5 Steps to a Good Run

"I am not a runner."  I told myself that all the time, mostly as an excuse to not run.  I did a couple 5Ks and wasn't really into it.  I love obstacle course racing, mostly because you get to take breaks from running and jump over walls and trek through mud.  And then, I signed up for my first half marathon.  Yup. Me. The girl who doesn't like to run.  Go figure, huh? 

Well, I'm in my 14th week of half marathon training and my long runs are up to 9 miles.  The Rock N Roll Half Marathon is happening November 17th and I'm a little nervous, but super excited.  So, do I have a newfound love for running?  Yes and No.  I love the feeling after a run.  I love how I can see myself getting faster and it amazes me that I can actually run farther distances than I ever imagined!  I don't love the treadmill.  I've learned that the first 3 miles are the hardest (maybe that's why 5Ks aren't for me).  It takes me a while to warm up!  I like how running clears my head.  I may start thinking about my "to do" list,  but soon my thoughts are simply about getting it done.  I become my own cheerleader.  I still sometimes dread the idea of going out there and running, however I've found a few things that help my runs go a lot better than ever before.   I'm clearly no authority on running, but these are a few things that have helped me, as a novice, enjoy running.  So, if you're like me and were never a big fan of running, check out these 5 Steps to a Good Run and let me know if they help you!  With the right attitude, everyone can an enjoy a good run, even if running isn't your favorite ;) 

5 Steps to a Good Run 

1.  A great playlist!  I could not get through my runs without my running music.  For me, this isn't even the genre of music I listen to on a regular basis, but the fast beats help keep me going at a steady pace and the lyrics are entertaining and/or motivating.  I start my playlist with a few warm up songs, then a few favorites towards the middle to keep me going, and finally I save the real pump-me-up songs towards the end to keep me from stopping!  I'm really loving Titanium by David Guetta featuring Sia, Stronger by Kanye West, and Light Em Up by Fall Out Boy right now!

2.  Water!  You have no idea how many times I'd go for a run without water!  I just didn't like having to hold a bottle of water while I ran.  It felt cumbersome, but then I'd be wishing I had some water when my throat was so dry and I started panting.  Then, I learned about hydration belts, camel backs, and water packs.  Running with water just got easier! And, I've got a place to hold my phone & asthma rescue inhaler too!  There are lots of brands and styles out there, so try one out and find what works best for you.  PS.  you can find these at TJMaxx and Marshalls too for a fraction of the cost at a sports store ;) 

This is what I currently use for all my runs! 

This is what I currently use for all my runs! 

But, I've got my eye on this one, maybe for shorter runs.  

But, I've got my eye on this one, maybe for shorter runs.  

3.  Start Slow!  Like I mentioned earlier, it takes a while for your body to warm up, so don't feel like you have to start out at a super fast pace.  Take a few moments before your run to figure out where you'll start to increase your pace.  For me, they are visual markers along my run, but it could easily be after 10 mins I'll speed it up a bit or after 1 mile and so forth.  The important thing, is to give your body the time it needs to warm up, otherwise you'll get tired fast and will feel like quitting, believe me, I learned this the hard way!     

4.  Don't Wear Cotton!  Cotton tshirts were all I used to wear to the gym and for running.  I was already wearing shorts or workout leggings, the last thing I wanted was to wear anything form fitting & show off the the muffin top!  But, alas the t-shirts would get weighed down with sweat super fast.  Yeah, pretty gross!  I'd spend a lot of time adjusting my t-shirt so it wouldn't stick to me.  Yes, it was unflattering and uncomfortable.  Sweaty t-shirts can also cause chafing under your armpits.  Again, another thing I learned the hard way! This also goes for cotton yoga pants & undies!  Grab yourself a few of those tech moisture-wicking shirts and thank me later ;)

Ps. I've found some that aren't super form fitting either! 

Before

Before

After

After

 5.  Track Your Runs!  This is helpful for a few reasons.  First, you'll have an accurate detailed account of your run, such as distance, pace, and even average calories burned.  Second, you'll see how much better you're getting!  Tracking your progress is so important when running and working out in general.  It really helps keep you motivated and proud of how far you've come.   I just use the free RunKeeper app, but there are a ton of options out there! 

BONUS TIPS:  Don't forget to do a quick warm up stretch before your run and a longer stretch afterwards.  Check our Runner's World for a ton of different stretching exercises for runners to find what works for you! 

So, do you have any tips you'd like to share that help you with your running? Sharing is care ;)