How to Run

by Caroline Merena, RRCA Certified Running Coach



You probably took your first running steps at about 18 months of age, so you’ve already got the basics down, but here are some tips for going for a run:

  1. Get some decent shoes. Odds are those Chuck Taylors that went so well with everything on your trip to Yosemite or those Nikes you got at DSW aren’t all that great for running.  Most specialty running stores will do some sort of gait analysis and fit you for free. You are only kind of obligated to buy the shoes from them once you pick some out, but it’s a good idea because most offer easy returns and can help you readjust if for some reason the shoe isn’t right for you.
  2. Get some clothes. If you stay with it you will end up with a dresser full of running clothes but while you are building your wardrobe stick to the basics.  Depending on where you live, even in winter, you can usually get by with 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of tights, 1 short sleeve shirt and 1 half zip, which is a long sleeve top with a zipper. A lot of people will add a jacket, which is usually good if you are moving slower and not generating as much heat.  You also need a hat, a pair of gloves, non-cotton socks and if you are a chick, a good bra.  Please get a good bra.  I see so many of you out there without a good bra and it just looks miserable.  No cotton anything.  Tech fabrics breathe better and help regulate temperature. You should dress as if it’s 15-20 degrees warmer than it is.  If you over dress you will sweat and then actually be colder.
  3. Don’t feel self-conscious. No matter what your starting point is, any experienced runner will just be psyched to see you out there. We think it’s weird when you don’t run. Take walk breaks, breathe hard, whatever you have to do. We’re just glad to see you even if we’re too involved in our own inner running world to give you a little wave.
  4. Find some partners in crime. Get a coach, join a group, sign up for a running program to get you started. Yes, there is such thing as a solitary runner, but for most of us it’s easier in a group.  Humans evolved hunting and running in packs.  Find your pack.
  5. Find your route. A lot of towns have running and biking trails.  Be careful of secluded, wooded ones.  If you need to run in one of these, find a buddy or go at peak times when a lot of people are out, morning, lunch, after work.  If you are running on a road, run facing the oncoming cars.  This is opposite what you do on a bike but you want to be able to hop out of the way if a car gets too close.  Finding somewhere without a lot of cars or traffic is nice because it helps you chill out and focus on the run.  No, really it’s fun.
  6. Set minimal goals. Be realistic about what you’re actually going to do, and maybe even underestimate it and then add on if you find that working out.  At the beginning of each week think, how am I going to fit in my runs? And then build in an alternate time in case something comes up. Two or three runs a week for a beginner is plenty.
  7. Make it a priority. Life will come in and schedule things on your running time, but try to resist. Make a list of things in your life that are important and things that are urgent and then a list of things that are both and put running in that category.  Give it the same importance as a doctor’s appointment, your kid’s parent teacher conference, or any other appointment that you have to keep.
  8. Step out the door and run.
  9. Have fun.   Stick your arms out to the side and pretend you’re an airplane.  Run up to that statue you always wondered about.  This is one of the few times as a grown up that you get to go out and play.
  10. Hydrate, rest, repeat.

You can run with Caroline and ArCTIC’s other running coach, Melissa Roy, during our Master the Miles Program.

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