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Running 101 For Newbies - What You Need to Know

Susanna Sisson's picture
Running 101

Running was the one thing I had always wanted to do and never thought I had the talent. I remember running a race at school when I was about 10 and finding myself so out of breath I couldn’t cross the finish line. That was perhaps one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Then when I was 13, I had a coach who really encouraged running and I bought my first pair of running shoes. I ran cross country, but, still didn’t believe in myself enough to give running a real shot.


Fast forward 5 years and I became a runner, no coach this time, just the will to do it. I had trimmed down during high school, but, was still slightly overweight, and wanted to lose those last few pounds, and walking just took too long. I started out slowly, but, once I got my first taste of that runner’s high, I was like Forest Gump, “I just ran”. I was a bit like Forest Gump as a kid, too, with feet that weren’t quite straight. My inner ankles were always dinged up and in various stages of healing. My pediatrician told my mom not to worry because I would probably make a good runner one day. I guess he was right. My feet eventually straightened out. I think stretching helped. I worked up to about 5 to 6 miles a day 5 days a week and longer distances of 8 to 10 miles or so on weekend. I ran every day. In college a kinesiology professor told me the worst thing I could do was run sporadically. His advice was not to wait more than 36 hours in between runs or it would have a negative cardio effect. When I got hooked on running, I was hooked for life.

Running is a great sport for every age. In June, 2015, a 92 year Harriette Thompson of Charlotte, N.C., finished the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon — her 16th marathon. Thompson, a concert pianist, didn’t start running until she was in her 70’s. [1]

So, what do you need to start running? Just will, desire, and a good pair of shoes. Here is a review discussing different types of walking shoes for men for 2017. I have tried a lot of different brands in the past but have worn NIKE for the last 35 years or more. When I started running there weren’t all the fancy machines that diagnose pronation or supination problems or isolate and analyze a runner’s gait. While excellent tools the important thing is to “Just Do It”. (NIKE ad slogan, 1988) and find a pair of shoes that fits well.

Your Running Shoes

Shoes must be sport specific. If you want to run, buy running shoes. If you want to start a walking program, buy walking shoes. Makes sense, but some people don’t know why. Running shoes can actually contribute to shin splints in walkers. The wrong shoe can also cause foot, knee, hip, and back problems. It is imperative to protect your feet and knees. I recommend investing in an additional shoe insert such as INSOLE and use in all your running shoes. You will have to buy shoes a half to one size bigger to accommodate the insole but I firmly believe this is what has prevented my injuries and kept me running for almost 4 decades. Remove the original insole and use as a template. Cut INSOLE to size and place the insert under the original shoe insert for added shock absorption. Doubling insoles feels like running on air.

Also, it is important to change your shoes approximately every 500 miles. The best time to break in a new running shoe is not race day. Be sure you have done some training in the shoes you intend to wear for any race. Here are 4 tips to make your athletic shoes last longer.

How to dress for running and where to start

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Dress appropriately. It isn’t necessary to go out and spend a fortune on workout clothes but it does help mentally to look the part. Make sure the clothing you choose is comfortable as well as temperature and sport appropriate. Don’t over or under dress. In other words, don’t wear shorts and go shirtless to run in the dead of winter or wear a plastic suit in the heat of summer thinking it will help you lose weight. Frostbite and dehydration are not fun. Don’t wear rubber suits to speed up weight loss because that just causes dehydration. Don’t wear shorts in the dead of winter because you can get frost bite.

Beginners should start with a walk/run program. If possible a track is a good place to start because it’s easy to keep up with distance. Most cell phones have timers so keeping track of time is a good idea. When I started running, I was probably doing about a 15 minute mile walk/run pace which would mean 5 miles took me about an hour and 15 minutes. My time improved fairly quickly as I lost weight. Within a few months I was running a 7-8 minute pace. Believe it or not my fastest time for a 5 mile run was 28 minutes. Not bad for a once fat kid who couldn’t make it around the track! You might want to keep a record of your time, since improvement is a powerful motivator and every second shaved off your time is a victory.

If you prefer, you can run in your neighborhood or at a park. Today there are good apps that allow mapping out a route and figuring out distance.

How to care for your feet during running

Protect your feet from abuse and blisters by wearing good socks. Nothing is more uncomfortable or puts more of a monkey wrench into your training than blisters. If you find you suffer from chronic issues such as blisters in a certain area of the foot, try different brand of shoe or socks. Keep your feet as dry as possible to avoid athlete’s foot. It’s also a good idea to keep your toenails trimmed to prevent injury to the nail and wearing out shoes too quickly. If you find you are still haviyng problems, see a podiatrist. Don't miss: Popular "Barefoot" Running Shoes May Cause Injury.

Hydration During Running

Hydration and nutrition are also crucial. Even in colder months it is easy to get dehydrated and thirst is a late sign. Be sure to carry water. You may also want to consider an electrolyte replacement and there are a lot of good ones on the market. Eat a healthy diet. Personally I use products made by The LIMU Company which are organic, gluten-free and derived from brown seaweed. Being in liquid form, and prepared by cold pressing to preserve the nutrients and live enzymes, it is more easily absorbed than any other sports nutrition I’ve tried. My pre-run drink is called Blufrog2. After a run, I have a LEAN shake with LIMU Original added to replace electrolytes and get my protein. [2] There is also a nutrient unique to brown seaweed called fucoidan. There are over 22.000 studies on this particular component.

Running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise. In combination with weight training and proper nutrition it is a wonderful way to, have fun and lose weight. Before you begin any exercise program see your doctor to make sure you are healthy.

1. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/01/411260984/a-92-year-old-ran-her-16th-marathon-and-broke-a-record
2. www.sisson.iamlimu.com



How about instead of exercising just for the sake of making something to do for yourself actually do something physical in your life that is productive?