Are you a new runner? or are you just getting back into the swing of things after a long hiatus? When you’re building your fitness, running fast and far can seem impossible! Your legs feel like lead, your lungs are burning, and all you want to do is give up and go home. Use these top ten tips to keep you motivated and you’ll be on track in no time.
In no particular order:
1. Partner up and find a running group
Running with others is a huge motivator! They will keep you accountable when you’re scheduled to do a difficult workout on an early morning like a long run or speed work. Because no one wants to leave someone hanging, you’ll make sure to show up and choose not to sleep in. I can’t tell you how many times this alone made me get up and out the door.
I was so groggy when I woke up at 6:30 that Saturday morning. But knowing I had my running group to meet for a long run and mimosas afterwards made it easier to stick with the plan. I did not regret it!
-They make you work harder than you would have on your own.
-They will inspire you to dream big and challenge your limits. (I’m running my first full marathon with them in February)
Finding the right shoes isn’t easy but boy does it make a world of difference. One of my running buddies suffered many shin splints and all the frustration and doubt that comes with getting injured constantly until she found the right shoes. She is now running with minimal support shoes that have less cushioning and has never felt better. Even though I run in these type of shoes too, we all need different things.
– Do not think that shoe X will work for you automatically if it works for Awesome athlete B, Blogger Renee or Sally, or your favorite celebrity. You have a uniquely shaped foot. So saddle up Cinderella and start trying on
slippers running shoes till you find the right ones.
-Stores & Online companies usually have a return policy of 10-30 days so you can return them if they’re just not right after testing them. Find out what their policy is before you make a purchase. Local running stores are usually best, because most will let you take them for a run near the shop.
Remember to take your time! Running in the wrong shoes can cause:
- Injuries in the short and long term. Is it worth it to be sidelined? Ask yourself this question before you impulse buy.
- Damage to your confidence. Shoes can make the difference between a great feeling, fast run and a sluggish pain inducing one. Having the wrong pair can make you feel doubtful about your abilities, and you don’t want to give up newbie! You have so much to look forward to!!!
- Rage and can make you a hazard to loved ones and strangers. Ever meet a grumpy person on the street that lashed out for no apparent reason? Get hit on the head by some rock out of nowhere? It was probably a disgruntled runner. Angry at the world for messing with his run mojo. Frustrated about his shoe-dilemma. For the safety of society, FIND THE RIGHT SHOES! We thank you for listening to our pleas
3. Don’t Compare yourself with others. Instead, let them inspire you.You right there! Stop feeling bad about your running skillz every time you read that a Superhuman blogger (like skinnyrunner.com just ran two back to back Marathons with an average pace of the speed of sound. We all start somewhere. And they did too. Pay attention to their training. Most runners work at it long and hard to improve and see those results. You’ll notice that they put in the miles consistently. That is where the magic happens and you can do this too! Be inspired not discouraged! We’re not all equals when it comes to talent, but we all have the same ability to train consistently. Determination is free!! Find yours and get started on your running journey.
There are so many resources you can use for free thanks to the internet and smart phone technologies! Be smart and USE them to improve. Here are a few ideas:
Nike + App- found on both android and iphone platforms. It tracks your route, pace, distance, and TALKS TO YOU during the run! I have a Garmin running watch but I will still run with my Nike + app sometimes because I like the audio reminders it gives me. I have it set up so that it tells me my pace and the distance run every .25 miles during my music. You can adjust it to suit your needs, but I feel that this setup keeps me on pace the best. You can also set it up with facebook to get cheers from your friends online during runs. How’s that for motivation? Did I mention it’s free!?
McMillan Running Calculator- Ever wondered what your pace should be during a 5k versus a half marathon? want to know if you’re running too fast during long runs or recovery days?This user friendly calculator takes out the guess work and makes sure you’re not over or under training. Maybe you feel sluggish and burned out because you’re running every day at the same pace. If you feel burned out or like your fitness isn’t progressing, go here for a quick reality check. With a few tweaks you can feel energized and hopeful once more.
Blogs- Read them They are a great source of inspiration and information straight from the
horses runners mouth. Learn from both their mistakes and from their triumphs. The advantage- bloggers will apply what they learned from magazines, articles,and other people then hash out in great detail how it went in real life. This is a huge benefit. Ever wondered if that new running skirt is practical during a race? google “Name of skirt Review” and I guarantee that some blogger out there has written about it. And they’ll tell you the honest truth.
RunningMusicMix- Studies show that running to music with a certain amount of BPM (beats per minute) can help you run faster. This website takes the guesswork out of it by providing a list of songs with certain BPMs and pre-made playlists if you just need help with finding good tunes.
5. Find a plan. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Get a training plan STAT. Do not blindly go where every other newbie runner has regrettably gone. Running without a training plan can leave you feeling lost and without focus. Plans are great for monitoring progress, something that is very important as a newbie runner/ hell any runner really. We all need to see that we are going somewhere.
Try Couch to 5k, Hal Higdon, or Jeff Galloway to name a few. They all offer different approaches but the benefits are the same. They offer measurable ways to improve as a runner. You’ll start off slow and increase your mileage every week until you reach the end and can move on to more advanced training.
Find a plan! Do it now!!! You’ll enjoy reaching the training milestones
6. Stop being so hard on yourself.
We’re all guilty of it. Whenever I’m upset because I didn’t PR, didn’t PR big enough, missed a workout, don’t see immediate results, etc. I take a step back and remember how far I’ve come. I take another moment to reflect and remember that not everyone can do what I’m capable of doing right now. Sometimes you have to offer yourself support. You’re stronger than you thought you were in the past. And there’s room to keep growing.
Give yourself a break from all the negative thoughts and self-doubt!!!
7. Do you have a Pulse? Check it!
Focus on progress. I think I’ve said that already but it’s important! And another great way to do this is to monitor your heart rate during exercise. Not only will it help you see improvements in your cardiovascular fitness, it will also help you to train smart and safely. You want to train in a heart rate zone that is below your max and ideally categorized as moderate. Not too easy yet not too hard for the most benefits. This varies from person to person.
Google for more info or check this website out for a quick rundown on why it’s important: http://www.thewalkingsite.com/thr.html
How to check your heart rate? Use your gym’s treadmill metal handles or for best results purchase your own heart rate monitor watch at your local target or amazon.com for example. They sell advanced versions like the Polar brand watch, Garmin, or even the basic features models that’ll cost about $20. Either is fine. It comes down to preference, but any monitor is better than not having one at all.
8. Keep a running log.
That whole progress thing again. Yup. It helps I swear! tracking your runs in a journal/notebook helps to see what’s working and what not. Make sure to write down how it felt to run that day. Were you tired? was it hot? did you feel thirsty? Did that gel help? This is YOUR log so track the details that will help you train better in the future.
If you don’t want to figure out how to set up your training journal or just want a beautiful place to jot down your thoughts, check out the Believe I am Journal. I just bought one and really look forward to coming home and writing down my workouts in it. It was 100% designed by two professional runners and it shows. There are lots of neat motivational tools inside.
9. Listen to your body. It’s talking.
If you need a break take it. Do not beat yourself up over this. Our bodies need to rest and newbie runners need to pay extra special attention to the warning signs. Not resting can lead to injuries that leave you on the sidelines for much longer than if you had just listened and stopped running. Feel a twinge in your foot or leg? rest a couple of days and slowly build back up until you feel no pain at all. Your muscles are growing and need time to repair themselves. Give them time and the results will be amazing! you’ll return fresher than ever, ready to take on the world.
During the week, make sure you have at least one or two rest days. And do not follow a long run by doing speedwork the following day (an obvious example but the same goes for doing 5 miles one day and 8 miles the next). The point is to switch it up. Like Runner’s World says “It’s important to back off so you can push hard” in this article about Rest days.
You’ve done a beautiful thing. Yes! you became a runner. That wonderful free spirit of an individual that laces up their shoes and goes out the door to meet the day. That adventurous human that refuses to take the easy way out by sitting on the couch. You’re a runner no matter how slow or how long you’ve been doing it. Remember this!
You were brave enough to start running. And You’re courageous enough to keep going, despite the setbacks and disappointments. Running is hard. If it were easy, you probably wouldn’t be doing it. Celebrate the fact that you have challenged yourself. You deserve it.
Runners in Solidarity,