By Beth Gallini, mom of 2 and a marathon runner
You may be asking Why. Why should I start running? What does everyone love about it? And isn’t it bad for your knees?
It’s not actually bad for your knees – that’s an old wives’ tale! Aside from the obvious reasons people start running (increasing activity, losing weight), there are many other reasons so many people fall in love with running:
◊ Clear your head and relieve stress – Whether work is busy, you are going through a tough time, or you have a problem to sort out, going for a run is a great way to clear your head.
◊ Gain energy – You’ll feel more energetic and reap the rewards of endorphins.
◊ Give yourself “me” time – By taking care of yourself and giving yourself time do something that is enjoyable, you will be a better mom and better able to take care of those who need you.
◊ Achieve goals – Running provides endless opportunities to set goals, work towards them, achieve them, and then continuously repeat that cycle. This fosters feelings of pride and accomplishment and improves your self-esteem.
◊ Set a good example – As a mom, you know your kids are observing you and learning from you. As a runner, you are a great role model for your kids – you are active, taking care of your health, following through with a commitment, and trying new things.
◊ Meet new people – Runners are fun people and they like to be social!
Feeling a little lost? Here are some tips for getting started:
◊ Get fitted for shoes – This is my biggest piece of advice! Don’t buy the shoes your sister loves, don’t use the old tennis shoes in your closet, don’t buy the prettiest shoes, and don’t go to a big-box outdoor store. Go to a specialty running store, be prepared to spend around $100, and get fitted for the right shoes for you. Not having the right shoes is a leading cause of injury and, if you are injured, you won’t be able to run.
◊ Don’t worry about pace or mileage – As a beginner, it is easy to compare yourself to others. Everyone was a beginner at one point and the important thing is you are out there. You may want to start by tracking your runs by time and not pay attention to how far or how fast you run.
◊ Start with a run/walk rotation – You can condition your body and learn to run further by setting up a run-walk-run rotation. Perhaps start by running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute and adjust the time you do each as your body adapts to running.
◊ Don’t do too much too soon – It can be exciting to start something new; however doing too much too soon can lead to injury. Start with shorter distances, don’t run on consecutive days, and slowly increase your mileage.
◊ Follow a plan – Beginner training plans are readily available online or find a group of runners in town.
◊ Have fun – Remember to have fun! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and keep running enjoyable
About Beth: Beth is a stay-at-home mom, marathon runner, and the blogger behind RUNNING around my kitchen. She is a certified running coach through the Road Runners Club of America and offers personalized online coaching services for runners of all levels of experience. She and her husband adopted two boys who are a month apart and just celebrated their first birthday. Beth’s next run will be the Hogeye Marathon on March 29th.