I’ve been an on-again-off-again runner for the past 35 years. I love running, but on occasion, I’ve allow life’s responsibilities to cause me to set aside my favorite sport for matters that seem more pressing at the moment. Over the last 7 years, I have been “on-again” with my running and I feel better as a result.
On January 18, 2010, I made the decision to step on the bathroom scale. I knew I had put on “a little weight” and in my mind I thought I might, for the first time in my life, even weigh close to 200lbs. The scale rocketed past the 200-mark and finally settled on 218. I’m 5′ 11″ tall with a small frame–let’s just say that I was much heavier than I imagined. That moment was a WAKE-UP CALL for me.
The next day I began to run (mostly walk) again and I began to think differently about eating. Gradually, over the next few months, I lost a significant amount of weight. I currently weigh around 165, but I still have to work at keeping my weight at a healthy mark.
You may be considering running. You may want to drop a few pounds. Allow me to share a few basics things that I would recommend as you begin.
6 Tips for Runners Who Are Just Beginning
1. Start now. If you feel any inspiration at all, then begin now. Of course, if you have any health concerns, it would be wise to see your doctor and get his or her approval before beginning.
2. Buy good shoes. Find a local running specialty store and purchase a good pair of running shoes. Go in the afternoon when your feet have “settled” for the day. The clerk will measure and fit you properly which should provide you with a shoe that fits snugly around the heel and gives you a little extra room in front of the toes. After you settle on the right shoe, you can buy additional pairs online at a discounted rate, but initially you should take advantage of the expert advice found at the running store.
3. Walk a lot at first. Start by mainly walking. You will probably be able to walk a mile in 16-18 minutes. Mix in a little running along the way. Gradually walk less and run more. Running coaches like Jeff Galloway say that you should continue to mix in some walking even after you become an accomplished runner. Galloway advocates a “run-walk-method” for exercise and races.
4. Keep a running journal. You can use a simple spiral notebook, a 3-ring binder, a published running log (can be purchased at running stores or bookstores), or a web-based journal (runningahead.com, logarun.com, Runner’s World log). There’s just something about writing it down!
5. Keep an eating journal. I personally found that the biggest key to losing weight was knowing how many calories I was eating. I used livestrong/myplate.com to track what I ate and to keep a running total of my daily calories. Other good sites include fitday.com, myfitnesspal.com, and myfooddiary.com.
6. Subscribe to Runner’s World magazine. Runner’s World magazine is an excellent source of information and inspiration for beginning runners. For less than the cost of a nice meal, you can purchase a multi-year subscription.
Many people find that they are more consistent if they enlist a running partner. I personally cherish the solitude of running alone most of the time. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions or questions.
One thought on “6 Tips for Beginning Runners”
Great post, Steve!
A couple of thoughts from me:
I started running not because I’ve always liked running (because I didn’t — I hated it) but because it was the best option for me to get fit. Running doesn’t require a gym membership (so it’s low cost) and I can fit it around my schedule. As a working mom of three, those things are essential. I think this would be a really selling point for a lot of ministers, too.
I would encourage folks to sign up for a 5K, and then work a “Couch to 5K” plan to prepare. There’s something about having that goal to train for that keeps you on track. The year I turned 40, I made it a goal to run 8 5K races. I’d never run any. I made my goal, and ended up training all year. Now, I’m just in the habit of walking/running, and I make it a point to run/walk several times a week.
I also recommend using an app like Nike Running. Keeps track of pace, distance, etc., which is really helpful and keeps me motivated.