Running is awesome! I am sure it is no surprise, to anyone that I meet, that I think running is pretty great. I am not the only one, however. Running is growing in popularity, it is definitely having a moment. There is a reason why, running really is for everyone
Why everyone should become a runner?
- Running is not one size fits all. Training and goals are all specific to the individual. Unlike many other sports, your biggest competitor is yourself and the clock. It’s an amazing feeling to run your first race, and complete it. It’s an even better feeling when you set a goal and watch yourself break new PRs (personal records), after putting in the work. You EARNED that. There are so many new types of races and distances available. Really, there is a race out there for every type of person; casual, competitive, destination, fun, obstacle, dog races, trail, road, holiday and so much more.
- You can check out my post on picking goal races here
- Running is a great way to meet new people! The running community is full of awesome, uplifting and motivated individuals. As a collective whole, I haven’t met a more supportive and goal oriented group of people. My running friends go out of their way to meet up for runs, push you through difficult workouts and cheer you on to new PRs. You know you have made a great new friend, when they agree to get up a zero-dark-thirty, put on a headlamp and run with you. It’s always worth it! Bonus, are you single? Running is full of other goal oriented, active singles.
- Health– I am sure I don’t have to tell you, that running is good for you. There are so many health benefits to beginning a consistent running routine. This doesn’t include diving head first into a high-mileage marathon program. Running at least 30 minutes a week, 3 times a week has great health benefits. Regular running raises your HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and boosts your immune system. Running can lower your risk of many diseases; including some types of cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. Running may help by reducing high blood pressure and lowering your risk of heart attacks. Running tops the charts as one of the best way to burn calories. The best part is, it can be done almost anywhere at any time!
- Mental Health-running is a great stress reliever. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins (a natural hormone that acts similar to a drug that improves mood and increases energy). These hormones are also great in decreasing your risk for depression. Ask a runner, friend. They usually are in a better mood on days they get to run.
Steps to successfully becoming a runner
Many people want to start out the new year with awesome New Year’s Resolutions. The problem is many of them don’t make it to spring break. Let’s not become another failed resolution, and instead, become a success. Making 2017 the year you became a runner.
- Running doesn’t have to be expensive, to get started. One thing I do recommend before diving into a running program, is investing in some good running shoes. Go to a local running store, one that will watch you run and help you select the correct pair of running shoes for your stride. This is very important to a new runner. You are going to work new muscles and may have some soreness. Prevent injuries and get the right kind of running shoes, to give you the best chance for success.
- Set a goal, or a few goals. Set goals that are realistic and measurable. Don’t try to go all in, the first day. All or nothing plans, almost always fail. Start with smaller goals that lead to a larger goal. Try signing up for a 5k next month. Promise to build up to 30 minutes of running 3 times per week until you reach that 5k. Reaching this goal will help motivate you to move onto bigger goals. Once you have run a race, set a new goal, rinse and repeat. Be careful, there is a natural high that comes from completing these goals, and it can become quite addicting.
- Train with friends. Find some friends to train with. This will make the miles more fun, and help keep you accountable. If you aren’t sure who to run with, join a local running group. Running groups have become a big part of my social life. I am super bummed when I miss out on our Wednesday night group runs at the KC running Company store, or Saturday mornings with KC track club-Lee’s Summit group. There are runners and groups for every speed and distance.
- Make back up plans. Sometimes things are going to happen, so you need to be proactive and have back up plans. It’s easy to find reasons NOT to run. When things don’t go as planned, what is your back up plan?
- It’s okay to slow down. Many new runners, try to run too fast. This causes a lot of strain on the body. You need to work up to those fast speeds, only once you have built an endurance base. Try the talk test, if you can’t hold the pace and carry on a conversation, you need to slow down. I wrote a previous post here, about slowing down your easy run.
- Consider a running coach or a plan. There are a lot of couch to 5k, 10k or half marathon plans. Consider your fitness level before choosing. Some may start out easy and increase in difficulty too quickly, some may start out too conservative for your current ability leaving your bored, while some may start out too difficult putting you at a high injury risk. Getting a running coach can be a lot of help in ensuring you are successful in your running goals. I have decided to work with a running coach, this year. You can read about my decision, to hire a coach here.
The first step is to get out there and run. Take it one day or one mile at a time. You will have tough days. You will have days that you are feeling unmotivated, but I promise it will be worth it. Taking on a more active lifestyle will have a rippling effect on many other life choices. You will feel great!
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