My Top 5… Running Tips
Getting started in running? Here’s what I really, really wish I had known when I got started! If you’re not new to running, some of these may seem a little ‘duh,’ but a) that’s why they’re my Top 5, because they’re the most basic and important and b) we all need these reminders sometime. I’ll tackle other topics weekly, from base training and endurance riding to trail running—let me know if you have a topic you’d love to see my favorite tips and pieces of advice on! (You can see all the tips here, including the most recent one on nutrition and one on cycling.)
Embrace the Run-Walk
I can’t stress enough that I wish when I started running, I had started with the run-walk. I feel like it’s the fastest, safest way to build up to being a runner and I can’t believe I didn’t do it until this year when I was injured. Start with 30 seconds running, 30 seconds walking, and slowly build from there!
Figure Out Nutrition Early
I wish I had started working on figuring out what my guts liked and disliked much earlier in my running career. Now, I know the few things that I can tolerate (nuun on shorter runs, Tailwind for long runs, Clif Bar chocolate cherry gels if I need something a little more hefty), but it took me ages to figure that out. I wish I’d started training my gut at shorter distances, so when I started going longer and longer, I was more prepared.
Find Your Crew
I love running solo, and do most of my runs alone. But… I’ve been so happy to find new, rad women to run with up here in Collingwood. The running community is super cool and I highly recommend finding people who you enjoy running with, at least for the occasional run. It really does make you faster! (Don’t know any runners? Ask at your local run shop for any meetups, or scour instagram and strava for local runners—that’s how I found my crew!)
Your Feet Will Be Gross
Invest in shoes that work with YOUR feet, not just ones your friends recommend. And expect that blisters and dry skin and black toenails are going to happen. You can try to mitigate this risk with better socks (I love CEP’s ankle compression socks) but honestly, you’re still likely going to have to deal with your feet being gross. Accept this early, and you’ll be much happier. (Here are a few tips on how to deal with blisters and other issues)
Shorts with Briefs. Try It.
As a latecomer to athletics, I did NOT understand running shorts. Case in point, my first marathon:
Layers included: sports bra, tank top, henley (all non-athletic, cheap cotton); underwear, bike shorts (no chamois, just $6 Walmart cotton shorts because I read chafing was a thing) and to top it off, VA Beach pink cotton shorts that I bought at a gift shop the day before because I soaked my Soffee gym shorts in the shower by accident and they wouldn’t dry in time. And yes, old lady shoes, cotton socks and a bandana. And that was me after 2 years as a runner. NO ONE TOLD ME.
Seriously, if you haven’t yet switched to shorts with a built-in brief, get on it. (I also still wear tights with underwear in cold weather, though.) These UnderArmour ones are cheap and I’ve really liked them, but I also love Tracksmith’s Session Shorts and lululemon’s speed up short.
(I also love the tshirt for my running crew, our early af run club tank top!)
Bonus tip: Running is, admittedly, really hard—especially at first. Once you get through the initial ‘ughhhh’ stage, though, find what makes it fun for you. Maybe that’s running with a friend, maybe it’s hitting the trails and going long, maybe it’s a hard AF track workout. Try a bunch of different types of running and find what makes you feel the best. Running is only great if you’re having a good time! (I mean, it’s still going to be hard… but it can be a fun kind of hard, not a ‘I hate my life’ kind of hard. I promise.)
Let me know in the comments—what are your top tips for new runners?