Hubby: “I’ve seen you run.”
Me: “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Hubby: “Well…it makes me nervous.”
Fall beckons, and this time of the year allows me to reminisce six years ago, when I decided to run a half marathon. Without running one before. Without running even a 5k before. Without being able to run a mile.
I conned my best friend into training with me. I’m pretty sure she’d never run a 5k before, either. Also, neither one of us were really athletic. We had a pair of tennis shoes, but they were the shoes you wear to the store or if you were going to the lake. They weren’t “running” shoes.
We didn’t know about sweat wicking shirts or Brooks shoes or what a fartlek was (I’m still not 100 percent sure). We just laced up our shoes, threw on a T-shirt, and started running.
That’s pretty much what I do now, too. Grab an old T-shirt, lace up the shoes (though I do have a pair of actual running shoes), and hit the road. Running is one of those activities that you can do with minimal prep work or equipment. That’s one of the reasons I love it.
Since we do have a new fall, a new academic year, and new races (including the Sisterhood’s Great Pumpkin Dash) approaching, I thought it might be appropriate to address some of the questions I had as a new runner – maybe you have the same questions about running that I did.
4 New Runner Questions Answered
Question 1: What is considered a good pace?
I asked this question over and over and only found a good answer through time and experience. I never got a definite answer out of anyone because running is such an individual sport. A 12-minute mile might be a great pace for you, or an 8-minute mile might be. Personally, a 9-minute mile is what I strive to hit for race day, but on everyday runs, I usually hit a 10-minute/mile pace. On the other hand, Caroline Rotich, who was the first woman to cross the finish line for this year’s Boston Marathon, has a personal best marathon record of 2:23:22. My math’s not that great, but considering I finish half-marathons around that pace, I’d say she outpaces me just a bit.
So again – it’s really up to you as to what a good pace is. But remember this: whether you run a 6-minute mile or a 15-minute mile, if you’re running – you’re a runner. Welcome to the pack.
Question 2: Do I need special equipment?
Yes and no. Truly, if you have a decent pair of tennis shoes, a sports bra, a T-shirt, shorts, and socks, get outside and run. However, I will say, having decent “equipment” makes things a lot easier.
I ran my first three half-marathons wearing Ascics Gel-Nimbus shoes. Unlike my first running partner, who lost toenails in our halfie training, all of my toenails were intact before and after race day. If your feet are hurting after a run or you are losing toenails, it may be due to poorly fitting shoes. Get fitted for some good running shoes, and your feet will thank you.
Speaking of your feet, invest in good running socks. My favorites are the Balega socks. They are soft, they are supportive, and they last through numerous washes.
As for sweat wicking shirts, yes, they are pretty awesome. They’re also fairly expensive, so I generally stick with my T-shirts from college and Nike shorts.
Question 3: What do I need to eat before and after a run?
I don’t eat anything before or after a run. I will occasionally take a concentrated portion of Advocare Spark when I have early morning runs to help me wake up (4:45 a.m. hits me like a hammer), but most of the time when I run in the morning, I roll out of bed, brush my teeth, take a quick sip of water and head out. As for afterwards, I just eat normally. Try to eat well the night before and drink lots of water, especially if you have a morning run.
When I was pregnant, I used to get nauseous during my morning runs, so midway through, I’d eat a banana. I’d suggest the same for anyone with diabetes. My husband sometimes gets a low blood sugar during his runs, so he’ll either take glucose tablets with him or eat peanut butter crackers before or after the run.
Question 4: What about stretching?
Yes, stretch – most definitely after a run. I need to practice what I preach, too, because most of the time, I jump off the treadmill and hop right in the shower to get ready for work. But stretching is so important to running. I had a friend who would stretch while watching a 20-minute TV episode on Netflix. I thought that was a great idea; I just have yet to incorporate it.
Those were my main questions when I was starting out running. If you have any questions, ask away! I may not know the answer, but even if I don’t, I’ll do my best to research for you!
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