Archive for April, 2013

Too many people decide to start running and don’t prepare for it. They strap on the shoes they’ve had in the back of their hall closet since 1997 and go out and try to run 3 miles.  Then, when they’re limping back home, blisters the size of pancakes on their feet, they decide that running isn’t for them.

The key to becoming a life-long runner, like a lot in life, is preparation.

So, without further ado, here are my suggestions on how to add running into your life.

#1 —  The absolute most important thing you can do, without a doubt, is to go to a specialty running store (like TerraLoco, where I work), and get fitted for a running shoe.  Please, do not go to a big box store.  First, you won’t get a quality running shoe that will last, and second, you won’t get help choosing one that is right for you.  A good specialty run store should evaluate your gait to determine whether you over-pronate, supinate, or have a neutral foot.  At our store, we use video gait analysis, which is more accurate than a walking “visual” test, but both tests can usually determine the right shoe.  After an expert decides what kind of shoe you need, try on a bunch of styles until you find one that is comfortable.  (Look for an article in a few weeks on choosing a shoe)

#2 — Invest in some equipment/gear.  If you’re a lady, a good sports bra is a must.  You can actually tear your breast tissue if you don’t have enough support.  Bras are like shoes.  They are just as important and the right or wrong one can make all the difference in the world.  Invest in a few key pieces of running gear like shorts and a top.  You want something made of a wicking material (stay away from cotton!).  While not necessary, a good running outfit will give you confidence when you’re out on the trail and will give you an incentive to run (you don’t want your nice new outfit to collect dust), in addition to making you much more comfortable (especially in warmer weather).

#3 — Set a goal.  If this is your first foray into running, a 5K is probably best.  But if you have some experience, maybe you want to do a 10K or a triathlon or a half marathon.  I suggest choosing a race that is at least 10 weeks away and registering for it.  Once you’ve put down money for a race, you will be more likely to complete your training.

#4 — Find a training plan.  You can create your own training plan by incorporating intervals (i.e. run for 1 minute, walk for 1 minute) with progressive week-to-week goals.  Or, you can find plenty of training plans online (both free and for a fee).  While you are in your local specialty run store, ask about training programs.  Many stores will offer a Couch to 5K training program from their store.  These are a great option because it gives you accountability and a built-in support group.  You can also get invaluable information on injury prevention, gear, and nutrition.

#5 — Set up a support system.  If you sign up for a training program through a local store or running club, you are all set in this department.  If you decided to go it alone, tell your friends about the race you are doing, post about it on Facebook or Twitter, tell all of your co-workers, basically make sure that everyone in your life knows you are training for a race.  Again, that will give you accountability, but you will also be surprised how many people will support you on your journey.  You may even find that a friend or co-worker wants to run or train with you.  Find some people in your network who are already runners.  Use them for advice and support.  You may even want to join your local running club if you need people to run with.  Kids or dogs are another great addition to your support system.  Bring your kids with you on a run, tell them about the really amazing thing you are doing.  Get your dog on a Couch to 5K program too and you will see health benefits for both of you.

That’s it.  It’s not super complicated, but it does require some planning and preparation.  People who just jump into it without the prep end up injured, or worse: hating running for the rest of their lives.  Everyone can run.  You just have to approach it the right way.  And keep in mind that the right way for someone else may not be the right way for you.

If you are in Rochester, you can join me for the next Couch to 5K training session, starting June 6th.  The class will meet at TerraLoco at 6:45 pm.


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Warning: The following article will most likely contain TMI.

spitzone2So, I remember when I first started running, I realized I had a problem with sputum build up.  And sputum is not fun when you are wheezing along as a beginner at a 14 minute mile.  Obviously, the solution to this problem is spitting.

I am not a spitter.

I have avoided watermelon with seeds for as long as I can remember. I like watermelon, but I’m not going to sit here in front of the cute boy I like and attempt to send a projectile out of my mouth.  So I only ever ate seedless watermelon (Fun Fact: Seedless watermelon was invented 50 years ago).

So imagine my dismay when I discovered I was going to have to spit.

Let me tell you, the first year was not pretty.  Most of the time, my spit would end up just dribbling down my chin.  On the few occasions where I did manage to get the spit out of my mouth, it would inevitably land on my shoulder.  Or my shoe.

But just like with running, the more you spit, the better you get at it.

I am now really good at spitting while running.  But I still don’t eat watermelon with seeds in it.

The point of this post is that running involves a lot of bodily functions.  Many runners have bowel movements mid-run and tummy troubles.  There is  the sweat (obviously) and the smelliness.  And, of course, the farting.  All in all, unless you are a “glistener” like my sister, you will not look pretty when you come back from a run.

But you know what, that’s kind of the point.  Running is very primal.  It is something we are engineered to do.  It is something our ancestors did long before there were running shoes.  When you go for a run, you let loose.  You find your inner beast and you tackle the trail.  You forget about life for a while, and just focus on the movement.  It doesn’t matter what you look like at mile 10 — you just did something 90% of the population couldn’t, and that’s pretty unbelievable.

My wet, stinky clothes, the spit dribbling down my chin, and the sweat turned to salt on my forehead are my badge of honor.  It’s the proof that I just did something amazing with my body.

My dad is an avid bicyclist, and I remembered being amazed as a kid that my dad would work so hard that all of his sweat turned to salt. There was always a stinky bike helmet and gloves in the sink. Strange as it may sound, that is a fond memory.  I wanted to be strong like my dad.  It took me a while, and I still have a long way to go, but at least I have that sweaty, stinky badge that can only be earned by hard work and quite literal sweat, spit, and tears.

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This is one of my favorite inspirational running quotes.  It puts the temporary discomfort you feel while on a training run in perspective.  Today, that is even more true.

Today I run for Boston.

I run for the child who will never be able to run in his own marathon.  I run for those injured and killed.  I run for the spectators who brave the elements to cheer on their runners.  I run for the people who have lost loved ones.  I run for the marathoners who didn’t get to cross the finish line.  I run for the people who will never run again.

Runners are a strong and resilient bunch.  We will come back stronger than ever, with new recruits, a new passion for our sport.

It’s something small, but today you can run for Boston and for everyone who can’t run.  You can push just a little harder, remembering all of the suffering that happened yesterday.  You can run just a little longer, to finish the marathon for those who didn’t.  You can push aside that little voice in your head that tells you that it is too hard — because you can do it, and it’s not too hard.

Today, I run for Boston.

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