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September 4, 2013

so you want to be a runner

I have a few people in my life that have recently started running. This is my Favorite Thing. Because I love running and will talk about it any chance I get. Because runners are the greatest people ever. Because if everyone ran, the world would be a better place.

First, let's define run: 
Run: Move at a speed faster than a walk, never having both feet on the ground at the same time.

To be a runner doesn't mean you have to run a 6 minute mile or a marathon or own a Garmin. You're a runner if you move at a speed faster than a walk. Sounds easy enough, right? Right... Kind of.

bill and al love running
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While I am a firm believer that anyone can be a runner, there are some things you can do to ease the transition from non-runner into runner:
 
Go to a real running store and get fitted for shoes. They'll look at your feet, have you roll up your pants and watch your ankles while you walk/run, all to figure out what shoe type to put you in. Running in the right shoe will lower your risk of injury by providing you with the right support for your foot/body.

Set a goal with a time frame. Is it to run a 5k in three months? A marathon next year? Generally, the loftier/longer the goal, the more time you'll need to (safely) achieve it. Whatever it is, write it down. This will serve as motivation when you hit the "why am I doing this?!" wall. 

Create a plan. Training to run a mile is a lot different than training to run a marathon. Use the internet, running books, or the runners in your life as resources for creating a plan. There is no shortage of training philosophies and plans out there. Do the research and find one that works the best for you.

Start slower than you think you need to. This applies to your pace, the distance you attempt your first run out the door, and the number of miles you think you need to run in a given week. Ease into it.

Find other runners.  It's easy to skip a run, or a week's worth of runs. Finding someone to stay accountable to can help give you the motivation to stick with it.

Improve your running by doing things that everyone else skips. Drills. Warming up and cooling down. Stretching. Just do it.

I sometimes go back and read my training journals from when I first started running, when I used to run with a stopwatch in my hand, then go back and drive my route for the mileage. Lots of things are different now (like not wearing cotton socks!) but the sense of accomplishment I feel after finishing a run hasn't changed. I sincerely wish the same for you.

Go run!



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