Why We Run
Most runners have a "why" for their running. Many runners start running with the hopes of improving their health both mentally and physically. Running is a fairly easy sport to get into because you don't need any special equipment and you can do it anywhere. You can also run alone or with others. Running is great because its a way to get you outside exploring nature while improving your cardiovascular and aerobic fitness. If done right running is an activity that you can do for a lifetime. Here are some reasons we love to run:
Running Keeps Us Healthy: Running can help improve our overall health including larger lung capacity, improved cholesterol levels, and increased energy levels.
Stress Relief: Running is great for stress relief. Running is a time that you can have to yourself. People get stress relief from running in different ways. Some people like to use their run as a time to process their emotions and thoughts, which can put them more at peace. Others like to completely clear their mind of thoughts and maybe tune in to a podcast or some music to relax on their run.
Meeting New Friends: There's no community quite like the running community. Runners are very supportive of each other and each other's fitness goals. Just go to a race and see the enthusiasm of everyone there. Heading to a race or a run club is a good way to meet other people with similar likes and interests.
For the Pure Joy: Call it runner's high, call it a rush of endorphins, whatever you call it running can bring us a sensation of pure and utter joy. It always feels great to finish a hard workout and it leaves you feeling happy and accomplished.
Types of Running
There are different types of running that you can choose from when you first start. From the roads to the trails you're bound to find a type of running you like.
Road Running: With millions of race participants across the globe each year, road running is one of the most popular forms of running. Road running is simple because you can simple lace up and head out the door. Road running typically has you running on asphalt or concrete which are both hard surfaces but have a high level of impact on your body.
Trail Running: Trail running is a form of running that is done in the great outdoors! Trail runs are typically done on hiking trails which typically have uneven surfaces. These trails typically are more technical than running on the roads with a good amount of elevation gain and obstacles. Trails are typically softer surfaces to run on which leads to less pounding on your body, but with the obstacles and uneven surfaces trail runners needs to be balanced and aware of their footing.
Track Running: A standard track is 400m around. Track events include shorter events such as the 100m, 200m, and 400m sprints, and also includes longer distanced events including the 5k and 10k. The track is a great place to do speed workouts once you're ready to pick up your pace.
Treadmill Running: The treadmill is a great alternative to run outside. Sometimes getting outside for your run can be hard depending on the season. You can utilize the treadmill if the weather is dangerous (e.g. slick icy trails, thunderstorms). The treadmill can also be used to familiarize yourself with how paces should feel because they are programmed to turn at whatever pace you have set them to.
How to Get Started
Are you new to running? Looking for tips to get started? Look no further! These running tips will help you get started on your running journey.
Start with the Run/Walk Method: Everyone can be a runner it just takes time to build up. Most people can't just walk out the door and run a 10k. The best way to start without getting to overwhelmed is the run/walk method. The run walk method is a program where you combine intervals of running with intervals of walking. This is a good way to build up endurance over time at a manageable intensity.
Progress Slow and Steady: When you start to feel comfortable running for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, then you're ready to step up your training. This can mean a multitude of things, it could mean increasing the time of your workouts or increasing the number of runs you're doing each week. It is easy to progress too quickly though which could quickly lead to injury or burnout. Its best to increase in little increments at a time. Maybe instead of running 2 miles, you could increase it to 3 miles or try running 4 days a week instead of 3 days a week. Try to stick to one variable change at a time though, changing too many variables in your training could lead to injury as well.
Set a Goal to Fuel Motivation: Setting a reasonable and tangible could help fuel your motivation. A good example of a goal is to pick a race that you want to train for or aim to be able to run a certain number of miles by a set date. Your goal should be specific and measurable, goals that are quantifiable give us an exact target to aim for. Try not to set vague goals like "I want to be healthier" because you can't measure your success which can lead to a decline in motivation overtime.
Don't Give Up!: When you start to feel like you don't want to do this anymore or that you're not getting anywhere think back to why you started running. Really focus on your "why." Did you start running because you want to feel healthy? Do you like getting outside and getting some fresh air? Does running make you feel stronger? Whatever your "why" is focus on it and keep going. You'll feel a lot better after finishing your workout even if you wanted to quit in the middle of it.
Don't Forget Your Warm Up: Heading out for a run can be the best part in our days, but a proper warm up is equally as important as our run. Running full speed on cold muscles is a great way to get injured. If you start out to fast without warming up you muscles you're putting yourself at risk for tweaked joints, pulled muscles, or something even more serious. A proper warm up should be completed no more than 15 minutes before your actual workout. Warm ups can be composed of jogging, walking, strides, and/or dynamic stretches (leg swings or walking lunges)
Don't Race All Your Workouts: Racing all your workouts will only leave you feeling constantly fatigued. Running as fast as your body can go all the time doesn't give your body enough recovery time between each run, especially if you're running almost every day. Easy paced runs are much less stressful on your body than hard efforts but still allow you to get in mileage. Easy runs help develop the cardiovascular system which is very important for the sport of endurance running. The general rule of thumb is to key 80% of your mileage easy. The key takeaway should be keep your easy runs easy!
Implement Strength Training: Strength training can benefit runners of all skill levels. Strength training can make you a stronger and faster runner. Adding strength training into your routine can improve running efficiency, improve existing muscle imbalances or weaknesses, help maintain lean muscle mass, and reduce risk of injury.
Just Get Out the Door!: The biggest step of getting started is simply lacing up and getting out the door! Don't compare yourself to other runners when you're first getting started. the best thing you can do is just start running and doing your own thing. Once you get yourself out the door that first time you can get into a routine and make it a part of your daily life.
Beginner's Guide to Running Gear
The most important thing when it comes to tops is that they wick sweat away quickly and that they are light weight. Tops that are too bulky or large can be difficult or uncomfortable to maneuver in. For warmer weather it's good to have singlets, tank tops, crop tops, and t-shirts on hand and in colder weather its good to have long-sleeved shirts and at least one warm and thick base layer for the really cold months.
Thick Base Layer:
Splurge Base Layer:
Budget Base Layer:
With bottoms I prefer either shorts or tights (I hate capris). In the winter having a nice pair of thermal running tights will get you through the coldest days. For cool, but not frigid weather I prefer a pair thinner tights, and for anything over 45 degrees F its all about shorts.
Proper outerwear is crucial during the cold winter months, but is also necessary during milder Spring and Fall as well. Good Outerwear for running is lightweight and breathable but still protects you from the wind, rain, and anything else the weather may throw at you.
Fall/Spring Outerwear: These jackets would be good on a crisp Fall day. Best for cool, but not cold temperatures (30 to 40 degrees F).
Winter Outerwear: These jackets are fleecy and warm and will keep you warm when the weather dips into the 20's or even into the signal digits.
Investing in a couple pairs of good socks will save your feet in the long run. Socks that are too thin or don't have enough cushioning can lead to some pretty gnarly blisters and lost toe nails. Here are a couple of my favorite socks.
As a women a a good sports bra is a must, some women prefer lighter support bras, while others need a more supportive sports bra. I personally prefer light to medium support bras. Here a a couple of my favorite bras.
There are so many different types of running shoes available in the market now. Everyone has different preferences in shoes. Instead of recommending different brands of shoe's, we'll go over the 2 main types of shoes available on store shelves today.
Convention Shoes: Conventional shoes are geared towards runners that heel strike. Conventional running shoes have a good amount of cushioning (EVA foam) and provides arch support. Most conventional running shoes have substantial heel padding, a large heel to toe drop, are relatively rigid, and tend to be on the heavier side.
Minimalist Shoes: Minimalist shoes tend to have little heel padding, a smaller heel to toe drop, and minimal arch support. Minimalist shoes also tend to be more flexible than a conventional shoe and be more lightweight. Most track and cross-country racing flats are considered to be minimalist in design.
When trying to find a shoe its best that you head to your local running shop and try on a couple different pairs before making a purchase. Going to the running store lets you try on the shoe before you buy, and most of the time the store will let you take them for a test run. The people working at your local running store will also be very knowledgeable when it comes to all things running and can help you figure out what kind of shoe will be best for you. Its better to pick a shoe that is comfortable when you first purchase it rather than trying to "break in" your shoes.
There is so much running gear out there it can be overwhelming when you're first getting started. From shoes to shirts, there is all sorts of different gear out there. Here's a guide to get you started on gear if you have no idea where to start.
The clothes you need will vary as the seasons change. Its good to be well prepared for whatever the weather has in store for you whether it be a sunny 90 degree day or a snowy 20 degree day. Here are some options for running clothes that I recommend for filling up you workout wardrobe. I'll be listing both a pricier splurge option and a more affordable option for everything.
Running is supposed to be a simple sport right? Or maybe not anymore... Asides from clothing there are plenty of accessories that come with running now. The longer you run, the deeper you fall into the pit of running accessories. These running accessories can make your runs more comfortable or can help you get faster.
Hydration systems will save you on a hot day or power you through a hard long run. Hydration systems come in all different shapes and sizes now. The main types are handheld bottles, hydration packs, and hydration belts.
Handheld systems are the most affordable way to carry your hydration. These bottles can easily strap onto your hand when you're heading out the door. Although holding a bottle can make you feel unbalanced and may feel heavy.
Vest and backpack are the most convenient way to carry you hydration. They work just like a backpack and are typically designed to minimize any bouncing. These are great for long runs or trail runs
Belts are good for shorter runs. They typically hold less water, but are a little lighter than a vest or a pack. These are good for shorter runs on hot days.