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Running, in its simplest form, is one foot in front of the other. That is exactly where you start if you have arrived at the point in your life where you want to become a runner.
Here are 10 simple steps to help you achieve your goal.
Step 1: Since running is one foot in front of the other, make sure that you are putting your best foot forward. Head to a specialty running store and get properly fitted for running shoes. Ask to speak with their most knowledgeable employee and tell them your intention of wanting to become a runner.
Tips while picking out your shoes:
- This isn’t a fashion show. Do not pick shoes based on color.
- Try on different brands of running shoes. You may only recognize one or two of the brands there, but don’t only stick with brands you know. Try what the store suggests.
- Accept the fact that your running shoes are going to be 1/2 a size or more larger than your regular shoes. They are made this way on purpose. Don’t fight it.
- Have the employee watch you run in the shoes.
- Be prepared to spend $100 or more on your shoes. Remember- this is an investment in yourself. Good running shoes are worth their weight in gold.
Step 2: If you are a lady, the next most important piece of equipment you need to buy is a sports bra. If you can afford the sports bras sold at the specialty running store you bought your shoes at, consider purchasing one there. If that isn’t in your budget at this point, check out places like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Nordstrom Rack, where you can find brand name sports bra’s for less. If you are larger chested girl, you can find sports bras that supports, encapsulates, and eliminates the bounce. You do not need to wear two sports bras. If you are at a store where someone can properly fit you in a sports bra, consider asking for help. You would be surprised at how many women are in the wrong size bra.
Step 3: Buy a watch, download an app like Map My Run, or get the timer on your smart phone ready. For this step, you can spend a lot of money (GPS running watch) or NO money (free apps like Map My Run). The goal here is to simply see how far you have gone and how long it has taken you. If you are someone who prefers to keep track of minutes and not miles, then a timer or regular stopwatch works fine.
Step 4: Set a goal. Maybe your goal is to run a mile without walking, or maybe your goal is to complete your first 5K race. Whatever it may be, write it down and post it where you can see it daily. Dreams can become reality once you make them goals.
Step 5: You have your goal. Now you need a plan. A road map, if you will. Decide realistically how many days you want to be active. Pick a time of day that you know you will be available to run, and won’t make excuses. Remember that everyone is busy. If you want to become a runner, you have to make time. No one said this would be easy, but most runners would say it is worth it.
Step 6: Buy a book to learn about your new sport or search for a free online training program. Make sure to read reviews on the book your are picking so it fits your needs.
Step 7: If you have extra cash in your budget, do this step . If not – skip and move to step 8. Running is more comfortable if you are wearing moisture wicking clothing. Buy a running outfit and only wear it when running. Apply this rule to your running shoes as well. Keep your running apparel and shoes only for running, so your mind knows that when you put them on, it’s time to go running. Body Glide is a life saver for those of us who chafe. Don’t know if you chafe? Be on the safe side. Buy it, use it.
Step 8: Decide you are not going to accept anything but the best from yourself. You aren’t going to quit. You aren’t going to make excuses. This may not be fun for a long time. I’ve run 27 marathons and I’m still convinced the first 3 miles of every single run are the worst. I have thought about quitting runs and quitting running all together more times than I will admit. If you want to become a runner, you have to stick with it when the going gets tough.
Step 9: Get dressed, put on your watch or grab your phone, lace up your shoes, walk outside.
Step 10: Run. No one can give you the title of runner except you. Set your mind on your intention to run, put one foot in front of the other, move forward and voila – you are runner. It may not be pretty, it may not be fast, it may be hard, and it may only last a minute or two at first. But I promise you it’s all worth it. I hated running, wasn’t athletic, and never thought I would run a race. I didn’t even know I wanted to become a runner until I considered myself one. I wanted to lose weight and get in shape. Along the way, I fell in love in the process. Running has certainly given me more than it takes. I hope it eventually does the same for you.