I’m a runner. I entered my first road race in 1981, the Ross Valley Run 15k near San Francisco. I had some co-workers who were avid runners who encouraged me to join them and it was something I wanted to try.
The next race I ran was in 2008.
I didn’t run much in between those two races. I started running again in November, 2007 with a goal of running and walking 1,000 miles in a year. I met that goal and ran a few races, including a half marathon that I finished in 2:18. I hope to run the same race this year with an improved time.
Running has been good for me, but it might have been disastrous if I hadn’t gotten good advice. Here are the tips I believe any new runner should take into account when beginning a running program:
- Find a local running store (LRS) that will fit you correctly for your gait and pronation.
- If you haven’t run before or you’ve been away from it for a while, start with brisk walks.
- As you build endurance, alternate running and walking depending on how you feel. You don’t have to run every step of a planned outing, you can walk.
- Pay attention to the weather and respond accordingly. If it’s too hot, shorten your run and make sure you stay hydrated. Use sunscreen if needed. If it’s cold, wear the right protective gear.
- If music or recorded books help get you out there, great. But don’t let the isolation of the ear buds prevent you from knowing what is going on around you.
- If you must run on a road, run facing traffic.
- Wear reflective gear or lights if you run pre-dawn or at dusk.
- Read forums and interact with them. I recommend the Beginner’s Forum at Runnersworld.com. There are many experienced runners there that are eager to help.
Have fun. Stick with it long enough to feel some benefit, and you will enjoy something that to non-runners looks like too much work. And call yourself a runner. It doesn’t matter if you run fast, or alternate running and walking. You are a runner.
And don’t forget the most common advice: Check with your doctor. And as a friend of mine says, ask your doctor if getting off your ass is right for you.
Let be careful out there.
Lists on Monday are influenced by Anna at abdpbt. Her lists are more clever.