Friday, May 2, 2008

Running Advice - Getting Started

It's come to my attention that many of my readers are actually interested in running half and full marathons. Some have done one in the past, and some haven't.

I'm not an elite runner. I'm always pleased that I'm usually closer to the front than the back at most races, but I'm still not winning awards or anything. However, I have completed 3 full marathons, 5 half marathons and a handful of 10-milers and 5K's. I'm still learning a lot about running and trying to improve with each new race. So I want to make sure I take some time to not only tell you about my running, but also to share some of the things I learn that you might be able to use for your running.

Thus, the first post containing some so-called Running Advice.

If you're a beginner or a former runner who's wanting to get back into it, I strongly encourage you to check out the May issue of Runner's World. They have a really awesome section for such people this month. For current runners, I also really enjoyed reading everything about the Boston marathon and women's Olympic Trials. You don't have to subscribe to this magazine to call yourself a runner, but I read it every month and think it has some great tips for runners of all levels. The website also has some great tools to help you with training.

If you're going after a full marathon, I also recommend Marathon Guide. This website lists practically every marathon around so that you can find one in your area or during the time of year you want to run, etc. There are also some great tools like running logs and message boards to communicate with other runners.

I also recommend checking to see if your home has a local running group. For those of you in Nashville, check out Nashville Striders. If you need to find local support, these clubs are great to join. I haven't chosen to join the one here at this time because I like running places they don't usually run. But if you join these groups, you can attend group training runs and get tips and support from your fellow runners. If you can't find a group or aren't satisfied with what it offers, you can always ask around and try to find a running partner. Believe me... long runs are easier with a friend. If all else fails, go to the park and see if anyone runs about your pace. Run along nearby so that they figure out you run about the same pace. Strike up a chat about running and ask if they're training for anything. Some people like to run alone, but you never know when you might find someone who'd like a training buddy. Please Note: For any male readers out there, I don't recommend you try this with a woman. You never know when she might be a black belt or have a can of mace tucked in her sports bra or fuel belt.

Gear: Make sure you have good shoes. Everything else isn't really important. I like going to running stores like Fleet Feet where they have people who watch you run and make sure you leave in a shoe suited for your foot. My foot is long and narrow, so I wear Brooks since they cater to that. I also recommend getting your clothing at a running store. Buy things that are dry-wicking. Buy stuff that is comfortable. I'm a Brooks girl through and through, so I buy these shorts.

Having good socks and a good sports bra are pretty important. Ask someone at the running store for help. They know what they're doing.

The best thing to remember as you pick a race is to set small goals. If you're going after a half, remember that it's ok if you can only run a half a mile right now. You'll get there. Find yourself a training plan on the Runner's World website and stick to it the best you can. Make sure you take time to rest. I only run about 3 days a week myself. I ran 4 days a week when I ran Nashville in 4:53 and when I cut down to 3 days I ran 4:31. Resting is important!

I'll be making occasional running advice posts. Please let me know if there's anything you'd like to know about or if you have any questions.

Happy running!


smc said...

I dreamed last night that I ran a half-marathon with you and your mom. I did not have the proper running attire. And I kept repeating "I've never ran more than 8 miles in my life!"

Miss you!

Rachel said...

I love the posts and the advice. It's great. Cute shorts, and I've never tried them. I'm definitely going to have to get a pair. And I love reading Runner's World Every month. It is very motivational to keep going and keep training.

Jackie said...

This was the perfect post for me to read! I can't remember if I have left a comment here before, but I have been wanting to run a 5k for like a year, and always end up giving up after like 2 weeks of training because I don't seem to get quicker or less out of breath (very technical terms, I know). I can run a mile, but I feel like that's where I top out! I will look into your suggested readings to hopefully find out what to do :)