So a few good friends of mine have asked me if I have any tips for starting to run again. After viciously texting them, which I do, I decided to compile them here for anyone interested in starting the journey:
SONG LIST First off, I ran by songs. My dad and I always play a CD in the pool and that is the amount of time we walk around, our shared workout. This was the same concept for me. I call each song 3 minutes and makeup a time I want. I started with 10 songs for a 30 minute run, for example. I AM TELLING YOU THIS IS EVERYTHING! I didn’t look at time or pace or anything at first. I just focused on finishing that amount of songs. Some say they prefer podcasts. I am not into a lot of podcasts, but it makes sense to me as well. Pick an amount of time and just don’t look until that is over. For you readers, if you are into audio books, I would imagine that would feel amazing getting two things done at once.
“In his book Inside Sport Psychology, Dr. Coastas Karageoghis claims that music can increase your running performance by a hefty 15 percent, but only if you’re a certain type of runner.” I guess I am that kind of runner.
PREPARATION Make sure you have everything. This sounds simple, but it isn’t. A routine is key with your stuff to run. I started to keep everything by the door. If you leave and you’re uncomfortable, you will inherently want to come back. The run is ruined because your head is ruined. For me, the essentials are: running headphones fully goddamn charged Michie, fully charge phone with downloaded playlist, running socks/ sneakers, temperature appropriate clothes (less is more– I am ALWAYS too hot) Being out in the dark adds gear, being out in the cold adds gear. Preparing ensures your run will suck a little less and maybe you will go that much farther because of it.
RUNNING CLOTHES Since this made me think of running clothing, I will say first no one is watching you. This means you should really try to stop caring what people think when you run and wear what is comfortable for you to run in. Again no one is watching you. You think they are. For the most part, no one is watching you. I have become so insanely comfortable with my body running and that is because I don’t care about anything but my run. The running has become the most important thing and so mostly I run with a sports bra and shorts, always faster than when I was wearing leggings and a T-shirt– my original running outfit. I ended multiple runs early on because I was too hot to keep going and I refuse to run in pools of wet clothing. I refuse to continue running when I am that uncomfortable. I want to enjoy my runs and so I carefully choose my running clothes. I even look at the weather like an adult sometimes before I go.
Remember real runners don’t give a f*** what anyone else thinks of them running. Vibe with that. Tell yourself you are a real runner and act like it.
SCHEDULE Make a schedule and stick to it. This needs to become a habit. My current schedule is something like this, or it is a on good week:
Monday – 2 miles
Friday- 2-3 miles
Saturday- long run
Sunday- 1 mile for time
I would suggest some sort of abbreviated version of this for someone just starting. Do half a mile to start if you need to. Whatever distances work for you, make a plan. Choose before the week what you are going to commit to and do it. The distances don’t matter. You can also go by time like I did at first. I will run today for 15 minutes, tomorrow for a half hour. I will run with a friend once a week on this day. Put it in the schedule. Also if you are all about stickers like me, use a sticker chart. I love a good sticker chart. Print out a blank calendar and give yourself a sticker when you do it. Every run will feel that much better I am telling you. Underneath we all love stickers.
Now I am not going to lie, my first schedule was a crazy one, but it really made running a habit. For the first 3 months of running, I woke up every single day and ran at 6:30AM. I mean literally no matter what. I woke up before work daily and sprinted to the shower before meetings. I woke up when I was camping with friends and ran in a hay field. I woke up when staying at my friends, my parents, my anywhere. I did it every single day relentlessly. I would not suggest this to anyone that doesn’t already have a pretty intense fitness routine. When I started running, I was already playing rugby and when I say those runs were still rough, I mean I am primarily a prop so they were ROUGH. The first month was maybe as close to hell as I could have gone in the fitness world and if I did it alone, I would have probably quit. That brings me to my next topic.
COMMUNITY Anyone who knows my teacherly life knows I am all about community and in this case, I am no different. Teachers believe in the buddy system, group work if you will. I found myself some rugby friends that wanted to run more during quarantine since we could not play rugby. We made a little run club and made a goal together of running 500 miles for the year. (Well people humored me when I said I wanted to do this and joined along because you don’t let your rugby friends do stupid stuff alone) We did a few big runs together but mostly just encouraged each other to keep going. We are hitting some insane numbers. Our big goal is 500 miles for this year, but honestly I already got my true goal which was to make running a habit. Friends are everything when you want to quit. I have so enjoyed the runs I have gotten to do with friends and am lucky enough to have had plenty of friend running dates– which I am always up for by the way.
TRACKING I used to hate tracking anything. I still am not the best at it and can’t really keep up daily. However, tracking has been insanely important to my continued running and motivation. The thing that got me going was using different apps that helped me start seeing my numbers. The first app I used was the Nike Running App. This was awesome for giving you a plan and then talking you through it. I really liked the program. This, however, gave me insane stress because when you missed a run for a week, you could not make it up. I strive for perfection and that killed me and my motivation. If you like something that gives you good data tracking though, this app is perfect for you. I switched to Strava, which is also pretty great, but totally different. This gives you the social media of running. You see people you know and make friends. I have a bunch of friends on Strava and it is fun to follow them for running and biking too, actually. I still use Strava for my bike rides. Recently I switched to MapMyRun. MapMyRun is very similar to Strava, with the addition of a voice telling you what mile you are on. This helps me because I don’t look at the phone to see what mileage I am at, but I do get super excited when I hear I hit another mile. It also reads your split time, which eventually made me start caring about my times. When you notice your times getting better, you will start to care, believe me.
MOST IMPORTANTLY Every single run is a good run. That is final. If you go on a run, you must and will be proud of it. You will praise the hell out of yourself every single time. You got tired and went home after a mile? WHAT A GREAT GODDAMN MILE, MICHIE! Every single run is a good run. I do not care what you went out for or if you gave in to the blister. I do not care if you ubered home or asked your mom to pick you up.
Every single run is a good run.
New runners, welcome!