Monday, June 15, 2009


Many times, when I talk about running, or an upcoming race, I often hear people say "I hate running" or "I could never do that."

I understand where they are coming from, because I used to be the same way.

I dreaded running. I played soccer for 8 years, growing up, and it was the worst part of the sport for me.

I would always hear about how many calories running burned, so I would force myself to try to run 4-5 miles on the treadmill, when I first started losing weight.

I hated it with a passion, it would be the longest 45-60 minutes of my life, and my knees and ankles hurt afterwards.

This finally all changed, once I joined a running group. I wanted to check it out, and see what it was all about. My group is amazingly supportive, and full of knowledge. I learned so much from others in the group, and that knowledge gave me the confidence to run 2 10k's, a 15k and 2 full marathons, all in less than a year.

It is not my goal to convince everyone that running is for them, but maybe I can share some of that helpful information, that may make a difference in your running results.

1) Shoes: Running can be a costly sport, there are tons of gadgets and race fees that can quickly add up. You do not have to spend alot of money to be a successful runner, however, if there is one thing that you invest it, it should be a pair of fitted running shoes.

What I mean by "fitted" shoes, is going to a running speciality store, and have them assist you in finding the proper shoes for YOUR feet. Sales Associates at my local running store have spent as much as an hour with me, in the past, in order to find the correct shoe for my needs. They watched me run in tons of different pairs, and based on my form, were able to assist me in finding a pair, good for me. Click here for a running store near you.

Do not buy a pair of shoes because a magazine or friend recommends it. It may be good for them, but may not be good for your needs. This really makes all the difference in preventing injuries, and ensuring comfort.

A good pair of shoes made all the difference for me. It helped tremendously with alleviating my back, knee and ankle pain, while running. In the past, I had just purchased whichever the cutest, pink Nike's were out, but, a once I got shoes that fit me, running was no longer excruciatingly painful. Properly, fitted shoes are the most important piece of equipment, any runner can buy.

2) Start where you are at: I think many times people think they have to be in great shape to run, or be extremely athletic.

I know that is what I thought. My mental picture of a marathon runner was definitely not a picture of myself, it was of an Olympian who was in phenomenal shape.

Most marathon runners are not Olympians, and everyone had to start somewhere. Wherever you are at, is the perfect place to start!

You may be only able to run for 10 minutes at first, that is OK!

I think many times there is the misconception that running has to be extremely fast. It absolutely does not! Just start somewhere, and if it feels too hard, or if you feel like you are short on breath, SLOW DOWN!

No matter what, the first mile for me, is generally the hardest. It takes a bit to find my stride, especially if it is in the morning, I still may not be all the way awake, and it takes some time for my joints and muscles to warm up. I am generally feeling much better, by mile 2. So, if you feel a bit off at first, give it some time.

A program that I hear so many good things about is C25k or Couch to 5k (3.1 miles). This program is designed for those who have never ran before, and walks them through training up to 3.1 miles. The website has links to Podcasts, and other information, on how to navigate through the program.

3) Extras: Properly fitted shoes, motivation and a positive attitude are the essentials to running. Whether it be 1 mile, or 26.2 miles, you can get by with those basics, but there are so many other tools to help you along the way.

  • Tracking your miles: If you are interested in knowing how far you have run, you can track the miles with helpful websites, such as, Map My Run or Running Map. These websites allow you to input your route, and will tell you your distance.

    Or, you can shell out the dough for a Garmin, or other tracking system. I have the Garmin 305 Forerunner, and it tells me my distance, pace, calories burned, heart rate, etc. I find it tremendously helpful, but it is definitely not something that is necessary, to get a good run in.

  • Sign up for a race: I am much more focused and motivated in my running, when I have a race to work towards.

    Racing can be costly, but it is also tons of fun, and a great goal to work towards.

    If you initally sign up for a 5k, it can motivate you to be faithful in your training, and motivated to start building miles. is a great website that list tons of events across the country.

  • Music: I clip my ipod shuffle on, during almost every run. I think I would go nuts without music. I try to change my play-lists up frequently, and I try to post my lists in my blog, each month.

  • Get a running buddy: I would have never progressed as far as I have in my running, without my running group. The positive energy and motivation has really helped me along the way.

    I also run with a co-worker, once during the week. This has helped keep me accountable and motivated. There were probably a few times I would have skipped my run after work, in favor of a nap, if it was not for the committment I made to her.

    I really do not know how people can run whole marathons alone. I would get way too bored, and be more likely to quit, without someone by my side, encouraging and motivating me along the way.

    ***I hope some of this information has been helpful. If you feel like I have left anything out, or if you have further questions, please leave them in the comments, and I can try to find out the answers. I am in no way an expert, but I run with alot of them, so I am sure I can find out the answer, somehow. :)

    Now I would like to put out a challenge to my fellow Skinny Nerds! I would like to challenge everyone to go on 1 run within the next week. So between now, and next Monday, June 22nd, trying running, at least one time.

    I do not care if it is only for 5 minutes, just give it a shot! I know running may not be for everyone, but give it a chance before you rule it out, who knows, you may surprise yourself and find you enjoy it.

    Lace up your shoes, hit the pavement, dirt, gravel or even treadmill, and accomplish this challenge!

    I will post a follow up next week, to see how everyone did.

    Happy Running!

    1. Thank you for posting this!
      And I totally agree about music, I go nuts without it. I love Map My Run too, it's such a great tool.

      I'm totally taking you up on the running challenge :)

    2. What a great post! When I went through the police academy I had to run a lot, and I found that I really enjoyed it. I think the group aspect helped, but I kept running even afterwards. I have since stopped, and find myself missing it. Just tonight I did some light jogging, and it felt so good. Thanks for the motivation!