I like to give people unsolicited advice

Some friends and co-workers have recently started running and have asked me for running advice. (See, sometimes my advice is solicited). I would say, in response to anyone who asks me for running advice, that I am a NOVICE! I’ve only been running seriously for the past four or five years. But, I do love telling people what to do…

Here’s the basic rundown I give all new runners:

1. Go to your local running store and get fitted for good shoes. It’s worth it. And, you’ll learn all sorts of things about your stride, your foot strike, and whether or not you over or under pronate. Then, continue to support your local running store–they are great resources. Generally speaking, running shoes are good for about 400 miles. Lots of internet tools exist to help you track your workouts and the miles you put on your shoes. I like the one on Runners World, in particular.

2. Expect to wear a half or full size larger than you do for regular shoes. This will help you avoid blackened or missing toenails. (Warning: even with a properly fitting shoe, you may still get ugly toenails). That’s okay, just more justification for regular pedicures, I say.

3. Understand the 10% rule. That means don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% each week. New runners sometimes get overzealous and run too much right at the beginning. Ease into it. There are several good training plans out there that follow this rule. I use a modified version of Hal Higdon’s training plans.

4. Cross-train! More and more people are realizing the benefits of incorporating other types of workouts into their running routines. This not only prevents burnout from only running, but it also helps prevent injury and actually improves running speed and form. I used to have problems with my hips and my knees early on. That is, until I found a “Yoga for Runners” DVD. I have been doing the intermediate DVD workout twice a week and have had zero knee or hip pain ever since. Right now, I’m only running three days a week, doing yoga twice a week, and cross-training twice a week.  Seems to be a pretty good balance for me at this point.

5. Don’t over think your workouts. That’s why the Nike slogan “Just Do It”resonates with so many people. Even on the days you aren’t “feeling it” and you can think of a million other things you’d rather do than work out, remind yourself of the many benefits of working out–better sleep, better health, a more positive attitude, and license to eat an additional 100 calories for every mile you log! By considering your workout schedule part of a daily “to do” list or a scheduled appointment, you are more likely to get it done.

Now, get out there and just do it!

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