Want to get in on the running craze, but don’t know where to start? Keen to hit the pavement, but not sure if you’re prepared? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
Here’s a list of do’s and dont’s to help you out:
DO: Know your terrain.
Planning out your route on Google Maps is super easy, but it won’t tell you all you need to know about where you’ll be running. Be sure to check out what hills/inclines and main roads are around, and even how much footpath accessibility you will have on your route.
DON’T: Forget to hydrate.
WATER IS IMPORTANT. Drinking water before, during and after a run is essential in avoiding dehydration and all the nasty things that come with it. How much should you drink? This varies from person to person and on how far you’re running, but here are some general guidelines:
Pre-run: Experts recommend at least 500mL before any run. Drink slowly, and give your body time to process before you start your run.
During the run: ALWAYS bring water with you if you will be running for longer than half an hour. Listen to your body; drink when you feel thirsty, and stop if you can feel any kind of sloshing in your stomach, or you cramp.
Post-run: For every hour of exercise you should drink at least 1 litre of water. This doesn’t have to be all in one go (obviously), but make a point of refilling your water bottle as soon as you get home.
DO: Get yo’ self some decent kicks.
When I started running, I bought myself a $20 pair of sneakers from Big W. I used excuses like, “oh, I haven’t been running very long”, “it’s not like I run marathons or anything”, “good quality sneakers are just so EXPENSIVE.”
No, past-me, get your ass down to the Nike store, stat.
Which is what I did, many months later, and it was legit the best decision I’ve ever made. The price was a little scary, but to be personally fitted with shoes that give you all the support you need , and will last so long they’ll probably outlive you? Worth it.
DON’T: Run through the pain.
Ever. Running can be tough on your body, but any kind of sharp, piercing pain (particularly in joints such as knees and ankles) is not normal and definitely not something you want to run through. If you feel any sharp, intense pain, stop and try to walk it off.
DO: Track time instead of distance.
Sometimes we can get caught up in pushing ourselves to run further and further, racking up the kilometres whilst not really gaining anything in the time department. Try instead tracking how long it takes you to run a set distance; it’s a great way to clearly see your progress.
DON’T: Worry about what other people think of you.
There are some people who prance majestically through each run, hair fluttering in the breeze, not a drop of sweat to be seen. And then there are some of us who clomp like carthorses along the pavement, looking like we might go into cardiac arrest at any minute. Point is, running isn’t always pretty. It’s sweaty, hair-in-your-mouth, tights-riding-up-in-uncomfortable-places kind of work, and sometimes you just have to embrace that in all its glory.
DO: Find inspiration on the daily.
Let’s be honest, there are some days where leaping out of bed for our 6am run is just not so appealing. Maybe life’s a little crazy right now, and the last thing you want to do is give up an extra half hour in bed. Maybe your progress has plateaued and you’re feeling a little dispirited. Maybe it’s just really freaking cold outside.
These are the times when you need to be armed with a collection of get-me-off-the-couch motivational tools. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Lay out your running gear the night before so you’re ready to just get up and go in the morning.
- Subscribe to a couple of running/fitness blogs for regular motivation and tips.
- Pack a bag with your running clothes/sneakers and take it to work with you; this way you can hit the track/footpath as soon as you finish.
- Join a regular running group. Check out meetup.com to find some great runners and routes in your area.