With the Philly Marathon completed and the New Year almost upon us, many people have begun contemplating running their first 5K or committing to running a distance they have never run before. There are many great races in and around Philadelphia, with varying lengths that can challenge even the most seasoned runner—but also lend great triumph to those who just want to begin.
The Broad Street Run 10-miler is a great first distance race and many people use it as such. There are things to keep in mind when you are thinking about running or thinking about training for a new distance that you want to consider. There is also the Love Run, a new half marathon coming to Philadelphia. And just about every weekend, you can get out and support a different charity by running a local 5K.
No matter what distance you pick, there are some basics that you should consider before lacing up and running.
All of the information and products out there can be daunting as you look to move into the next distance or run your first race. Some are not as important as others, but you need to carefully consider what you select when you begin your run. Here is a short list of what you will need:
- Proper shoe wear. Long gone are the days that you can log onto the internet and just select a pair a Chucks and start running. It is important that you be fitted for a good pair of running shoes. Places like North Wales Running Company and Philadelphia Runner have employees that are trained to fit specific foot types with specific shoes. Having the proper pair of shoes is imperative when you go running in order to stay injury-free.
- Training program. Training programs are a great way to stay motivated—and a great way to protect from injury. Nothing can take you out of a run faster than shin splints or plantar fasciitis. Training programs, like ones offered at Total Performance in North Wales, allow for the distance to be increased slowly in order to avoid injury. It also allows the ability to have access to medical experts if you are feeling pain so the pain can be taken care of quickly. And they are also a great way to meet new friends enjoying exactly what you do.
- Foam roller. This is a must. Before beginning any running you need to invest in a foam roller. Foam rolling every day, regardless whether you run or not, will allow you to stay, running and performing other activities. Neglecting this step can lead to pain not only when running but also throughout your everyday activities.
- Hand-held water bottle. Staying hydrated especially during the warmer months is imperative. There are many great hand-held water bottles out there. Some people prefer a fuel belt depending on the distance they are running. Nathan makes some great hand held, belt and backpack products. Whichever one you chose just makes sure it is able to fit your keys, your phone and anything else you will need to carry on your run.
- Focus. This cannot be purchased at your local running store. There will be many times, no matter what distance you are training for, that you will be tested. That little voice in your head will tell you to stop more times than you can count. And you will want to. But you need to stay focused and believe that you can do it. You will have bad runs and days where everything feels off but you make time and you get out the door. Staying focused is the only thing you absolutely need and it is the one thing you cannot buy.
Above is a very short list of things that are necessary to run your first race. Talk to 10 different runners and you will get 10 different lists. This is a compilation of working with thousands of runners and athletes of things they find to be the most important items you will need to stay healthy and make it to the finish line. And remember to always consult your medical professional before beginning any exercise regime.