02 April 2012

Running 101: The Beginning

As much as running can be a part of your every day life, it is always good to have a reference starting point. Running is great personal time, but when you loose site of why you started or where you want to go with it, it can be frustrating.

If running is not yet a part of your life, this post is for you too! 

The very best place to start is the beginning.

The Why: If you want to start running regularly, take time to think about why you want to run. 

Fitness reasons? Ability to keep up with children? Complete a marathon? Loose that last 10 pounds? 
Whatever your reason is, keep it in mind each time you lace up. If you find a reason for running that motivates you, you will be more likely to make it a habit. 

Running can take so many shapes. Some days your intention is strictly personal, or maybe it is for a good cause. Whatever your why is, keep it positive. Running is a wonderful sport that can change with your life's happenings. If you feel in rut, change your why. Running should fit you needs & wants now. (Advice myself need to heed)

The What: Running is putting one foot in front of the other for a set distance. A personal set distance. 

Honestly, start small. Run 1 minute, walk 1 minute, run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes, etc.. Work up to running a mile at a time. Don't worry too much about your per mile pace right now. Run for a set amount of time to get used the leg work involved. Start to notice your form. Keeping your shoulders relaxed and arms swinging from your hip to your mouth (think of feeding yourself from you pocket!). If you can stand it, try running without a mp3 player at the beginning. Focusing on your breathing, notice how it feels & the rate.

The When: Whenever! Really! Whatever works for your schedule. The great thing about running is that there is always a treadmill, indoor track or the streets to run on. No team needed! 

Word of caution: Keep in mind traffic patterns and busy roads if you are heading outside. Try running in well lit areas or during daylight hours while you are getting started. If you aren't comfortable in your neighborhood, find a safe location. Don't risk injury or being frightened for a run.

The Who: Yourself. Your spouse & you. You & friend. You & running group. 

Throughout the country there are hundreds of running groups around. Do a quick Google search for running groups in your area or use the Road Runners Club of America website. If you would like the encouragement and company, most clubs have all levels of abilities (really!) and pace groups. Call ahead to find out where they are meeting and on which days. Especially during warmer months as the location might change weekly. Ask if there is a fee (just in case) or anything special you need to bring. If you have a local sports store, inquire with an employee, they might know of a group. If you belong to a gym, ask the front desk if they know if a running group exists. Blogs and on-line forums are also great places to check for clubs or groups.

Find what you like to do best. Maybe meeting with a group on Saturday's works best or maybe you can find a partner to meet with several days a week.

Beginning running can look from the outside like a challenge. So may options and opinions out there. Try several different methods to find what is best for you. That is the best part of running. Finding a sport that fits your needs. No matter what.

The Joy of Running! (and my hunky husband is the one in front!)

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