I was 17 when I joined my high school’s Cross Country Team. I was not a “runner” by any stretch but decided to run competitively for weight management and overall health. In recent years, I run for fun and occasionally enter a half marathon for charity. I’ve learned a thing or two over the years so I thought I’d share my top three tips with you….
If you can walk, you can run
It’s true. It’s just a matter of how far you can run. Start off slow and don’t push yourself beyond your comfort level when just beginning this new sport. One of the biggest mistakes new runners make is putting pressure on themselves to run too many miles and too often. You will end up resenting your new activity and may even injure yourself. Instead, begin slowly and set realistic goals.
The right sneakers are everything
I never knew how true this statement is until I started to get older. After many years—and many miles— I’ve learned that sneakers will make or break your running experience. Everyone is different so a sneaker that works for me may not work for you. For me, New Balance has been a steady “go to” as they support my foot arch extremely well. Any good running shoe store will ask you to try on a potential pair and run for a little bit to get a good sense of whether this is the right shoe for you. If you’re like me, you won’t truly know until you run in the sneaker for a few miles. Again, any reputable store will let you return the shoes if they don’t turn out to be suitable. Listen to your feet. Running in the wrong shoe can cause damage to your feet and knees very quickly. Additionally, it’s a good rule to replace your sneakers every 300-400 miles. Not doing so can cause shin splints which are very painful and will prevent you from running for many weeks until they heal.
Yes, you need to stretch!
Stretching is key both before and after a run. I have even stopped periodically during the run, after a mile or two, if I feel particularly stiff that day. Don’t be afraid to stop and don’t beat yourself up if there is day your body just doesn’t feel like going for a run. Also, don’t shortchange your stretching. Spend the time because, trust me, it will make a strong difference in your ability and stamina and will prevent injuries.
What are your running tips?