Sunday, July 7, 2013

Beginner Runners

     Have you ever had a conversation with someone about running who hates to run?  I seem to have these conversations all the time, and I am starting to see a trend. I can almost guess with certainty how the conversation will go and what joke will be told at the end. The guys usually tell me that they have not run since high school football practice. Yes, I know the coach made you run a mile to make the varsity team. Yes, I know you hated it and you swore that you would never run again.  This part of the conversation is pretty much standard in Texas.

     From here the conversation goes one of two ways. Either they transition to their glory days in football, and end with how they cannot run due to an old football injury, or they make a joke about how they run only when chased or only when they run to the fridge to get a beer. These conversations typically never result in any further discussion about running, but that's okay.  These guys are not my target audience so I just laugh along and joke back.  Good times. 

     Every once in a while I talk with someone that gives me something to work with. A hook!  "I think I may pick up running.  Maybe I'll run the Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving...” At this point I am having a hard time letting them finish their sentence because I want to interject and scream "DO IT! RUNNING IS AWESOME.  I WILL HELP YOU TRAIN!"  This is my thing you see.  Talking about running, training, losing weight, juicing, triathlons, and sports in general, is what I do best.  
Here are some tips for those people out there that want to start running, but don't know where to start.

     Keep it simple and fun.  There is no need for a $600 GPS watch or heart rate monitor.  Learn some fun and safe routes on MapMyRun, research a few basic stretches, and buys some proper running shoes at your local running store. Most importantly, put an event on the calendar!  This last bit is some of the best advice I ever got about achieving goals.  When I am not working toward a goal I have a tendency to get lazy and sleep late on weekends instead of getting up and running ten miles.  It is amazing how motivating a goal can be.  Recruit a few mates for some friendly competition and BAM!  You're set.

Run/Walk method:  

     Several people I speak with mention they do the walk/run/walk method.  This is great for those who need to build their stamina before running 30 straight minutes, which I think is the first benchmark.  If this strategy relates to you then make sure you have a plan for eventually running continuously by slowly phasing out the walking.  Trust me, you can do it!  I know a lot of people who do the walk/run/walk method and they tell me it helped get them started.  Read this article by Amby Burfoot of Runner's World.  She lays it all out for you and says it much better than I ever could.  Another way to safely transition into running or to increase your distance is to walk at a quick pace for 15 minutes and then run non-stop for duration.  Start off running slowly! So slow that you become impatient, like you are being held back. You will be happy you held back later when you finish strong and with confidence.

     Remember, running is not an easy sport. It actually hurts and can be quite uncomfortable, especially in the beginning.  If it was easy then what would be the point.  Stick with the plan for two weeks and your body will adjust.  I find that Running mirrors life.  The things that are most enjoyable take time and effort to appreciate.  Running in no different.  As a runner, I enjoy a healthy lifestyle filled with continuous challenges.  Just as in life I experience setbacks, but that just makes the victories so much sweeter.

     Please share your personal experiences and tell me how and why you started running. I’d love to hear your story!

     Happy running y'all!