Running is one of my favorite ways to stay active. You can do it inside or out. Alone or with friends. And you can even do it year-round. But it can be a little intimidating if you’ve never tried before.
Here are my top 3 tips to get started in the sport of running.
- Get fitted for running shoes. I’ve heard it said that running is one of the cheapest sports to get started in because you can do it with what you have. But I highly recommend you go to a specialized running store and get fitted with proper running shoes. This will likely cost you at least $100, but will save you in injury time and pain down the road. And once you know what shoe and size fits you best, you can find cheaper options online. In St Louis, I love Big River Running! They are highly trained in finding the right shoe for you based on how many miles you run a week, what surfaces you run on, and what injuries you’ve experienced in the past. Look local and they will likely have group runs and other educational opportunities.
- Start slow. It can be tempting to jump right in and push yourself as hard as you can the first day. Resist this urge. This is the quickest way to injure yourself and/or cause shin splints. Depending on your existing fitness level, your starting point can vary, but I would recommend 30 minutes of walk/run for your first workout. The Couch to 5k program is an excellent training program for individuals just starting to run. It leads you through run/walk workouts that slowly extend the run periods to where you are completely running by the end of the program. You should never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%.
- Join a running group. I started running with two friends from work. We decided to train for an upcoming 5k to stay active during busy season at our public accounting firm. You can’t beat the accountability of running with friends. They are going to make sure that you show up when you schedule runs and follow up if you miss a run. I’ve since joined Big River Running’s Training Team, which is a group that trains for half and full marathons, focused on races in April and October. We meet weekly on Sundays for 12 weeks leading up to each race. I’ve become great friends with many of the people in these groups and meet regularly during “off-season” and at various races around town. You can look for local groups on Facebook (check out “Moms Run This Town” or just search <city> running groups) and at your local running store.
What additional tips do you have for someone starting their running journey?