Wellness Wednesday: How to Start a Running Routine

Holly Courville running through a sunflower field.

Holly Courville running through a sunflower field. Photo courtesy of Runner’s World.

Guest Editor: Xina

Running is an area of my life where I make no compromises. Every morning, I wake up thinking about where I want to run that day. I am blessed to live in a run-friendly area where there are many trails and places to run outdoors. Whenever I travel for business or pleasure, you can expect me to pull out my gym shoes (I’m from the Midwest and “sneakers” is not part of my vocabulary) and hit the pavement to explore my new surroundings. I could end up anywhere because I love to run.

Friends, family, and colleagues are fascinated that I run. After a race, I get texts, emails, and Facebook posts asking how do I do it? How can I start running? I can’t run like you because it is too late for me to start. My response, it’s NEVER TOO LATE.

{GW Parkway Race}

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{Start of Detroit Marathon}

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If you are interested in running, I recommend the following tips on getting started:

  1. Get fitted for running shoes. This is always my number one suggestion because you can hurt yourself if you don’t. Find a shoe store that specializes in running and ask a specialist to watch you run so they can recommend the best shoes for your feet. And, don’t be cheap. Expect to spend $120 or more. I burn through 2-3 pairs of gym shoes a year. True story: I wanted to save a few bucks and bought a pair of shoes that were on sale that wasn’t the normal shoe brand I run in. Guess what happened? I fell! That fall took me out of running for a month and caused me to miss a 10-mile race I trained for. It’s not worth skimping on the cost of gym shoes!
  2. Start at your own pace. Fitness Magazine suggests starting off running 20 minutes at a time, three times a week. If you need to rest, take a walking break in-between the 20-minute intervals. Then you can build your mileage and time from there.
  3. Eat foods that are rich in nutrients, low in carbs and lots of vegetables.  When I first started running in my 20s, I ran for weight loss. I had the mentality “I run, therefore I can eat whatever I want.” As I aged, that philosophy went out the door. I gained 20 lbs even though I ran more miles. I now limit sugar, carbs, dairy (I only eat eggs) and basically any food that is white in color unless it’s cauliflower.
  4. Cross-train. Not only do I run, but I bike, spin, lift weights and practice yoga. The more strength and core training, the faster the runs. Cross training increases your endurance. Cross training also helps prevent injuries.
  5. Drink water. I have a friend who drinks one gallon of water a day. I am still working on this goal and I highly recommend you start doing it. Water helps you to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  6. Buy proper clothes. Another question I get a lot is “do I have to buy clothes from Lululemon?” No, running is not about being cute. Although I have some pieces by Lululemon, I look for running clothes that are durable and can wick the sweat away from my body. Running isn’t expensive!
  7. Find a running community. The goal to run a marathon was NOT on my bucket list until I started running with a group. After several runs, I wondered if I could run a marathon. Before I could change my mind I found myself training for my first marathon. Training for that first marathon was tough, and I needed some marathon warriors to help me persevere. If you don’t already have a running partner, join a meet-up running group or look for a running store that hosts weekly runs. Which leaves me to my last point:
  8. Sign up for a race.  In August 2015, I signed up for a 5K race. Although I am currently training for my fourth half marathon, I set a goal to a run 9-minute mile for the 5K. Notice I said goal. I ran the 5K in less than 30-minutes, which will help me to build the confidence I will need for the Virginia Beach Half-Marathon. Goal setting will help you stay consistent to your runs.

All in all, the single most important advice I can give you is to HAVE FUN. Don’t let other runners get into your head. The minute you start comparing your runs to others, you’ve lost the race.

I love to run. Staying active can mean walking, running, biking, etc. I was crushed to learn the French loathe exercise because I was all about living the way the French do. I still do – with a lot more running.

{Chardonnay 5K. Yes, you get a glass of wine at the finish. So much fun.}

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