Our friends know we love to run and often ask us how to get started running themselves. This is a letter to our younger running selves. It’ll most likely be a re-occurring series, because there’s just so many things to share.
Go to your local running store and get fit for running shoes
Everyone is unique here. Everyone. Don’t ask your friends what they like or wear, because what works for them might not work for you.
Make sure you get shoes fit for your feet, your gait, and your comfort. I have struggled for years with shoes, because I’d buy “shoes that looked cute and fast”. I’d buy shoes because I liked the brand. You might prefer shopping online too. But for your first one (or few pairs) this is a good reason to support your local shop and community. And the staff at running stores are really knowledgeable.
The first you should try and do is make sure is that they feel immediately comfortable when you put them on and go for a spin. All the stores I’ve ever been to have a treadmill you can hop on, or take a quick run outside. Wiggle your feet, flex your toes and arch. You might be able to tell right away, or if you’re not super aware of your feet, you might have to earn a blister before you can tell where your potential hot spots will be in your shoes.
Something I would also recommend now is if you find a pair you really like, try to buy an extra pair. Brands are always shaking things up. If the brand wants to change up the model, make, or material, it will buy you some time to see if the newer model works for you, or if you have to find another pair or running shoes.
Do your squats, lunges, pre-run warm ups and post run stretches.
We get it! It’s that amazing runner’s high, and you want to run all the time. We’ve been so guilty of this too. Maybe you hate squats and lunges because they’re boring. And the same can be said for warm ups and stretching. We’ve struggled with knee pain for years, and often see friends and colleagues get into the same pickle.
After many physio visits over the years, we’ve learned the long and hard way that you have to do all that extra boring work to keep all your muscles happy and in alignment, so that you can keep doing what you love, running!
In our experience, we always get into knee trouble when our training distances get longer. We always get patellar tendonitis, or have issues with our IT bands. Every time we go to physio, we get the same exercises. Lots of squats, lunges, and band work.
You might have to eat on your run (half marathon and longer)
When I started running, I was the only person in my social network that ran. I signed up for a half marathon on a whim. All I knew was that there was training involved, so I followed a Nike Run Club program on their app. And when I started running, I stopped ALL the time to take in the sights and sounds, I never really noticed how tired I would get.
I remember finally getting to the start line of my first half marathon, I purposely ate a very light breakfast because I didn’t want to throw up from stress, nerves, or exertion. That was a huge mistake number 1. I got so hungry on the course, by the 8-9 miles, when they were handing out food and gels, I took a fistful and must have sucked back at least 4-6 in one go! I had no idea what I was doing.
Fast forward to today (depending on your diet), we try to simulate race day conditions during training, and take a gels throughout our runs. We’ll take the first one 45 minutes into the run, and then every 15 minutes after. You don’t have to eat because your body will have energy stores, but to get better performance and avoiding hitting that “wall” you should probably eat when you will be running for anything over an hour.