**I don't know why this didn't post as scheduled on Friday. Bummer!
This is hopefully going to be a new theme for me on Fridays. I'm just a regular girl, who's had her fair share of weight and eating struggles, trying to figure it out for good, in order to give the right legacy to my three daughters.
I've had several comments over the course of the past months about how to start running. I never thought I would consider myself a runner. In fact, for many years I said "running is the one exercise I just can't stand." But then one day, my sister talked to me into a run with her. I ran 1 mile without stopping (although I'm sure it was a slow mile). And I was hooked. I only run for myself, I only compete with myself. But I gain so much more than exercise from running, and that is why I keep doing it.
So for the next few Fridays I want to share my own ideas and tips for starting to run, and finding out if this is the exercise for you. I am NOT a professional. I am NOT trained. This is just me.
So, STEP 1: GEAR
Before you even take a step out of the door, make sure you have the right gear.
Don't necessarily go out and spend $100 on running shoes, if you aren't sure you're going to keep running. But do run in decent shoes. Go to Ross, Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack, Kohl's and look for a good deal on a pair of shoes that feel good. Try several in multiple sizes. I was wearing a 1/2 size too big for a few years. If you do stick with running, get your stride analyzed (lots of running stores do this) and they will recommend the right kind of shoe for your stride. Yes, they can be expensive. But worth it. (Running stores often have small clearance sections of shoes that have been returned and can't be sold as new.)
I think socks are almost more important than shoes in the early stages of running. Buy running socks. Again, you can check stores like Ross for discounted socks. Or you can find them at your local sporting good store. There are thin running socks and ones that are thicker. I like both. If there is one thing you splurge on, make it socks. I ran my first race (4 miles) in non-running socks and I had the worst blisters by the end.
I don't recommend running in your sweats and a tshirt. There are much better options out there! I don't like loose clothes that "swish" on me. Target is a great place for exercise duds. Bermuda spandex shorts. Good sports bras. Lots of tank tops. Personally, I don't like tank tops with built in bras, some do though.
I've found that even with regular washing and drying, my exercise clothes last for years. I've had the same Adidas running capri's for 4 years that I got at Costco for $20. They are just now starting to get a hole, but I still run in them. So, exercise clothes are worth the investment. I don't own too many sets of clothes though. In fact, for a couple years I ran in the same outfit a few times a week at the lake. I decided that people must have thought I was the crazy lady pushing the double jogger who always wore the same clothes!
If you are self-conscious about your weight, you are probably thinking "there is no way I'm going to be in spandex." Let me tell you though, it's really not that bad. It will save you a lot of discomfort from chafing. And they always say that clothes that fit your body make you look better anyways, right?
4. Other gear
If I'm running outside, I have to wear a hat. I sweat a lot, so I need something to catch the sweat! It also protects my face and eyes from the sun, making the run more comfortable and hopefully avoiding excess wrinkles. I usually wear one hat until I wear it out. (again, crazy lady who always looks the same) My current hat is a Nike Running hat I got at Ross for under $10.
If I'm running on a treadmill I'll wear an exercise headband (again, less than $10 from Ross) because I also have a towel readily available for wiping away the sweat.
You don't need an iPod or mp3 player for running, but it can be nice. Some people never run with one.
Don't worry yet about any running tech toys like Nike+ or Garmin.
STEP 2: Find your route and walk it.
I would recommend starting with a 2 mile-route. Meaning you start, go one mile and turn around.
Check out and see if there is a running path in your area, or a beach boardwalk or lake. Or if you have a good neighborhood to run in, plot out a path.
Map My Run is a great tool! You can pick a starting point and plot a route and it will give you the distance. You can choose a street view or satellite view. You can also access runs other people have made and saved in your area.
Once you find your route, walk it; at least once, if not more. This will familiarize it to you. You will be able to visualize different points along the route.
That's it for today! Long enough I think. Tune in next Friday for the next step.
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