Expert Panel Question???
Question: “I’m interested in starting running, but I find it a little intimidating. How do I start?”
(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)
Dear New Runner,
What an exciting time to be starting with your running. There are so many opportunities for runners these days. There are road races and trail races in almost any distance, there are groups of all levels to train with, there are team relay races which can be a lot of fun, there are some great local places to train, and there are a lot of advancements in training technology.
I can understand how it might feel intimidating or even a bit overwhelming to get started. Here is my advice for you:
1) Make your running whatever you want it to be. It has to be about you and what you like. There is a wide range of possibilities from training for races to training for health and fitness. Find something to run for – you will feel the satisfaction from running much more if you have a purpose. I like to pick a race in the future and work toward that race. It might be 3 months away or a year away, but it gives me some focus and it helps me to stay committed. I also make running plans week to week that help me get ready for the future race.
2) Set some goals. It comes back to the advice given above – the importance of running with a purpose. Not only does it make running more fun and have more satisfaction, it also helps you to stay committed through the tough days. I would start with something simple – like completing a 3 mile run without walking (or a 6 mile run, or whatever your level is). Then figure out why you are doing this, and go from there. After setting a goal to finish my first marathon, then working toward that goal, then accomplishing that goal, the feeling was indescribable. It will give you strength and confidence and it will empower you as a runner and a person. And it will make you want to set new goals and accomplish them–it is kind of addicting.
3) Get in to a local running store. It is important to make sure you are in the right shoes. The local running specialty stores can be extremely helpful in finding your shoes and the other things you might need. Although running is not as expensive as some other hobbies (or lifestyles), there are still plenty of things you could spend your money on if you want (or you can keep it pretty simple). There are a lot of cool running devices – from mp3 players to watches to sunglasses. And there is quite a lot of fashion to choose from as well. This may sound stupid, but it feels great to go out for a run in a new pair of shoes, or a new pair of shorts, or a brand new running jacket, etc.
4) Find some people to run with. One of the great things about running is the opportunity to meet new people and to get to know other runners. You might find some people to train with through local races. You might also check with the running stores to see when they are holding their training runs. I know both Striders and Salt Lake Running Company have regular training runs – check out their websites. Try to get some of your friends to begin running with you as well. Running can be more enjoyable with a group.
5) Make it through the first few months. With most of the new runners I coach, I see too many of them give it up after a few weeks or even a few days. Running might not be that comfortable over the first few runs. In fact, one of the great things about running is that it constantly pushes you out of your comfort zone. You are most likely going to feel a lot of aches and pains as you get started. You want to be careful that you don’t get any serious injury, but most of the smaller aches and the soreness will go away as your body adjusts to the stresses that come with running. Eventually you will begin to feel better as you run, and that is when it starts to be more enjoyable. Build up slowly and consistently to whatever level you would like to be training at, but give it some time before you expect to feel great with your running. I would guess 2-3 months of consistent running and you will start to see some huge improvements.
6) Mix things up. Don’t run the same route over and over again. Find new places to run–even if you have to drive a little way to do so. Utah offers so many beautiful places to run. Some of my favorites include: the Ogden Parkway, the Provo Canyon Parkway, Mueller Park (Bountiful), Millcreek Canyon (Salt Lake), City Creek Canyon (Salt Lake), Snow Basin, anywhere along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, the Park City Rail Trail, and there are so many others. Explore new places and find challenging runs that you enjoy going back to.
Best of luck. I hope you pick up the sport and get the enjoyment from it that so many others have found.
by Corbin Talley – Elite Athlete: Marathoner/Ultra Marathoner | High School Track & Cross Country Coach