Tuesday, October 22, 2013

So, You Want to be a Runner?

 After writing posts about beach runs as well as getting up and out I received a lot of questions on how/where to start.  Well, I am here to give you my take on the best way to become a runner. As I mention time and time again, I am not a runner. I have never claimed to be one and don't intend to start now.  I am however an athlete and therefore have become conditioned to love/need exercise.  The easiest way to keep my head clear, cardio workouts in tact, and body feeling good is, well, to run.  You can do it anywhere, at any time and don't need much more than a positive attitude to make it happen.

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Now, were to start:

1. Get a route.  Whether you are going on a loop near your house, the track at the high school down the street, or a few miles to your favorite coffee shop, have a plan.  I use the app Log Your Run  because it uses GPS to track my location, has settings to accommodate different activities (run, walk, bike, hike) in addition to providing information on my overall time, pace, distance and calories burned.  Not too shabby...it also allows you to sync with certain playlists to keep you moving fast.  I tend to keep it to the neighborhood and go in one big circle.  Sometimes I even clock it when I am driving home to get a better idea of what I am in for.  I typically shoot for 3 miles round trip.  Anymore than that and my knees are killing me.  If you know where you are going it is so much easier since you always have an end in sight.

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2. Pick a playlist to motivate you.  I like to look forward to my runs knowing that I get to rock out to my latest playlist full of pavement pounding beats.  Not sure where to find these great jams? Check out some of our Move It Music suggestions to help get you started.  Hate the latest jams and looking for more of a Fleetwood Mac/Doobie Bros jam session like my Thriving Mommy?  Then, make it!  Pull up that iTunes, make your own Move It Music playlist and get going!  Or throw on Pandora or Spotify and set it to your favorite station.


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3. Plan on it. Because you can run at any time and don't really have any one depending on you (unless you have a running partner that is) it is easy to blow off.  DO NOT DO THAT!  Lay out your favorite LuLu top (or any other workout gear you feel good in) and make it almost awkward to not get it done.  Just get dressed, grab your music, lace your sneakers and get out the front door. Just do it!

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4. Start slow.  If you are not at all into running (as I once was) and just dread the thought of it, then start with an attitude check (you have to make it positive or it will never stick) and start slow.  Walk for 5-10 minutes at a brisk pace and point out things you are enjoying so far. The way your lungs feel?  The sweat starting to build on your brow?  Your favorite song that just came on as the wind changed directions? Find something and embrace the good and just keep going.  Then...start to kick it up.  Check out Couch Potato to 5K, if you want/need an app and training plan to get you started.

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5. Pick up the pace.  Now is where you are going to start to condition yourself.  You've warmed up with a nice walk and you are ready to start building some endurance which you can build on each time you set out.  Create a goal for yourself: running to the end of the block, running to the next street light, running until the chorus starts...then do it.  Once you hit that goal, slow it down again to a brisk walk or a super slow jog. Give yourself the same goal for the cool down, (street light, song verse, next driveway) and then pick it up again.  Think of this as an interval training program that will allow you to get stronger each time you do it.  The next day, when you set out again, try to go just a few steps farther than the day before or shorten your recovery time.  Each day go harder than the day before and be proud of yourself...you are doing it!

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It won't be easy at first, but just view each adventure outing as a HUGE accomplishment and only focus on the good that came from it.  The feeling you had following the run.  How elated you were to be back home and have made it through the entire route you set out to conquer.  The way your lungs are renewed and the way your mind feels open and alive.  YOU DID IT!  Until tomorrow....

Check back soon for Nic's guide to choosing the correct running shoe - wearing the wrong ones can most certainly cause injuries and derail any progress you've made!



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