Friday, December 31, 2010

So You Wanna Run, eh?

Ah, it's the start of a new year. I think many new year resolutions focus on getting into shape. The gyms are packed because everyone is gung ho on their new adventure. Some will change their diet, while others will weight train, some will take yoga classes, and some will start running. This is a running blog, so let's talk about running. So you wanna start running huh?

How do you start running?
Whether you're a newbie runner, or an ex-runner trying to get back into the game, you will need to take it slow. I used to HATE running with the passion. I was never good at it. I was never able to run more than 2 minutes at a time. And by the time those 2 minutes were up I would be huffing and puffing like crazy. You see, no one ever taught me how to run. I was under the impression that you just went out and did it. I assumed that some were just born to run. But boy was I wrong.

A friend told me about this running program for newbies. It's called Couch to 5k, and I HIGHLY recommend it. HIGHLY. I witnessed how much weight he was losing, and how long he was able to run. Being overweight myself, I finally gave it a whirl. I started running back in July of 2010. It starts off slow so you get used to the activity. After completing the program, you will be amazed at how far and how long you are able to run. I'd love to hear how the program worked for you.

When do you run?
This depends on your schedule. Are you a morning person, or an evening person? I decided that what worked out for me was running in the morning. For me, that sets the rest of my day. By the time I get home from work I am MUCH too busy and tired to do anything else. In the morning, I literally roll out of bed, change into some old shorts and a t-shirt, and go on my run.
Where do you run?
Are you a gym rat or a homebody? Do you prefer to run inside or outside? This also depends on when you schedule your runs. I used to be a gym rat, but the gyms aren't open when I run. And I realized that I enjoy running outside, so outside it is. Now, I do have a treadmill at home. I purchased it because I knew I wouldn't be able to run outside in the rain. Well, I prefer not to. But if you're into that, by all means, GO FOR IT!

Do I need to buy special running shoes?
This is a tough one for me because I am a minimalist shoe runner. I also run barefoot in my neighborhood. I know! It sounds crazy. But I'm not the only one doing this. I had a friend who ran for years. Well, until the pain was too much to handle. Many shod runners (runners who wear running shoes) experience lower back pain, aching knees and shin splints. I thought running was supposed to be fun, so I didn't want to experience those symptoms. From the beginning I decided that I was not going to wear running shoes, and it's been a blast for me.

Now there are some shod runners who do not experience these aches and pains. They have learned to run in shoes without doing a heel strike. One form is called The Pose Method. Another one is called Chi Running. I have not read either of these books yet, but have read blogs about those who have used these techniques. I did read the book Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. It does not focus on technique, but is an interesting book about running.

So if you're going to be a shod runner, I suggest you to go to a running specialty store such as Road Runner Sports or Fleet Feet and get properly fitted for shoes. Here's a post from Coyote Running in southern California regarding getting fitted for shoes.

What other gear do I need?
You'll have to play with this one. Some just go out and run without any gear. Running is a pretty minimalist activity. Me? Well I enjoy listening to music, so I went to WalMart and bought an arm band to hold my iPhone, and a set of headphones that wrapped around my ears. I also downloaded Robert Ullrey's podcasts. He tells you when to walk and when to run. It's like having a running coach right there with you.

What if I feel like quitting?
Think of why you started running in the first place. What was your motivation?
  • To lose those donut rolls off your waist. 
  • To improve your health. 
  • Increase activity in your life.
  • To build endurance.
  • To run a marathon.
We invest so much time in other aspects of our lives that we forget to take care of the most important thing we own, our own bodies. What helped me was writing a blog to journal my progress. I told my friends and family about it. I signed up for twitter and dailymile to connect with others. And I read blogs from other runners. I put myself out there so I would be held accountable for my actions. There is a lot of support in the running world. It does get easier as you incorporate running into your life as a daily activity such as brushing your teeth, taking a shower, eating breakfast and so forth.

Running is FUN! It's liberating! It's addicting! Our bodies are awesome machines. And when you run that first race, you'll finally understand what I mean. I still consider myself a newbie runner, but if you have any questions I'll try my best to assist.

For more motivation and tips, visit RunAddicts.

Happy running!


  1. great post, Mel! I'm an advocate of ChiRunning =)

  2. Great post! Glad to "meet" another blogger through the Run Addicts project!
    Meggie (

  3. @Julie - Yes, I want to learn more about ChiRunning. My reading list is so long, as well as all the cross training workouts I want to try. But it keeps things fresh and fun.

    @Meggie - Yes, great to 'meet' you too. Like you, I used to hate running. Now it's a huge part of my life. I added you to my RSS feed so I can stay up to date on your runs.


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