You know that saying, “Be who you needed when you were younger”? It’s become a guiding principle of my business, the main driver for becoming a personal trainer in the first place. So I put together my top 5 things I wish I knew when I started running, and I hope you find them beneficial.
- Running is simple, but our lifestyles have made it complex. From shoes to sedentary jobs and commutes, we have altered our natural body alignment, and it takes most people some work to run with good form. Get fitted for shoes, and master some basic body alignment and running form drills before hitting the road. I highly recommend the books, The Running Revolution by Dr. Nicholas Romanov and Alignment Matters by Katy Bowman. I also really like shoes with a “J” frame. Go for fit over brand — I’ve run in at least 6 different brands and I’ve loved them all for different reasons.
- Strength train, strength train, strength train. If I had only picked up some heavy weights and hired a coach to show me proper form 10 years ago, I believe I would have saved countless years of pain, injury, and physical therapy that amounted to little running progress.
- Mindset matters. Your perception dictates your reality. Often, if you think you can’t do something, you won’t do it. This really matters in running, especially when you’re hurting at the end of a race, lungs and legs on fire, and your body just wants to stop. You have to get mentally tough for these exact moments. For more on this, I highly recommend Deena Kastor’s book, Let Your Mind Run. Deena holds the American women’s marathon record.
- Find a running buddy or 2. While you may use running as “me” time, those long runs or even shorter speed workouts can be hard to go at alone. Knowing someone is waiting for you at the trail or the track is some extra motivation when you’re not feeling a run, and talking with a friend without the normal distractions does wonders for the soul. I joined a local running group and I’m so happy I did! (If you’re a female runner in my area, check out SWIFT or message me for more information.)
- Fuel your fitness. I use this hashtag a lot, but it’s so important. While you’re racking up miles each week, you’re going to need to eat more. Don’t fall into the 2 traps I often see: 1) ignoring the hunger so that you’re fatigued from too few calories, or 2) eating a lot of calories but you’re still not feeling energized enough because they’re coming from less nutrient-dense foods. While you’ll definitely have more calories to play around with when you’re running, if you’re using them to eat a bunch of candy, chips, and fast food, you’re not going to feel as strong on your runs. Conversely, if you don’t eat enough food, you’re setting yourself up for fatigue, illness, and/or injury. Fuel your body with delicious food and enjoy the treats, too. Eating should be enjoyable, not stressful.