If you are gearing up for your first 5k or half marathon there are a few things that I need to share with you. If I knew these things before I started running it would of made my journey a whole lot easier.
First, let’s talk shoes!
Please please pleeeease get fitted for a proper pair of running shoes, non of these Walmart trainers. Go to a running store and they’ll narrow it down to the right shoe that’s best for you. They’ll analyze your running style and foot strike. To be honest, it is trial and error to find the perfect shoe and that will happen over time but start with a recommendation from a pro. All shoes will feel amazing in the store but the true test is after you’ve run a few miles in them. Use a treadmill, so if the shoes don’t cut it, you can rerun them. Most stores will not return them if worn outdoors. After a few years I’ve figured out that I’m a Saucony girl all the way.
Find a training schedule or join a clinic that fits with your needs and goals. If you’re not new at this running thing but want to train for a race, you can get print one off from google! Most training programs for any distance are 12 weeks long. Read the entire schedule and look at your life and see how this fits in. Plan it, schedule it and get pumped to start. Realistically there WILL be interruptions during this 12 week period. People get sick, other obligations need to fit in too. Life happens! Also, don’t over do it. The training schedule is designed to build your strength and endurance. Trust the training and don’t do more then it suggests or your setting yourself up for injury.
Find a buddy system.
These buddies will be your lifeline. They’ll push you and encourage you, they’ll set their alarms and meet you on those cold early mornings, they’ll hold your water belt when you need to pee. If people are depending on you, you won’t let them down and vise versa. The buddy system saved me during our cold winter training mornings. Accountability is a must!
Let’s talk about chafing, shall we!!!!
Chaffing is a serious pain in the ass…. literally. There is nothing worse then coming home from a run, peeling off your schweddy clothes and stepping into a warm shower and get hit with that sting, it’s like a jelly fish wrapped itself around you and stung you in all the privates. I learned quickly that Vaseline was my best friend. I put that jelly on all my lady bits. I’ve narrowed it down, for me anything over 12k requires Vaseline. The chafe heals quickly but if you keep chafing in the same spot, over time you’ll have a nice red scar. So, Glide or good old fashion Vaseline in all those tender areas. You’ll figure it out 😉
Spend your money on good quality gear. If you buy good quality it will last and you won’t need to replace it for along time Every year I invest in one good peice, I now own a good pair of winter weight leggings, lighter spring fall leggings, one good pair of capris and shorts. I can’t stand clothing that bunches(chafing) or always needing pulling up. You want your clothing to work as it should. My once a year big spending goes to LuLu Lemon for all my leggings. My tops are off the sales racks at the running stores, The GapFit or Joe Fresh here in Canada. Always always get it on sale because I find running clothing is very over priced.
At first you’ll find yourself very tired after your training runs, take a power nap. This tired feeling does go away as your body gets stronger. Listen to your body and rest after each run and be sure to fuel your body with what it needs. I like a nice carb and high protein meal after each run. I’m also 42 years young so naps are a daily business around here.
Lastly, don’t forget to have fun. Running is supposed to be joyful, it’s active meditation, therapy and an amazing calorie burner. It’s not easy out there but once you find your rhythm you’ll feel so good. Just don’t give up, trust your training. You’ll get stronger and most runs will feel amazing. I say that because some really suck but the hard runs are what gets you stronger physically and mostly mentally. You are training your body but always training your mind to tolerate the “pain”.
Your body is capable of amazing things and you are stronger then you think. Your mind will try talk you down and tell you to stop, but just keep going, if only for one more minute. Mind over matter sista.