10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Running

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“How did you start running?”  

This is a question that I would like to ask every runner that I come across because it can determine how long you will last.

In my case, my journey in the running started as a hobby toward a healthy body. It provided me to push forward and challenge myself, not only physically but also mentally. 

Now, I can’t think of a future where I can’t see myself running. 

As I progressed as a runner, I discovered simple habits that made my running more enjoyable, which can also apply to you. Here are 10 simple tips:

1. Buy a Good Pair of Running Shoes

The benefit of a good pair of running shoes has been advertised by many runners. It can improve the overall performance of an athlete, as seen on the historic Breaking2 attempt. 

Since there is no one-size-fits-all type of shoe, it must be chosen to give the runner a comfortable feeling upon wearing and injury prevention. 

As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to buy a new pair every 500 to 800 km. Because at that point, the cushioning is already deteriorated and can cause injuries. It is also best to have at least two pairs to allow your feet to adjust. 

2. …with a Good Pair of Socks. 

A good pair of shoes is not enough because even seasoned runners experience blisters in their feet due to friction.

One of the best ways to prevent this is to wear a thick pair of comfortable socks. I prefer the GoldToe brand because of its durability, especially in the ankle area. 

3. Dynamic Warm-up

Warming up is a great way to start any physical activity because it helps loosen up the muscles and prepare the body for the task.

When we were students, we were accustomed to static warming up, which is ineffective and can also cause injuries, based on some studies. 

Dynamic warm-ups, on the other hand, activate the body’s joints by mimicking the movements that will be done during the actual exercise. Examples of these are lunges, squats, and jumping jacks. 

As a rule of thumb, the shorter the run, the longer the warm-up. 

 4. Take it Slow

Running is a great sport with many benefits, not only for the body but, most importantly, for a person’s overall well-being. 

Anyone that approaches the sport with proper conditioning and discipline can expect to run for a very long time.

A common problem for new runners is running too fast and too far early on in their careers. They are challenged by the possibility that they can run long and fast without proper training and preparation. Which frequently causes injury and burn-out. 

The proper approach is never to increase the weekly mileage by more than 10%, often referred to as the 10% Rule in Running.

The only exception is if the runner is only logging less than double digits in kilometers, then adding more than 10% is okay. 

5. Find a Running Partner/Group

Running alone is fun, but running with another person beside you is more enjoyable. 

Running with a partner or group will not only challenge but also encourage you. There are a lot of groups that you can find through Facebook, Strava, and Nike, just to name a few.

Everyone needs a community. 

6. Cool-down

After a tiring run, it is easy to suddenly stop or take a drink. But skipping cool down may cause a delay in recovery. It is best to walk for a little while and stretch after a run. 

7. Plan your week

For aspiring long-distance runners, planning the week is vital. It breaks the run days for a tempo run, speed workout, and long run, padded with recovery runs. 

Failing to plan your week will keep you from being a better runner. You will forever be trapped in mediocrity.

8. Wear comfortable clothes

Every sport has its recommended clothing, not just for fashion but also to be able to perform properly. It is best to wear it depending on the weather of the day. Wearing thicker clothes on cold days while lighter clothes during the hot season.

9. Proper Breathing

This may not be an obvious way to get the most out of running, but if correctly done, it can boost anyone’s performance.

There have been studies showing that breathing at 2-3 intervals for moderate speed and 1-2 intervals for faster speed can improve running form and body mechanics. The interval is done by inhaling for 2 steps and exhaling for 3 steps. 

10. Listen to your body

The best indicator of overall fitness is how your body copes with your physical activities. Assess if you need some rest to recover properly.

At the end of the day, the training plan that you are trying to follow is not really important if your body collapses due to over-training.

Final Thought

You can take running as a casual activity, or you may turn it into an obsession. Different runners have different reasons why they started running. But the bottom line is running is more than just walking fast.

You need to prepare. Even as simple as a sock and breathing can prevent you from performing your best. 

Always remember that not every day is a good running day. You should learn to listen to your body. It is the best indicator of your fitness and health.

Happy running! 🏃🏃🏃

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