Running doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve always been either or about it, especially when it’s warmer outside. It’s a hard form of exercise to adapt to and takes a while to feel like it’s getting any easier. After my knee surgery earlier this year and being patient enough, I got the go ahead to get back on the trails and have found I love it even more this time.
Before I move on to the tips, I want to take a moment to give a shoutout to two of my biggest inspirations - Justin Levy, whose recovery inspires me and pushes me to go further and Wounded Warrior Project, which I use to remind myself that people who have handled a lot tougher shit have recovered and are back out there so I can't fucking quit.
If you’re thinking about getting started yourself, here are some things that I’ve learned thus far that might help you before you venture out for the first time.
What I’ve learned:
- Get fitted for and spend money on good shoes. If you’re in Boston, I highly recommend Marathon Sports. My friend Tamsen took me there and they finally got me fitted in something that doesn’t hurt my toes nor give me shin splints (they do gait analysis and returns). Hello Newton and Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit. Do not get attached to a brand, get attached to a shoe that works. Listen to your body here, not your fashion sense.
- Lacing your shoes can be done multiple ways for a better fit. I’ve went traditional, gave the following few a shot as well tried these types of lacings.
- Socks matter. I won’t go out now without my SmartWool socks. They’re not inexpensive, but they work. Blisters don't. These socks help me avoid blisters. Also, get the right size socks. You don’t want extra material sliding around which will also lead to blisters. Blisters bad.
- So do good bras (ladies). All I have to say here is Moving Comfort.
- Buy Body Glide. You’ll need it at some point or another, especially for rainy runs.
- Eat wisely before and after. Don’t withhold the water, especially in the summer. If you don’t want to wear a hydration pack, a ruck sack, or carry a water bottle, then find a place to run with a water fountain or leave a reusable bottle on the trail if running a loop.
- I love Justin Timberlake. I know, it surprised me too. Don’t Hold the Wall, Strawberry Bubblegum, Not a Bad Thing, That Girl, Suit and Tie (the moves), Tunnel Vision (NSFW version), Pusher Love Girl, and Mirrors (yes, that one) have gotten me through my toughest runs. I also dance in my head while running. (I know one of you are laughing now, I’ll find out who it is, you know?) Find a new album or musician that you’ve always wanted to get into and use this time to do it. Also, stop laughing.
What I love:
- Everything after the 1st mile. The first mile is shit. I want to stop before I've started. After the first mile is the stuff that happiness is made of. Stick it out for this.
- A break from the world. When I’m out for a run, I use the time to take a break from the rest of the world. Breaking news can get to me (SCOTUS ruling), texting can get to me (family and friends), but otherwise, it’s my 1-2 hours to be alone. As an introvert, I need that time and need to decompress from everything else.
- Thinking time. Being in an agency setting, I’ve noticed that the go-go-go nature keeps me on my toes, but also removes the time to think problems through critically and from all directions. When I take the break from the world, it allows my brain to turn things over and come back with a different perspective.
- Physical benefits. Let’s just say I’m happy with my progress so far. :)
- Sleep. Need I say more?
By all means, hate running, but find something hard to focus on that clears your head, keeps you active, and helps you manage your health. If you are running, let me know the lessons you've learned that I've yet to pick up on or I have to look forward to.
Now....to run, ruck and try this Spartan Race thing out some day soon. ;)