Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Tips for Newbie Runners From Someone Who Used to Be One

If you’ve been saying you want to start leading a more active lifestyle and you think running might work for you as a good form of exercise, this post is for you! ☺ 

I was a reluctant runner in the past, you know. But once I decided that I needed to do this for wellness and my children’s sakes, I never had regrets that I shouldn’t have started running in the first place.

a shot from one of our practice runs
I’m writing this post to encourage friends and new acquaintances to pursue running because it’s one of the cheapest forms of exercise (unless you register in actual races) that do not require a gym membership. Here’s sharing five things I did as a newbie runner more than two years ago:

1. Identify the reasons why you want to run. Here are mine:
  • to keep myself as fit as possible so I don’t easily get tired; I no longer go huffing and puffing when I climb long flights of stairs and I am now very confident to walk long distances (think middle of the Skyway to Magallanes or Ayala – I’ve done that!) when I get stuck in heavy traffic for more than an hour or two
  • to maintain my current body size because I don’t want to spend for a whole new wardrobe if I get bigger
  • most importantly, to stay healthy so I would be around longer for my children, especially since my third son has special needs
Keeping your goals in mind will always motivate you to keep on pushing yourself to suit up and run.

pain, train, push, sweat, fuel, and finish!
2. Assemble your running gear but, as a newbie runner, I'd discourage you against taking too much time (and stressing yourself finding the "perfect" gear) shopping for expensive stuff so you don't get turned off from taking that first step. You just need the basics. During my early months as a runner, I made do with these items: 
  • singlets from my hubby’s past races or dri-fit shirts that help sweat evaporate faster
  • running shorts or ¾ compression pants – my first one I bought for less than P500 in the sports section of a department store
  • running shoes and comfortable socks – I bought my first pair of running shoes from a sale rack at 50% off and they’re comfy on my feet
  • cap or sweatband to prevent sweat dripping down to my eyes
  • hair tie or scrunchie to keep sweaty long hair from whipping my face and irritating my neck and shoulders while on the go
  • belt bag to hold my phone (with a running app and music player) and earphones, sometimes money in case I get really thirsty and need to drop by a convenience store along our running route; my hubby uses a phone armband instead
my running stats in Nov 2015 vs. stats in Nov 2016
3. Download a running app. This will help you track your progress and can be another source of motivation. For instance, back in 2014, my average pace was around 11 minutes per kilometer. These days, I average 8 to 10 min/km, indicating an improvement in my run-walk intervals.

I used Runtastic (my review, here) for about a year and a half until a runner friend recommended Nike+ Run Club (review coming up), which I’m now using because it has features I like better. Another great thing about having a running app is getting a log of all your runs. As of this writing, my Nike+ app's records say I've ran 330.9 km since January 2016. Having that knowledge inspires me to add more kilometers    

with my running coach (a.k.a. hubby hahaha) during one of our practice runs 
4. Create a running playlist. Based on personal experience, upbeat music helps pump up my adrenalin especially when they are favorites and familiar songs my mind can silently sing along to. 

For one and a half years, I constantly listened to one playlist during practice runs and actual races. The first month, I wouldn’t be able to finish the first song without stopping to walk. Several months later, I could finish the first two songs while continuously running. I'd also consider it a small victory when I pass a certain area (e.g. the first right turn) and the song that usually plays during that pass hasn’t come on yet. 

The disadvantage to this: I had two gadgets in my belt bag – my iPod Touch for the songs and my phone for the running app. It’s only this year when I finally transferred songs in my Android phone and integrated it with my running app. However, the music gets shuffled that way. So I guess it’s up to every runner to figure out what would work best for you.

if you see sunsets like these along your running route,
wouldn't you be inspired to run more often, too?
5. Establish your running patterns in terms of schedule and route. For hubby and I, we try to find ways to run at least once or twice a week. That means really making time to be home by 4PM on certain days so we can run. We’ve also scouted places that serve as good running routes. Our current one goes around a quiet village with high walls and through a wide well paved road that is closed to vehicle traffic and has lamp posts to light the way for night runners, skateboarders, and bicycle riders. If you’re a morning person, a sunrise run might work for you instead. 

I really hope you guys find these tips useful enough to encourage you to start running, too. I can personally guarantee that one run will change your day but many runs will change your life

enjoy running, celebrate life!
Remember, "If something doesn't CHALLENGE you, it will not CHANGE you." So just keep running! Oh, and please check out #florescaruns on Instagram in case you'd want to take a peek on our fitness journey.  And, if this post inspired you to start running, do leave a comment below and let me know. It would be nice to "meet" new fellow runners online 😊

Post a Comment