When you first start out running, there’s a whole new world of adventures ahead of you, but over time it can be hard to get acclimated to the new lifestyle. Based on my own experiences, I have put together a list of 10 things every runner should do, especially at the beginning of their journey.
One. Find someone you can talk to about running
People who have someone they can talk to about running tend to be more motivated than those who don’t. Prime example would be a few years ago when I started running, but would stop after a month because I got bored and didn’t have anyone who was interested in running to motivate me. Via Social Media, I’ve watched some of my friends run their first-ever races, and first-ever marathons, inspiring me to get out there on days that I don’t want to. Another valuable thing about having someone who runs as a peer – they know that sometimes running sucks, and they’ll help you get through those hard times.
Two. Invest in a pair of good quality running shoes
These are more of a must have, if you plan on continuing to run regularly without injuries. I finally made a trip to a running store and found out I was wearing the wrong shoes. It isn’t as simple as picking the colors you like the most, or grabbing the most expensive ones on the lot. Things like pronation and foot strike do matter when purchasing shoes, and they’ll be the single most important thing you’ll buy when you jump into this sport.
Three. Make a go-to music playlist
Some people find that they don’t need music while they run, and I used to be one of them, unless I was on the treadmill. Now, I find that music motivates me more than anything else, and specific songs have the power to make me forget how badly my legs hurt and give me new motivation. So go ahead and pick 5-10 songs that really make you want to move, you’ll have them just in case.
Four. Reward yourself when you meet a goal
Goals can be anything. Something as simple as making time to run 3 days a week can be a goal. When you’re first starting out, it’s especially important for you to reward yourself for completing a goal, even if it’s a small one. After completing my half marathon, I wanted cheese pizza, and we went out and got one. It’s one of those “I’ve earned this” moments that you need to reward yourself for. And it doesn’t always have to be food-related, you can also give yourself the gift of new running gear, or a book or movie you’ve been wanting to enjoy.
Five. Don’t log every mile on a treadmill
Sometimes when you start running it’s because of a gym membership, but I implore you to get out and hit the actual pavement for a run. I was one of those runners in college who would only use a treadmill, except when I would be running a race. But since I’ve started running longer distances, I’ve discovered that I hate running on a treadmill and would rather run outside any day of the week, even when it’s spitting ice. It’s important to get out and try running outside, even if you love the treadmill.
Six. Push yourself
It’s easy to get comfortable with your effort while running. You go out and hit the pavement or the gym 3 days a week and you always go for 30 minutes at the same pace. While being active is great in and of itself, pushing yourself toward a goal will help keep your running interest intact. Even if it’s just pushing yourself to run an extra interval or running a little faster, you’ll see a difference in yourself and you’ll have a better chance at staying involved in the sport for longer.
Seven. Don’t be afraid to share your progress
Something I learned when I made my serious return to running was that sharing your progress, whether around the water cooler or on social media, keeps you accountable to yourself. When you share how you’re doing, or just give yourself a second to tell others how you’ve made improvements in yourself, it gives you a boost to keep that positive energy going. I’ve found that some people, unbeknownst to them, have given me a little support that I needed in that one moment, and that I can draw on during a really hard run.
Eight. Register for, and run, a race
Even if you’re just starting out, I recommend that you go out and search for a race. 5Ks are normally a good entrance race, and you can find one close to you usually within an 8-week timeframe of when you start looking. Now it’s important that you don’t just sign up for the race, but you actually show up and run it. Even if you end up hating the race (some people do), you’ve put yourself out there to experience something that could even lead you to sign up for longer races, and that could lead to the biggest races of them all.
Nine. Subscribe to a running magazine
I was a little backwards on this account. I subscribed to Runner’s World (my favorite running mag, though there are a few to pick from) before I had even started running. I used it as motivation, and now I use it to keep my interest in the sport and learn more about what is going on in the world of running. I love the recipes and training tips, and the feature articles where I can learn more about runners out there doing amazing things.
Ten. Don’t stop
This is probably the most important of any of these 10. You’re going to have bad days. You’re going to want to never lace up sneakers again. But don’t give into those thoughts. Don’t let those bad days take away from everything you have accomplished. Sometimes things will not go like you planned, but the adversity you’ll face will be more valuable to you than any of the victories. For without failure, we can never grow.