Many people are aware I have an active interest in fitness and maintain a relatively healthy lifestyle; however, few people realize I am a runner. Maybe it’s my Kardashian frame or maybe it’s my un-athletic past that gives me away but I tend to get the “oh really?” look when I try offering my advice.
I consider myself a runner by every standard in the book because of the time, energy and work I put into becoming one. Call it desperation to fit into the elite running club or call it a general interest in becoming a better athlete, either way you spin it – I AM A RUNNER!
The main reason most people don’t realize I’m a runner is because I haven’t always been. In fact, I once faked an asthma attack in high school to get out of running. Turns out they just thought I was terribly out of shape and made me keep running.
As I got older and started incorporating fitness into my life, I took a notice at the runners at my gym and became envious of the shape they were in. Once I started dabbling in the running world, I quickly realized you can make yourself a runner, but it’s a process that few people warn you about.
Looking back I wish I had someone to tell me how to become a better runner before my first half marathon. So, I put together a list of 5 things that will help you become a runner even if the only running you do is to the fridge:
1. Set Multiple Goals
It’s important to realize you will not be able to crank out a marathon on your first run and that’s totally ok. The sooner you realize running is hard work and you need to pace your body, the better off you will be in achieving your goals. Setting goals like “I will run for 5 minutes without stopping,” and “I will run outside for 10 minutes,” will help you become acclimated to the sport and it will give you a better understanding of your body’s capabilities.
2. Invest in Running Shoes
No, your Euro Pumas will not suffice and neither will those flat Converses. Shoes come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and comfort levels for all types of feet. Do some research and find some of the top-rated running shoes like Brooks or Asics. Make a list of those and take them to your nearest athletic shoe store where you can try them on and see how they feel. Having a comfortable pair of shoes to run in will make the difference in achieving those goals you work so hard to set. Having a bad pair of shoes can cause severe injuries and give running a bad name.
3. Run Indoors and Outdoors
No matter where you live, the weather won’t always be nice enough to run outdoors or the time of day won’t lend itself to that (at least not if you’re female). Become familiar with running on a treadmill, but don’t get stuck on the unrealistic trail it provides. Running on a treadmill with zero percent incline is actually equal to running downhill. If you run inside, put the treadmill on a 1-2 percent incline and take off some speed if you need to. Once you feel good about your pace, you can always adjust the speed and utilize the treadmill to work on becoming faster.
Once you feel comfortable here, hit the trails around your neighborhood. The weather conditions outside can cause a lot of changes in the way you run. The air might be more humid causing you to be unable to breathe as clearly or the natural curves of the trail may be like running at a 5 percent incline. In either scenario, be sure you are comfortable if you had to run in either but don’t get stuck.
No one is too cool to stretch. In fact, avoiding the task is the most uncool thing you can do to your body before or after a run. I’ll say it again, running is hard and your body needs to be prepped for it and cared for after it. Take 5 minutes to stretch your legs and back before you start your warm up. Accordingly, when you complete your run, take another 5-10 to slowly stretch your worked muscles. It feels amazing after pounding on the cement and your body will be very grateful you helped it avoid an injury.
5. Own Your Pace
Before we ran together, a friend of mine was so worried she was too slow for me. Turns out, our paces were perfect for each other so I guess inadvertently she was calling me a slow poke, too. Either way, set a pace that works for you. There will always be someone faster than you when you’re starting out but there will also be those slower than you, or even walking. Don’t get hung up on what others think about the way you run and also, don’t judge others and their habits. Set a good pace that is comfortable to complete your runs and own it. Shout it off the roof tops if you feel like it! Well, maybe not to upset the neighbors, but don’t be embarrassed about it, ever. You’re running and that is plenty to be proud of.
It’s not rocket science but these were things I became more aware of after I made a few mistakes. Like most kids listening to a lecturing parent, I’m sure there will be a couple of you who rebel and sprint your first day without stretching all while laughing at the walkers, but hopefully karma will bite you in your quad.
These may seem straightforward and common sense to you now, but when you start second guessing yourself, refer back to them to give you a confidence boost.
Remember, you are runner, you are awesome!