I have wanted to start running for a very, very long time but always made excuses for myself. It was either too hot or too cold. I was too busy or never home. I didn’t have the right shoes, equipment, or motivation. Going to the gym 5 nights/week isn’t an option for me because of my busy work schedule and the fact that I have 80 lbs of cat and dog waiting for me to get home each night and I feel bad turning around and leaving them again after they were alone all day. Finally, I cut the excuses and went for my first outdoor run in years:
I don’t know if I’m more surprised that me or the dog ran 4k tonight. Tomorrow – 5k with @Parkdale_RR Crew!
— Jamie-Leigh (@JamieLeighTO) September 16, 2014
While I have always run on treadmills at the gym, I have never made a serious (read: consistent) effort to run outside so I knew that I needed to set up a few things to motivate myself and get the right equipment to ensure I not only enjoyed my runs, but did them safely as well. Here are my tips for people looking to start running:
1. Run Outside!
While the treadmill might help you maintain momentum on runs, I find running indoors nothing short of B-O-R-I-N-G! Even with my favourite TV shows, magazine, or music nothing beats running outside. I force myself to take a different route each time so that I don’t tire of the same route each time. Right now, the fall colours are making for gorgeous morning and evening runs. Plus, I like to consider my runs as a bit of neighbourhood exploration! It’s also free, and offers the perfect combination of exercise for both myself and my dog.
2. Join a Running Club!
Joining a running club is the best way to keep yourself accountable and motivated, as well as make some new friends. I think a support group like this can really make or break your commitment to running, and it also helps motivate you on long runs. I have more than a few friends who have started 4k runs with Toronto groups like Black Toe Running and Parkdale Road Runners who now run half and full marathons – in only a matter of months! It isn’t uncommon for both groups to host short 4-5k runs that turn into 10k runs because everyone is motivated and energized enough to keep going.
3. Vary Your Workouts!
Just because you’ve started running doesn’t mean that you have to ditch all of the other activities you enjoy. I use my GoodLife membership to take advantage of group classes like Hot Yoga, RPM (spinning), and occasionally, using the weight lifting machines. I do this to avoid running burnout and to keep exercising different parts of my body and continue building strength and endurance. (Speaking of which, anyone brave enough to try Jillian Michaels’ BodyShred with me?)
4. Get the Right Equipment!
The right equipment can make all the difference in whether or not you enjoy your run. I find that even if one article of my clothing is slightly uncomfortable that I tend to focus on this and my run isn’t as enjoyable. The right running equipment will not only keep you comfortable, but it will also keep you safe! Invest in some good shoes, running tights or shorts, the right sports bra, and whatever else you need to feel great. I have a hard time knowing what I need to wear as the weather changes so I’ve been using this “What to Wear” tool by Runner’s World to make sure that I don’t over- or under-dress on runs.
For me, the right running equipment also includes the right apps to track my runs and keep my music playing. I love the Nike+ Running app because it not only does both of those, but it also allows me to connect friends to my profile and share my run stats with them. This to me, goes right back to the motivational aspect of having a running support group and is just another tool to keep my motivated and accountable. It also stops tracking if I stop moving, so I don’t get a slower time if I happen to get stuck at a red light or more commonly, the dog stops for a quick washroom break.
Fall weather doesn’t always mean the end of chafing season for runners. Whether it’s your thighs, bra, or shoes that is causing chafing, BodyGlide is invisible and non-greasy and can help prevent blisters and chafing. There is even a special “For Her” product that is ideal for sensitive areas. Cause let’s be real – we can’t all rock the thigh gap. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that!
6. Dry Shampoo
One of my excuses to avoid running in the past, believe it or not, was that I didn’t want to have to (or didn’t have the time to) wash my hair again after my run. Now that I have smartened up, I can just use dry shampoo to freshen up after a run.
I have been using the Rush Brush by Cake Beauty for on the go touch ups because it’s small enough to fit in the smallest of purses while packing some serious volumizing and oil-absorbing power. The brush applicator means I can put the powder right on my roots and the best part: it comes in three shades so I’m not left with white powder residue.
— Jamie-Leigh (@JamieLeighTO) September 17, 2014
7. Runner’s High!
It’s a real thing. I come back from runs feeling energized and really stoked. I can’t wait for my next run. The feeling carries on throughout the next day, even if I’m a bit sore and no matter how challenging my run was. I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure this is entirely why runners keep running.
Are you starting a new running routine?
Let’s be friends and support each other in our progress!