May 24, 2011

This blog post has been running through my mind all day...

I realize that the only people who will be laughing at the title of this post are myself and the wonderful Sarah Beard, but I am totally okay with that!

I also realize I said I was going to write this post about 2 weeks ago, but it didn't happen... Oops! I checked my stats, so I know there are a good handful of you who are just chomping at the bit to absorb the wealth of knowledge I possess about running. (Ha!) But before I begin, I should remind everyone that I am merely a beginner who is willing to share what I've learned along the way. If you actually want to learn expert things about running you should ask Coach Tim Fritson. Off we go!

Before you begin running...

1. Accept the fact that you will most likely sweat, trip, get rained on, spit, fall, get chased by dogs, blow snot rockets into your shirt, swallow bugs, and be sore.
Once you've come to terms with all of those things, you'll be good to go!

2. Make sure you have comfortable running shoes.
I started out running in my 5-pound New Balance tennies circa 2005. Not only did people in the gym wonder who let the one-woman stampede hop on the treadmill, but it felt like I was wearing a pair of bricks. Lightweight shoes are best.

3. Set a reasonable, but challenging goal.
I have a really busy schedule, so I decided that running 3 times each week would require me to be intentional about managing my time, but give me enough flexibility to actually accomplish my goal. Once you have decided on a commitment, follow through! Don't make excuses or talk yourself out of it. It's going to be hard at first, and you will probably want to resign. But just decide from the get-go that you are not going to be a quitter, and then don't give up!

Once you've walked out the door, or arrived at the gym, or popped in your Skull Candy...

4. Start small.
My good friend Laurie encouraged me to download an app called "Couch to 5K" when she heard that I wanted to start running.

I loved it! It is a 9 week program that slowly builds you up from 90-second spurts of running, to a full 30 minutes.

It seemed silly at first to only run for a minute and a half at a time, but I think this was SUPER beneficial for me to not get discouraged. Because if you are like me, you would probably just hop out your front door one morning and totally expect to be able to run a quick 2-miler no sweat, then get really irritated when you find yourself gasping for air about 3 minutes later.

5. Base your workouts on minutes, not miles.
I didn't ask the expert about this one, so I could be totally off, but I think worrying about mileage should come secondary to practicing endurance. Once you are accustomed to running "x" amount of minutes each day, you can gradually increase your speed, and distance, as well as the amount of time you run.

6. Divide your workout into thirds.
This little tidbit did come directly from the expert, so you can feel safe about following along. Let's say you are going to run 15 minutes today. Your workout should go as follows:
1st 5 mins: a leisurely, feels-kind-of-slow pace
2nd 5 mins: a comfortable, yet picking-up-speed pace
3rd 5 mins: a challenging, go-hard-or-go-home pace
It sounds like it wouldn't really work, but I was surprised to find that I had way more energy at the end of my runs if I completed them in this fashion. The main thing you definitely do not want to do is start off with your fastest pace, then slowly wear yourself down to a crawl. Not good.

Well there you have it! Beginner advice from a beginner runner. And now, because I like to over-share and bore everyone with nitty-gritty details, here are a couple of my personal workout faves:

Favorite jog-inducing jam: Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People (Remix)
Favorite running tool:
Favorite post-run snack: frozen berries and yogurt
Favorite place to run: through whatever yard has their sprinklers on
Your favorite part of this blog post: The End


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