Monday, January 18, 2010

Try These Shoes on for Size

Sure, shoes are literally the things you wear on your feet, but what I'm talking about here is the role that comes with a pair of shoes. For example, if you wear floppy, bright red shoes you are probably playing the role of a clown. Actually, I used to think similarly of the people who would don running shoes. Now I'm happy to call myself a runner, but it hasn't always been that way. I used to think I was too cool to do something crazy like run myself ragged. I used to see runners as people obsessed with fitness and pain. Turns out, that is sort of true but as I started running, I started caring about my fitness too. I realized it meant more to me than I had thought and that it feels really good to see progress. Perhaps you will feel the same way as you experiment with running.
This started out as a few simple tips and turned into a lengthy list of links. Try not to get overwhelmed; I will simplify and give my own tips as much as possible in the future. I just want you to have these incredible resources. Here are some suggestions for getting started with running:
  • Have a goal to work on whether it is a race, goal weight, dress size, or distance. Find a local race at ActiveRunner Search (any and all races) or USATF (a little more complex, but very official).
  • Dorothy already covered the buddy system perfectly. It all applies to running and I insist on a running partner for distances beyond 2 miles.
  • Start out with sessions of about 20 minutes. Run a few minutes, walk a minute, run a few minutes, walk a minute. Get it? Gradually (meaning each session or every few sessions, depending on your progress) challenge yourself to run for more minutes before breaking to walk.
  • If you are training for a race, find a training schedule online. Or if you just want a wealth of tips, here are a few sites to check out: C25K (great system for new runners, plus the left side menu contains Training Plans), RunnersWorld (select Training in the menu beneath the title and there are options for Women's Running as well as several Race Training Plans), ActiveRunner (left side menu has a section for "Newbie Runners," but this site is a little slower than the others).
  • Gear. I plan to post about this more in the future, but there are certain items you absolutely have to have to begin. 1. Running shoes. I think you can get away with spending $40, but I wouldn't recommend anything cheaper than that. You want a new pair of shoes just for running if you plan to do a lot of it. My favorite brand is ASICS so far, but there are several good brands out there such as New Balance (my first pair of running shoes), Saucony, and Brooks. 2. A good sports bra. (Obviously this is intended for the female audience. Men, with a good pair of shoes, you are set to go!) The Women's Running section on RunnersWorld is really helpful in discussing this. Another great resource is this article. Two quick tips from that: add a layer over the sports bra with a supportive tank top (you know the ones with the "built-in bra" that is lousy by itself), and walking an incline can be just as good as running when it comes to toning muscles.
Now that all turned out to be a LOT of information, especially if you browsed the sites. Good news is that you don't need to know it all before you start running. I certainly didn't. You learn as you go; I still learn as I go. Just start trying it out. In future posts I will also be sharing tips from a book I got for Christmas called ChiRunning, which is based on effortless and injury-free running. Sounds great, right? So pick out a pair of running shoes and see how the role fits you. You just might find that you like it.


Dorothy said...

Great article, Emily, with lots of good information. I have a question I'm almost afraid to ask: I'm a very happy walker, but every now and then I wonder about adding a little running. How does one protect the knees when they are....aahhhhh....a little more "mature" than all the adorable young things that I usually see running? Okay, yeah, I mean "middle-aged" people. There are times that I've run a little bit and the next day my knees "tell me about it". I'm looking forward to hearing about the book ChiRunning that you mentioned!

Marae Lindsey said...

great tips. do you use any route mapping sites (to plan how far to run/see how far you ran)? i hear about them then always forget what they are before i check them out.

Kathy Haynie said...

Emily, I will definitely be coming back to this post again to check out the tips and links. Thank you for a comprehensive list! I find that my body is much happier about running (in short spurts) when my weight is in the 140-ish range. More than that, and my knees and ankles give me grief. I'm looking forward to adding some running to my routine when my weight is lower and the weather is warmer.

alee said...

Finding your shoe is so important...Saucony will be the only brand of running shoe on my foot in the future- I tried others because they were cheaper or came in better colors, but they didn't hold my feet as well. My husband is strictly Adidas and my sister is you never know. To get started I think it is better to spend a little more at an actual running store- they will let you return your shoes even if you have worn them (make sure you ask first though!) and so it is easy to try out a few pair in case the first pair you buy isn't your fave. Plus they can measure your foot and such and give you recommendations on which shoe would be best for your foot. I highly recommend it- running can be down right painful and miserable if you have on the wrong shoes!

Katie said...

I had totally talked myself out of running since it's "hard on my bad knees" (that's my excuse, but mostly I'm just bad at it), but your post has made me change my mind. I'm going in to see the physical therapist this Friday and as long as he says it's okay, I am going to give running another shot. After all, that is how Alex and I lost all that weight and started getting healthier a few years ago during the Christensen Family Health Challenge. Woot wwot!

alee said...

Word. And it is the only thing that has kept most of it off for me because you know I went back to eating handfuls of chocolate chips!

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