See yesterday's post for Part One of this series--Tips for the New(bie) Year Runner
I am often asked what made me start running. One year ago, I absolutely hated running. I almost quit working with my trainer because I hated it so much (and she made us run, what seemed like a lot at the time).
The day I decided to be a runner still stands out in my mind. I was on the elliptical machine next to two of my friends who had run a few half marathons the year before. I was at my all-time highest weight, and they were looking really good. It wasn't fair that I put in the same amount of time at the gym every day, and they looked hot...and I did not. The second that thought entered my mind, it hit me. They were drenched in sweat, working at high intensity. I was barely breaking a sweat...and my hair still looked good! If I wanted to lose the weight I'd been packing on, I needed to up the intensity of my work outs.
It was at that moment that I decided to become a runner.
1. Increase the intensity of your workouts. Start slow, but know when to push yourself. If your goal is weight loss, you need to increase the intensity of your workouts at some point. If you are not drenched in sweat, it may be a sign that you need to work harder.
2. There is a simple formula to weight loss. Burn more calories than you consume! Running a mile ... or even ten... does not give you license to eat whatever you want. Feed your body, but don't eat your workout!
3. Listen to your body. If you are new to running, or if you are new to exercise, start slow. Push yourself, but listen to your body. There's a difference between "OMG! This old skateboarding injury is going to kill me" and "This is uncomfortable because it's new." When I first started running, my entire body hurt. Even after I'd built up a little endurance, the first mile hurt every day for months. Since I don't have any old injuries or any physical issues that should limit my activity, I knew I needed to tough it out and until my body got used to running.
4. Don't overdo it. The "experts" say you should not increase your mileage more than 10% a week. I don't know at what point one should begin to apply this rule. I would think you'd be safe following the Couch to 5K program and then applying the 10% rule at once you reach three miles. (ME??? I didn't listen to this, and I got hurt within the first six months, and had to take two months off to recover. That story and tips related to injury prevention/rehab tomorrow!)
I attended a writing workshop over the weekend. It's always great to be in a room filled with writer friends, and Saturday was no exception!
Every time I get together with people I haven't seen in a while, I get a lot of comments about my appearance. As we've discussed (way too many times, I know!), I lost 45 pounds last year, mostly because I started running. There's a lot less of me these days!
After Saturday's event, I received a phone call from someone who wanted to know how to get started running. I am far from an expert. I started running about this time last year and went from non-runner to half marathoner in eight months. I am currently training for my first full marathon, which I hope to run in either April or May.
I thought I'd post a few tips each day, things I wish I would have known when I started out. I hope these tips are helpful to those of you wanting to start some new, healthy habits this year!
1. Think about safety! Get a ROAD ID tag! In the event something bad happens, you want to be sure to have some form of identification. I have a little tag that fits on my shoe laces. There's also this bracelet style:
2. It's okay to start small. Use a walk/run strategy. When I first started, I couldn't even run 1/10 of a mile. I would walk 1/2 way around the gym track, then run 1/2, alternating until I did a mile. Once that got easier, I would run one lap and walk one, or run one lap and walk 3/4.
3. Follow a plan. If you want a plan to follow, many people rave about the Couch to 5K program. It's a plan geared to take you from couch potato to 30 minutes of running in just 9 weeks.
More tips tomorrow!