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Who wants to be a runner? (I really hope you read that in a Regis Philbin voice.)
Y’all know I love running. I’ve written about it before, and I can honestly tell you that 15 years into my running journey, I love it more with every passing day.
I realize that not everyone feels that way. But maybe you want to. Maybe the idea of being a runner has been hanging around in your head for a while, but you just don’t know where to start or are waiting for the right time.
If that’s the case, check out these Runner 101 tips to get you started.
Pick a Plan
I like the structure and commitment of a plan, especially when starting out. It’s a good way to build your strength and endurance while also avoiding injury.
There are so many online options. I recommend the Couch to 5k program for beginners. It’s what I always use to ease back into running whenever I needed to take a lengthy break (like after giving birth.)
If that one doesn’t fit the bill, check out some of the fitness apps such as Studio or Aaptiv. If you have a fitness tracker, chances are good it will have a beginner’s running program as well that should be included!
Get Your Gear
Thankfully, you don’t need too much gear to get started. A decent pair of shoes is truly all you need, and you might already have some in your closet!
If you can, I do recommend investing in a pair of shoes that is specific to running, and ideally chosen just for you. Local shops like RunOn! and Fort Worth Running Company offer expert in-store fittings (and online!) to make sure you get the right pair of shoes.
The right socks and a supportive sports bra are next on my list of “ideals.” I love this sports bra from Brooks because it’s adjustable and easy to get on. It’s worked well for me both with nursing boobs and with my deflated post-baby breasts (in different sizes of course.)
Find a Friend
This one isn’t mandatory, but it’s such a huge help! Whether in-person or virtual, there are tons of running communities that are always happy to add one more to its number. I like to train with a group when I can, but I am also a member of some virtual groups.
Find your local chapter of Moms Run This Town or follow Another Mother Runner on Facebook to find other moms that are runners. These communities offer lots of support when it comes to getting started, what shoes you can find on sale, and even why you have that weird pain in your heel after your first few jogs.
Scope a Spot
It’s all about location, location, location. Find a place to run that is easy and convenient for you. I love running around my neighborhood because it’s convenient and it maximizes my time. I don’t spend any of my precious exercise minutes travelling to or from anywhere.
That being said, sometimes I like to mix it up, and I will drive to meet my training group on the Trinity Trails, or even just head to a local track to get in some speed work. (Pro tip, most public school tracks are open to the public during non-school hours.)
When I have to bring the kids along, I’ve been known to log miles on the treadmill at the gym so they can be in childcare or bring them with me to the track so they can play football or soccer while I work out.
Go for a Goal
If you’re an achieving type (enneagram 3 anyone?), set a goal for yourself. This can help motivate you on the days when you just don’t want to get off the couch.
Goals can range from setting a certain number of days, minutes, or miles to run per week to finishing a specific distance of a race. (Fort Worth Moms published “Guide to DFW Running Events,” that lists walking and running races of all varieties that happen throughout the year.)
One of the best things about running is that your goals can always be changing. Sometimes I have my eye on hitting a certain time, and others, I just want to run to calm my mind. And both of those goals are perfect for me.
Be a Runner
I am a runner.
It took me a long time to embrace that label as part of my identity. Starting out, I felt like I wasn’t fast enough or didn’t go far enough to call myself a runner. But I learned.
The running community will be the first to tell you that speed and distance have nothing to do with defining you as a runner.
The first time you lace up your shoes, run around the block, and revel in the feeling of your feet hitting the pavement you are one of us. Welcome. We’re glad to have you.
Want to meet up for a run?