during training, but they have to be smart calories. I make sure to add extra healthy protein and fats to my diet, and don’t load up on ice cream and cookies after a long run, but instead I eat things like tofu, quinoa, black beans, fruit or almond butter. Various calorie calculators can help for you to determine exactly what your caloric needs are depending on the distance you run that day, and you can plan your healthy eating plan accordingly.
5) Balance is key. While running is a wonderful sport, it’s also important to incorporate stretching, strength/resistance training, and cross training when you can. I love to ride the bike, take a nice hilly walk, and do plenty of yoga and resistance training on off days. You don’t need much equipment at all if you don’t want it; sometimes it’s as simple as push-ups, wall-squats and planks in your living room!
6) Listen to your body. I cannot stress this enough. If you are having pain issues, examine them. Take some time off and never run through severe pain. I don’t mean don’t run through the final 3 miles of a marathon (which to this day STILL hurt), but if it’s a pain that is causing you to shift your gait or limp, you could be encouraging an injury that could sideline you for months.
7) Safety is always a factor. I always make sure I run on safe, well traveled trails; I don’t play music too loudly, and keep myself very aware of my surroundings. This is obviously not a big issue if you run on a track or treadmill, but for outdoor running I cannot stress how important safety is for a runner. I also never run in areas where I have to share the road with cars, but trails that are specifically meant for walkers, runners and cyclists. Let a loved one know where you are going to be when you go out, and if you can carry a cell phone, try to bring it with you.
8) Have fun! I love running for the sake of running. I don’t run to win age group awards. I run because I love how it makes me feel and the feeling of satisfaction that I earned yet ANOTHER marathon medal. When you are training for your first event, I always recommend not having a specific time in mind, but just focus on finishing. After you have a few races under your belt, work on bettering your times and setting your own PR (personal record). Don’t worry if other runners are passing you (if it happens), just smile and enjoy yourself. Make sure you encourage other runners along the way, I cannot stress how much it means to me when a runner high fives me or gives me a small word of encouragement.
One of my favorite running quotes is from fellow runner and motivational speaker John “The Penguin” Bingham: “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
Remember these words. You are already a winner for having the courage to get yourself to the starting line, and even if you finish last you did more than most will ever do in their lifetime. I wish you the best of luck as you start that journey, and I hope these tips helped you towards discovering your inner runner!
Come run with us in May! Run with The Bikini Chef®and Personal Trainer, Alison Dlugosz for the Fladeboe “I Ran A Marathon In May” series where 2 halves make a whole. Sponsored by Fladeboe Automotive Group of Irvine, Run 1/2-marathon on Sunday, May 5 and Memorial Day Monday, May 27… Runners who run with us get a special team Fladeboe running shirt! Details here: Fladeboe I Ran A Marathon In May
Follow Rebecca Bishop on Twitter: @Run_Rebecca_Run