How It All Started (Part III)

Or maybe this should be titled: How YOU can get started

Ok, so horizontal running doesn’t count!!

So the first step is making the decision (not the wishy washy one that includes some sort of “if”  or “but”) to run/walk/jog/be active in whatever activity and keeping that promise to yourself. Step two is surrounding yourself with the right people with positive attitudes and experience with a willingness to teach you and setting incremental goals that continue to push you throughout your journey. And step three… its getting the right the “schtuff” – the gear, the goods.

Listen here. Got a pen? Write this down.

If you can walk from your front door to your bedroom, you can run. I don’t wanna hear all this nonsense about you having some bum knee from when you were in school or you have weak ankles or get shin splints or (insert any other ridiculous excuse here), you can run. Seriously! You can!

But you have to WANT to do it, you have to LEARN to do it right and you HAVE TO HAVE THE RIGHT SHOE FOR YOUR… YOUR FOOT…. NOT ANYONE ELSES… NOT YOUR FRIENDS… NOT YOUR BROTHER/SISTER/CO-WORKER/STRANGER etc FOOT. You have to be fitted correctly to have the shoe match your foot and your stride. This cannot be done at a Big-Box athletic gear store. You MUST go to a small personalized running shoe store to get this kind of attention and guidance.

Next thing… especially if you are a GIRL, just keep your eyes closed. DO NOT PICK A SHOE BY ITS COLOR. DO NOT PICK A SHOE BY ITS LABEL. Pick the shoe that was recommended to you by the run shop at the fitting. It may cost you a few bucks more but once you ask WHY that shoe is best for you and your goals at that time, you’ll receive advice that is priceless.

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These were my first pair of running shoes. They are the Saucony Cortanas. They fit my feet. The pink ones with a really cute flower on the side of the shoe that were right by my Sauconys on the rack were much prettier. But I trusted German Medrazo (owner of Valley Running Company) with his recommendation for me and was right in doing so. I immediately saw the difference in my next run with them… and never wore my old shoes again.  I change out my shoes about every few months because of the number of miles I put on them and how quickly I wear out the soles. German now knows that I trust him and his sales staff there and now makes an effort to order me schtuff in my signature color (orange).

*I highly recommend discussing your running plans/goals with the shop owners that you frequent. They are usually experts in their field and have immense experience in running and race events. In my case, I feel very comfortable now asking any of them at Valley Running Company silly stupid beginner questions like “Why does my nose always run when I run outside?” “What in the world is a fartlek?” “What is pose running? What is Chi running? What am I running?!?!”

A unique kind of friendship has formed as a result. They all cheer me on and support me out on the trails and in the races.

With no offense to the sales person at Academy, the level of assistance I have received from VRC has been unparalleled. The big department stores are not built to service customers like us in this stage of the journey. Had I begun to run with pretty shoes on sale, I know deep down in my heart that I would have developed shin splints, hurt myself in my first few runs… and given up on running all together.

And that happens a lot to a lot of people!!! They give up thinking its because they think they just cannot run when its actually a wrong shoe choice.

More little side notes: choose a good sock.

I personally will not run in any sock other than Balega. Cotton socks worn for long distance runs will give me blisters. They are a bit more expensive than your regular cotton socks and you need to learn to wash and dry them correctly so that they don’t go out of shape or wear out but you won’t get blisters with them. And in my book, that’s sooooo worth $5 more!!! You can shop around and see if you find others that you like better… but it’ll cost you!

Compression socks: got shin splints? These help. I could NOT have finished my second full marathon without them.

Got thick thighs? Don’t learn what chaffing is. Just trust me on this… start off wearing compression shorts when you run until you feel you could be the stunt double for a Baywatch lifeguard. With all the new pains you’ll be dealing with during the initial part of running, the last thing you need to deal with is a painful rash between your thighs.

For the love of all that is holy!!!! PLEASE WEAR A FIRM FITTING SPORTS BRA. Like shoes, each body is different and all bras are made differently. Take the time to find the right one for you. I lucked out. The Victoria Secrets sports bra was just awful on me. Wal-Marts bras were 1/25 of the price and I can even use them under my triathlon suit and swim in it!!! cha-ching! I can use that savings on my shoes!!!

Don’t run in cotton shirts. When you sweat, they get heavy and weigh you down on the trail. Tech tees wick sweat away and are everywhere. They’re also quite expensive so I’ll share with you some advice… It costs on average about $10-30 to run in a local 5k. Most of the 5ks in my area will give you a finisher shirt. Yep, you guessed it! A tech tee shirt! One that doesn’t cost you $45 (See! I’m your own personal coupon resource now) Run your local 5ks, get a shirt, help a local organization/cause and you also get a great Saturday morning sprint workout!!! What a bargain! Start your run shirt collection ASAP.

Get yourself a good foam roller, tennis ball and golf ball. You’ll learn to love these EVERY night! Get some KT Tape and youtube instructions on how to use it on whatever particular pain/strain you have.  Body glide is also something you’ll eventually need if you refuse to wear compression shorts and want to wear those tiny little crossfit shorts all by themselves.  You should also know that if you buy those cheap popsicle tubes and freeze them but DON’T tear them apart and eat them, they fit PERFECTLY around your calves if you keep them attached together and frozen. This was probably one of my fave tid bits when I first encountered shin splints as I increased my mileage.

Now go back to your running shop that you’ve begun to go to for advice and ask them if they know of any run clubs or classes that you can go to. Classes and clubs help keep you on a schedule.

What?!?!? You’re telling me that you just came back from your local run store and found out that there are NO running clubs or classes in your neighborhood? Well then, click here for information on how to join Team in Training. It’s fool proof so long as you stick to the plan and put in your workouts.

You’ll quickly befriend other newbies that feel just as nervous as you do and buddy up. You’ll get lots of encouragement from the experienced and newbies… it makes all the difference in the world especially on those days when you really don’t want to go run!!!

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