Running is a very good form of exercise and leisure activity. A lot of people has already adopted the sport as a part of their daily routine to maintain good health and some have even dedicated their lives on it. Running can be very enjoyable but can also cause injury if not done properly.
If you don’t have any history of engaging yourself to sports or any other physical activities, you don’t need to be afraid of trying to start running. Everyone knows and has the ability to run. Try to start running on your backyard or at the park so that you can feel yourself getting better and wanting for more.
Joining fun runs will be the next step of your running lifestyle. I suggest you can start at 3K or 5K, depending on your preparation and self-confidence. It’s not bad to start with these distances because your legs and feet slowly adapts to the punishment you’re taking race after race. Anyway, your legs and feet will tell you if you are ready to run for higher categories.
1. Running Shoes – Before you hit the road, you need to get yourself a pair of running shoes. You don’t simply go to a shoe store and pick the one which looks nicest or the most expensive pair that a salesman can offer you. First, you need to have your feet checked. This is very important because there are different running shoes for different types of feet. Most of the running stores around the metro are already offering wet test and gait analysis for free. Through wet test and video gait analysis, you will be able to see if you have a normal, flat or high-arched feet which is crucial on buying a new pair of running shoes. Almost all of SecondWind, Runnr and Riovana branches offer these free services to help you decide which shoes do you need. I had both tests on Runnr BGC last year and they recommended me to use stability shoes. You also need to get a pair with a comfortable shoe size, not too loose or too tight. Running on tight shoes can make your feet sore while on loose pair might cause your shoe to fly away from your foot while running. Make sure your shoes are always tied properly to avoid untimely stops for shoe tying. There are lots of running shoe brands available in the market. I highly recommend that you get a pair from Nike, Mizuno, Newton or Brooks.
2. Running Socks – After getting your running shoes, it’s time to compliment it with socks. Most of the runners prefer a light, thin, moisture-wicking pair of socks when running. As for me, I like running on sports socks with a slightly thicker fabric than the usual running socks which will keep my feet cushioned throughout the run. You can also try to get compression socks for optimum performance. Using an ordinary, everyday, cotton socks can make make your feet drenched with sweat and in the long run, might result to calluses and blisters. Keep in mind that your shoes and socks will protect your feet from constant pounding the ground when running.
3. Running Wear – Almost all of the running events are giving away singlets or running shirts upon registration which you can wear when training or on the fun run itself. Some runners prefer fitted clothing for enhanced performance but for me, I want to wear a semi-loose singlet and running shorts. I choose Nike Dri-FIT running shorts because it suits best for me. It is lightweight and improves my hip motion. Some runners prefer running on compression tights for good blood circulation and some even run wearing running skirts for breathability and comfort. For runners suffering with chafing, you need a chafing cream or petroleum jelly to the frequently chafed areas before running. For women, it is a must that they should wear a comfortable sports bra to avoid bloody nipples or excessive bouncing of the breasts. Men experience bloody nipples sometimes but can be solved by wearing a nipple tape. Underwear can be optional for both male or female depending on the running wear but I suggest that you should wear a moisture-wicking, sports underwear for hygienic purposes.
4. Hydration Belt – Those are the top 3 needs of runners but you can also add some gear and gadgets to spice up your experience. A hydration belt should be one of the top of your list when it comes to running investments. When running on short distances like 3K or 5K, you don’t really need it because the hydration stations are already enough for your fluid needs. However, if you feel that you might need to get a drink more frequently, you should have a hydration belt. These belts feature two or four hydration bottles which you can fill in with water or your favorite sports drinks. It also acts as a belt bag which you can hold your personal stuff. I suggest to bring your wallet (or even pieces of paper bills), mobile phone and medicines with you always for emergency purposes. Some belts act as a bib holder too so that you don’t need to experience the hassle of putting your race bibs in place using safety pins. I use a Salomon XR energy belt with two bottles containing Gatorade grape every race day.
5. Running Watch – Some people, like me, want to track speed and improvements every run. A simple watch with a lap timer will do if you want to measure how much time you can cover per lap on a track oval or a certain distance. Timex offers cheap running watches which are durable and can cover multiple lap times. However, some watches are powered by GPS and can read your speed, pace, elevation and more. If you really want to get serious with running, get a Garmin sports watch. Their Forerunner models are really top of the running watch market but isn’t really a good choice for penny pinching individuals. Soleus GPS can give you the same GPS tracking for a cheaper price but of course, the features are lesser than the one ones you can get on a Garmin. After tracking the data on your runs, you can upload it on a computer and use the data logging feature. Suunto watches (matching with a foot pod) can save your running records and post it at a social networking website MovesCount.com. If you have a GPS-enabled smartphone, there are lots of apps you can choose from which can track and record your runs. When you buy an Apple iPhone 4S (or even iPhone 4), your unit is pre-loaded with Nike+ GPS. Adidas has a miCoach app which runs on iOS and BlackBerry OS. RunKeeper is also a very popular iOS and Android running app. Personally, I use Endomondo for my BlackBerry 9700 and my Apple iPhone 4S and I use it for training and even for the event itself. Try experimenting on how you can log your times and be amazed on your improvement day after day, run after run.
My Top 10 Tips For Fun Run Beginners
1. Train hard a week before but decrease activity while the race day approaches
2. Running 48 hours before the race is good but rest 24 hours before the gun start
3. Stretch before and after running
4. Eat a high carbohydrates meal a night before the event
5. Hydrate yourself days before the race, not on the race itself
6. Don’t overeat or overdrink a few hours before the race
7. Be at least one hour early before gun time
8. Read, research and ask a lot about running
9. Concentrate, focus and never quit until you reach the finish line
The photos from this blog post was taken from PCPF Run With Doctors 2011, my first official fun run.
Have fun running! 🙂