The guy behind Hella Sound, clydesdale runner and musician John Frenette knows a few things about being famine-resistant.
Recently started running? Looking to shed a few pounds, or just feel better? Righteous. I’ve been there, and have some (hopefully) useful running tips for beginners.
Do a little research
This ain’t crochet, son. You can jack yourself up running. But a little knowledge can go a long way in keeping you healthy and injury-free.
- Find a running for beginners program. The Couch to 5k program is a great start. You don’t know your limits yet; you might push too hard, or not hard enough. It helps to have a guideline to keep training safe and frustration-free.
- Learn good form early. Nothing will benefit you more over the miles than good form. Check out this and this and this and all these.
My favorite running form tip? Run like you’re trying to sneak up on someone. It teaches you economy and landing midfoot (instead of *blam* *blam* *blam* heelstriking).
- Learn about the 10% rule, proper hydration, and proper pre- and post-run meals and snacks.
- Obligatory “Consult a doctor before starting” disclaimer… Make sure you’re healthy enough to start an exercise program. A website isn’t the place to find this out—ask your doctor.
Feed your motivation
Everyone can get inspired and get motivated. Maintaining that drive is the trick. Sometimes you don’t feel like running, or giving up during a run. Here’s some things that can help.
- Running with music. Music can be a huge motivator: it can take the suck out of the grueling parts and make it fun for you to get out there in the first place. If you decide to run with music, we’ve got some proven, road-tested running music that are specifically designed for this purpose.
- Get social. Running is fundamentally a solo sport, but running groups can be incredibly motivating, and a great way to fuel your new routine. In addition, join a running site that allows you to log your workouts and interact with other runners. Nothing motivates quite like helping motivate others; give when you’ve got surplus, and you’ll receive when you’re tanks are running low.
- Be open to inspiration. Read some books. Watch some videos. You’d be surprised where motivation can come from (Will Smith: The Key to Life).
Do a little shopping
Indulging in a little consumer culture can not only outfit you with the right kit, but it can help get you in the right frame of mind. What kid didn’t think they could run faster in new shoes? It’s kinda like that, but for adults.
- Find a good local running store. These folks are valuable not only for the goods they sell, but the knowledge they can share. A good running store will help you get the right shoes—which usually involves letting you take a short trot (like a block) in them to see how they feel. Be wary of stores that don’t let you take a short test drive.
- Get the right shoes. There are so many resources on this subject that we’re not even going to touch it.
- Get some running clothes. Shorts, skirts, shirts, socks—all of these things do actually help your running. Both guys and girls can benefit from this. Are they strictly necessary? No. But the light, moisture-wicking fabric truly does serve a purpose beyond making you look like a runner. Check ‘em out.
- If you’re prone to chafing, pick up some BodyGlide. Ain’t no shame in that.
I started running to trim down and lose weight. I had been a gym rat on and off since I was 16, focusing on strength training and yoga, but never paid much attention to sustained cardio until I turned the corner on 30 years old and started putting on mass. And not the “muscle” kind of mass—I mean the kind that you gain during the holidays that you never quite get off. Granted, I haven’t exactly dropped a lot of weight as a result (which is another story), but I know that I’d be much worse off if I wasn’t running. The rewards I’ve gotten from it far outweight the cost in time and effort I’ve put in.
Some final thoughts: There are those genetically trim, high-metabolism runners that run for health, competition or enjoyment. Then there are the rest of us. We come in all heights, shapes, widths and sizes. And we run for health, competition and enjoyment, too. Don’t believe me? Check the starting corrals of any marathon and you’ll see all types of people. You don’t have to have 3% body fat to be a runner. All you have to do is run. And if anyone says otherwise, you can tell ‘em to stick it, and keep on running.
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