If you’re just starting a running program, what you do over the next few weeks and months can make or break a running habit. A lot of people try to pick up running, but don’t last very long.
Sure, some just realize that the sport is not for them. But others quip running is “too hard” or “hurts their feet”. Well, running is hard – really hard – at first, but it gets easier if you stick with it. And running shouldn’t be painful to your feet if you get professionally fitted for running shoes.
Here’s how to start running off on the right foot:
- Get fitted for proper running shoes. Do not run in an old pair of athletic trainers. Running in shoes that weren’t made for running or don’t fit you can cause injuries and minor nuisances, like blisters. These types of consequences can derail your running plans. Running should not hurt your feet. If it does, then you need new shoes.
- Invest in quality socks. Good shoes are only half of the blister battle. Buy athletic socks that offer cushioning in the toes and heels – where runners need it most. This will reduce your risk of blisters and other foot problems.
- Carry water. Being well hydrated is a must for running success. If you go into a run even slightly dehydrated, running will only make you feel more sluggish. Dehydration can bring on a headache, make you feel sick to your stomach, and can eventually be dangerous.
- Time your meals right. Don’t eat right before you head out for a run. This could cause cramping, side stitches, and stomach upset. On the same note, make sure you eat something within a couple hours of running – choose high-card foods so they digest easily. And don’t skimp on calories. Eat nutritious meals and snacks regularly. If you don’t eat enough, you won’t be able to fuel your workouts, meaning that you won’t have enough energy on your runs.
- Wear sunglasses and a hat. If you’re starting your running program in the warmer weather months, seek shade. Shield your face with a hat and sunglasses, find shady routes (consider trail running), or run before sun up or sundown. The heat of the summer sun is no joke when you’re running, and if you don’t take proper precautions to shield yourself from the sun, you’ll feel miserable on your run and increase your risk for dangerous health issues such as heat exhaustion and dehydration. (Also: always cover up with sunscreen).
- Run with your phone. We get it – running is the perfect chance to unplug from the world, so why carry your phone with you? However, if you get lost or hurt, or don’t feel well mid-run, you’ll be glad to have your phone so that you can call for help.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. This rule applies if you just started running or if you’ve been running for decades. Never, ever compare your running ability to anyone else’s. There are always going to be people faster than you, but there will also always be someone slower than you. Only compare yourself to … well, yourself. Be proud of how far you have come. Celebrate all of your running victories because each one is a big deal!
Written by Jen Matz.