I still remember my first run. I was living in Muskoka at the time and everyone I worked with would run everyday and actually seemed to enjoy it. I figure why not try it out, how hard could it be? I got all suited up and hit the road. After about 500 meters, I literally stopped and walked back. My roommate looked at me and was so concerned because apparently I was ridiculously purple in the face. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew I didn’t want to do it again. I spoke to another friend who tried this running thing out and he hated it as well. We could not understand what this runner’s high was because to me it was torture.
I obviously tried it again and again and began to love it as well. There is something about the fresh air, hitting goals you set for yourself and the fact that I was losing weight that made running all the more enjoyable. Although I am plagued with injuries (bad knees, back and now a sprained ankle) I am unable to run/walk like I used to, I still try to run at least 3 times a week about 10km each time.
If you have hung up your running shoes, here are some tips to get you back on the road:
1. Start off with short distances
Don’t over exert yourself! I thought I needed to hit a certain distance to have a successful workout, which is what turned me off. Set a distance that is reasonable for you and you alone. Do not compare yourself to others and go at your own pace.
2. Proper running shoes
This may seem ridiculous to even mention but it is so so important. Go to a sporting good store in the area and speak to them about your goals. Try on different types of running shoes and make sure they size you properly. When you are running your foot will slide forward and I find going half a size bigger is the way to go but that is just what works for me. Also, do not buy a new pair of shoes and run right away in them. Wear them out a few times to break them in. This will help avoid blisters.
3. Run 20 walk 40
This is something I do when I am not feeling the greatest but still want to squeeze in a workout. If you are just starting out this will help you build your endurance. If your run for 20 seconds then walk for 40 seconds and continue this pattern, it will not only give you a great work out but as you build your endurance you can increase your running time and decrease your walking time.
4. Pick a route that is interesting to you
This is self-explanatory but I love being in nature and being by the lake. I try to plan my run so that I am on the cottage/county roads. This allows me to have mature trees cascade over me and I can get a good look of the lake on the way. I like to do the same route for the most part because it allows me to see the increases in my running to walking ratio. I give myself visual targets, such as when you reach the mailbox you can walk again. I love seeing these targets get extended over time. However, if I see somewhere new I want to explore, I go.
5. Get a good running app
I use Nike run on my android phone and I love it. Not only does it help keep track of your run, distance, speed, and time, it also makes me feel safe. My husband has the app as well, so if I were to get an injury flare up that leaves me on the side of a road he can easily track where I am. Also, some days I come home feeling like I have had the most terrible run and the Nike app will give me an achievement for that day that I didn’t even know I attained. You get achievements for all sorts of things and they definitely give you a boost of confidence in yourself!
6. Stop and enjoy your surroundings
This one is also self-explanatory but if you see a great spot to sit and take in the view, do it!
7. Sign up for a race
I found this to be so helpful. Often when things become difficult for me, I can get discouraged and give up. I signed up for two races the Toronto 5k and the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon (I signed up for the 5k). Every time I felt like giving up, I would remind myself that I had two races coming up and it kept me going. I ran in both successfully and I felt so accomplished in the end. The great thing about signing up for races is that you are supporting good causes (often races donate to charities) plus you get a really cool metal for all finishers and a running kit with your number, t-shirt and other goodies.
8. Do it for you
I run to get me time. I find that I rarely have a minute where someone isn’t messaging me, calling me or I am focused on work. Running clears my mind and helps me connect with my surroundings. I don’t listen to music when I run because I enjoy hearing the birds chirping and nature around me. This is my form of meditation.
There are so many benefits to running not only for your body but for your mind. Hopefully these tips will help you lace up your running shoes and give it a go! If you’re on instagram please follow us @simcoecountyliving and tag #simcoecountyliving on your running journey!