Completing a race or *becoming a runner* is a pretty common FitGoal, but the concept of *becoming a runner* is not something out-of-reach — no matter what level of fitness you’re at. Incorporating running into your fitness routine doesn’t need to be scary, you just need to know how to start!
1] GEAR UP
There’s no right or wrong way to select the best fit gear for running, but when picking it out, make sure you shoot for comfort. If anything throws you off [leggings slipping down, shorts riding up, tank sleeves falling, etc], it can be super distracting. Focus on what makes you feel good — if you feel good, you’ll look good too. ; )
2] DON’T FORGET THE KICKS
Make sure you do your research + find a store that can analyze your walking//running + give recommendations on a shoe that is best for your feet.
3] PREPARE YOUR SOUNDTRACK
Music that motivates you will keep you moving further + faster than you might have thought possible. Not sure where to begin? Try out one of our 8tracks playlists! ; )
4] GRAB A RUNNING BUDDY
If you have a CHAARG chapter at your university, run with your girls! Many chapters host a weekly morning run that’ll take on a different distance to match your comfort level. These runs allow you to get some morning miles in before class + connects you with other girls at your chapter to motivate you ++ keep pushing you a little farther each time.
If you’re a Virtual CHAARG member, make sure to connect with your fellow #VirtCHAARGies. Some girls will organize + partake in monthly running challenges that aim for a particular mile total within a month, + this is a great way to push yourself to get out there + run a little more!
5] FIND THE PROPER LOCATION
If you’re just starting out, find a place that is simple + relatively flat. Hilly + dynamic landscapes can be a fun challenge once you’re more comfortable running, but there’s no need to intimidate yourself from the start.
6] RUN SAFELY
It’s easy to zone out and get distracted when you’re running, so make sure you stay safe in your surroundings. If you’re on a road, run against traffic so that you’re aware of vehicles around you. ++ wearing bright, reflective clothing is optimal if you’re going out when it’s dark.
7] DON’T SKIMP ON THE CROSS TRAINING
Injuring yourself while running is very easy, but there is a solution! Cross training is not only great for your overall fitness, but it can help prevent injuries by strengthening your supporting muscles.
8] SAVE TIME TO STRETCH
Incorporating a cool down period after a run to walk + stretch will help with avoiding stiffness + injury in the hours ++ days after a run.
9] FIND A ROUTINE
Setting a schedule for yourself helps you to prioritize + commit to running. Designating a day at the beginning of each week as your *scheduling day* will help you get into a routine of making time for your workouts each week.
10] REGISTER FOR A RACE
Registering for a race gives you some guidance on the frequency + the distance for your training. [++ while you’re at it — check out our tips for owning your next race ; )].
11] REST PROPERLY
Pushing yourself too hard or too fast can cause serious injury [#ShinSplints]. Make sure you give yourself a couple days of light // low-impact exercise, like yoga, each week in order to give your muscles time to recoup.
12] CHANGE IT UP
Instead of sticking to the *same old, same old*, use running as a way to challenge yourself. Try shooting for longer distances, mixing up speed intervals on a shorter run, or combining sprints with plyo exercises. If you normally run on a treadmill, challenge your body to a trail run.
13] DON’T BE AFRAID TO WALK
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned runner, there is no shame in walking! Giving yourself a little break here + there [like taking a break to walk to a light post or street sign a bit down the road] is a much better option than burning yourself out + quitting.
14] FOCUS ON LENGTH OF TIME, NOT SPEED
When you’re first starting out, it can be easy to get discouraged by your pace, but there is no shame in conquering a shorter distance. Now matter how far you go in 20 minutes [even with walking breaks!], you still ran for 20 minutes + that is definitely something to be proud of! Your pace will improve as you get more comfortable + grow stronger.
Running doesn’t need to be a production or a chore — the most important part is beginning. Each step you take is an accomplishment. There is no need for disappointment if you don’t get there quite as fast as you’d like or if you had to walk every so often to make it to your finish line.
Don’t be afraid to be *imperfect* — there’s no such thing as a *perfect run* anyway ; ). It’s normal to look back on a run + think that you could have gone faster or you could have paced yourself better. Every run gives you the opportunity to improve in a different area [pace, endurance, technique, etc] — focus on making small strides instead.
You don’t need to be a marathoner or sustain a certain mile pace to be *a runner*. When you run — be it a half mile or 13.1 of them — you are a runner! Never be afraid to call yourself a runner. You’ve pushed yourself to try something that challenges you — you’ve earned the title. : )
+ Ali [ali.inchaarg], virtCHAARG girl from Philly