The thing I love most about running is its simplicity. Kids start running soon after they begin walking whether they realize it or not. Walking was taught to them by their parents, but after rolling over and taking their first step, no one then prompts them to then run. As simple and inherent as running is, its not necessarily easy, especially if you’re starting from scratch for health and exercise. I talk to new runners every day and encourage them to “just get out there and do it,” but without any direction or guidelines it can seem almost impossible to get started. With these 5 things that Every Runner Should Have, running will seem a little less scary for the first timers and even more enjoyable those who have been doing it since they learned to walk.
I want to get back into triathlons, but every time I start asking questions I get so overwhelmed by the information I get and the steps and gear I’d need before even showing up. I recently posted on a Facebook group that I was interested in training with a local triathlon team or club thinking that someone would be like “hey, we meet on Wednesdays come join us,” but apparently I was naive. People were messaging me back like crazy asking all about how comfortable I was on a bike and about my swimming ability. I responded with a modest, yet honest answer again thinking they’d tell me there’s something for every level of experience (like in all running groups I’ve been to), but instead I was informed that I would first need to take lessons and then to get in a club, I’d have to know someone who could vouch for me and then be extensively interviewed. K, thanks. I’ll pass.
Running can certainly be made this complicated, but it’s not as easy to do so because everyone has such easy access to it. And while it doesn’t need to be made into a big deal, there are things that go into it that help to make it more comfortable and enjoyable. Being prepared and having the right support and supplies will simply make any runner more confident.
I know- of course I need shoes, but I’m not talking about any old pair that you’ve had since high school or even some new ones that you got for $45 at a discount store. I also beg people not to just walk into a store and grab a pair of shoes off the shelf based on color or looks. It’s really important to know your gait and the type of shoe you’re buying before committing to wear them for 300-600 miles. Shoes can help, but the wrong ones also possess the power to hurt you. Sometimes it’s best to splurge on a really good pair of running shoes so that you can enjoy your progress instead of being worried about your feet.
Click here for a guide on how to find the best shoes based on your foot shape, gait, need, and milage.
Having a plan in running can mean a lot of different things. For some, it could be as loose to say that “I’m going to run at least once a week,” but for others it could mean hiring a running coach or sitting down to build your weekly training plan. Whatever it is, having a plan will give you both confidence and accountability. It also comes with a lot of flexibility so if it is too hard or too relaxed, just remember that it’s fluid and can always be adjusted. Don’t stop running all together just because you don’t have time to do it every day!
Running with other people is usually the best case scenario. I’m a big believer in the community aspect of running because not only do others keep you accountable, but they also make it a lot more enjoyable. Every runner can look back on a time that they felt scared, uncomfortable, or awkward before a race. Unless you have really awkward running friends, having someone there to warm up with and chat with will make everything a lot more comfortable.
For some of you you’re like nooo pump the breaks, I’m just starting out! I don’t want to data collect anything, but this is a general term for just saying you need something to track your miles! There are so many great options for doing this these days. Of course you could go with the old fashioned mile markers, but you’re not always going to be on a well market greenbelt. Wearing a Garmin watch or running with the Nike App is a good way to monitor your pace and distance, but they are also great for keeping up with your mileage week to week or even for the month or year.
This last thing isn’t absolutely necessary, but ask any runner out there and they’d most likely suggest that the better gear you have, the more comfortable your runs are going to be. Take winter running for example, if you don’t have the right apparel to keep you warm, you’re flat out not going go outside or you’ll try it once and never do it again. You also need to think about safety beginning in the fall when the days are shorter. In the summer if your planning on rocking your sports bra and shorty shorts you’re probably going to want to invest in a bra that doesn’t become see through with sweat and show your… you get the idea.
There’s a lot more things that can supplement your running such as water bottles, orthotics for your shoes, recovery tools, ways to carry your phone for music, nutrition, the list goes on, but save that for another post on another day.
When did you first start running? And what’s the first thing you got or did?
What’s your best advice for a new runner?
Have you ever helped someone start running?