Hello resolution runners! Welcome to the wonderful world of running. Whether you're coming here for the first time, or coming back after a long leave of absence, welcome. I'm glad you're here.
I don't want you to become one of the 92 percent of people who will start off the new year with head held high and heart full of good intentions only to succumb to the forces of lethargy by the Super Bowl, so here are six my tips to help making this running thing stick. With any luck, you'll be running next to me in a Fourth of July 5k this year.
1. Get fitted for shoes. Having the proper footwear can save you from a world of hurt. We've got great independent running stores in the region. Find the one closest to you at theirra.org.
2. Sign up for a race. Through your shoes, you've already made a solid $100 to $150 investment in running. That's a pretty good financial incentive to keep you going. Go a step further and plunk down another $20 to $40 to register for a 5k. This gives you a fixed goal, and something to run toward. Picking a 5k can also help you zero in on a training plan. If you're new to running, Couch to 5k, which is online and free, is a popular option. Figure out when you start running, then count out through the schedule and a calendar to what would be your race date. Don't know of a good race? RunningintheUSA.com lists them all. You can also search by state and distance.
3. Take your time. Don't plan to run far and wide on your first jaunt - even if you have a marathon in your past, especially if that marathon came 10 years ago. Your body needs time to adapt to the running motion, and the pressures and stresses that motion puts on you, especially your feet. If you're not quite ready to start an official training program, start out by walking, then add in segments stints. Work up to more running then walking, then you're on your way.
4. Write down what you're doing. These entries don't need to be novels. Jotting down distance and time will do. If you want to get fancy, write out how you feel, the weather and what shoes you're wearing (that way you know when to replace those shoes should this new hobby stick). Marking down your progress will also show you how far you've come in those times when you really don't want to keep going.
5. Don't get bogged down by technology. No, you don't need a GPS watch. You don't even need one of those free apps that track you and barks out updates at regular intervals. Too much information thrown at you at once can be overwhelming, especially if your race goal is to just finish. For newbies, running by time can be easier than trying to hit mileage goals, so anything with a timing device will do. If you are going by distance, you can mark out routes for free with the Google Pedometer at gmap-pedometer.com, or use it to go back over where you ran once you're back at a computer.
6. Run outside, safely. A treadmill can be a powerful training tool, and necessary in terrible weather. But races happen outside, so you want to get used to running outside. That means getting in outside miles in the rain because you never know: It could rain on race day too. If you're running in the early morning or after work outside, just make sure you're wearing something reflective. Safety first.