Loving Healthy: The Running Basics.

It all started when I was nine years old. My dad signed me up for my first 5K race. Ever since then, I have always considered myself a runner. Although I have never been the fastest, even when I competed in Cross Country and Track in High School, I have always loved the sport. After 15 years of running, and many ups and downs, I have learned a thing or two and thought I would share with you all my Tips for Running and How to Get Started. Ready, set, go!

It starts with a good pair of running shoes. Don’t go to the thrift store or a second hand store to buy a pair of running shoes if you are seriously considering taking up jogging. Just like a car, every pair of running shoes has a certain mileage, so once you reach 500 miles, it’s time to start looking for a new pair. When you get shoes from a second hand store, you have no idea how worn they really are. Maybe in the future we will have travel odometers attached to our shoes. There’s an idea!

Also, a good pair of running shoes will prevent injury. And, if you are just getting started, the last thing you need is to be dealing with shin splints and blisters.

So, what brand do I go with? That’s the question I get all the time. There is no right answer. Do your research on different brands. ASICS and Brooks are a great place to start. My preference is Brooks Running Shoes. I’ve been running with them since I was 14 and haven’t gone back since. Not only is their brand stylish and comfortable, you can get connected to an entire community of runners that ranges from Marathon Runners to Mom Workout Clubs. Since they are specifically a running brand, their shoes are tailored to you, whether you are a competitive runner or just an every day jogger getting started.

Their motto is something I live by when it comes to the sport of running:
Running is a gift. Run happy.

“Every day with a run is better. Every run brings you closer to your best self. And you end every run in a better place than you started.”

So, getting started. Now, that you’ve found the right pair of running shoes for you, now what?

Get running. Do not set unrealistic goals for yourself and compare yourself to other runners out there. The best thing you can do for yourself is to set up daily goals, which will encourage you to get out there each day and go a little further. The key thing is consistency. The runner who goes out and runs(or even walks/jogs) a mile a day is doing far better than the person who ran 5 miles one day for the entire week. Running is a discipline and discipline starts with small steps, sometimes quite literally.

Find a time that works for you. Typically speaking, mornings are the best time to go workout because it gets your endorphins running(ha!) and gives you natural energy without having to intake any caffeine and experience a crash later on in your day. When you start the day with a workout, you have more energy and clarity to be productive and get things done. But, if you are not a morning person, do not force yourself to workout then. Find a time that works best for you! Sunset runs are just as beautiful as sunrise runs.

Mix things up. Don’t let your running routine be the same thing every single day. You’ll get bored real quickly. Trust me. You’ll know the exact minute the neighbor’s dog will leap across the parking lot and you’ll be looking for the street corner that the elderly couple always crosses together every morning. And, while these routine moments are sweet, there is also excitement when you change it up a bit. So, mix up the times in which you go running. Find trails/paths in your neighborhood and in your city. Take the family out for a morning run on Saturday or get your pup to go with you to the park.

Find an accountability partner. Especially when you are first getting started. It’s much harder to cancel your workout plans when you have someone else who is counting on you. If you can’t find someone or your schedules are too chaotic to meet up with others, use an app for accountability. Nike Running is great for that! I also use the FitBit app to compete in weekend and week challenges with others. If everyone can see your activity, you are more likely to get up and go!

Fuel your body with the right things. Breakfast is vital. It is your most important meal of the day! Follow the PFF Breakfast plan which is Protein, Fat, Fiber. Proteins: Eggs, Nut Butters. Fat: Avocados, Cheese, Nuts. Fiber: Spinach, Apples. Just a few ideas. Sugar for breakfast is a bad idea. This is also why you shouldn’t be loading your coffee up with sugar in the morning, if you plan on having a cup in the morning. (I plan on writing a post on morning routines later on, but there’s your little sneak preview).

When you start getting into long distance running, lactic acid buildup can cause your muscles to burn and just stop working altogether. This is why liquid replenishment is so important. Drink lots of water. Eat before and after you workout. Choose a healthy snack like a hardboiled egg, handful of nuts, avocado, granola bar(that isn’t high in sugar), and bananas to choose from. Magnesium and potassium is super important when it comes to running. I used to hate bananas. In high school, during cross country practice, I used to get muscle cramps due to not enough potassium in my body. Needless to say, bananas and I are best friends now.

Sign up for a race. Whether it’s a 5K, a 10K, a half-marathon, or even a marathon, you will feel more motivated when you have a goal you are working towards. After a couple half marathons and lots of 5Ks, I can tell you that it is 100% worth it. And, after you finish that first race, you will not only feel accomplished, but you will want to do it again. I guarantee you that your endorphins will be singing this to you.

I know that running isn’t for everyone, but I do think that anyone can do it if they set their mind to it. Like most things in life, running is a choice. And, so is happiness. I’m just thankful that part of that happiness comes from the sport of running. There’s something about running that clears your mind, decreases stress levels, inspires creativity and allows you to relax at your own pace.

Cheers until next time, friends! Here’s to Healthy Loving!

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