With seven years of experience under my belt, it’s safe to say I’ve learned a thing or two about running. I’ll be the first to admit, as a seasoned runner, I sometimes forget that I wasn’t always runner savvy. I’m here to talk about things I wish I would’ve known before I started running in hopes they might be helpful tips for you.
I can’t stress enough the importance of a good pair of running shoes. When I first started running, I got a pair of shoes from Marshalls for less than $30. I’m not saying you need to sell your soul for a pair of soles (#dadjoke), but it’s important to find a proper fitting shoe that also works with your biomechanics.
My first pair of running shoes were a size too small because I went with my usual shoe size. A good rule of thumb is to purchase a half size to full size larger than your everyday shoe because your feet will expand as you run. If your shoes are too small, you put yourself at risk for black toenails, blisters and foot pain.
I also recommend heading to a local running store for a free gait analysis. Staring blankly at a big wall of shoes can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming, but don’t worry. The specialists will spend time with you to get you in the correct pair of shoes.
There are questions I get asked by non-runners, especially this time of year. A frequent one is, “Don’t you get cold in the winter?” When I was a novice runner, I didn’t want to go outside if the weather wasn’t in my favor. I hate being cold! When I trained for my first marathon in 2012, however, I didn’t have a choice. I had to get out there and put in the work if I wanted to see results.
My first training run with the Steel City Road Runners was in a snowstorm. Not only did I survive, I also made a friend I now view as a brother. I didn’t need to dress like Randy from A Christmas Story during that run and neither do you. If you’re not sure what to wear, Runner’s World has a great tool! Also, I often tell people to dress for the finish and not the start.
Yes, there are going to be times when the treadmill is necessary due to unsafe conditions (i.e. ice, negative wind chill). However, for me at least, I usually opt outside. That’s why we train. You will become stronger from these character building runs – not only physically, but mentally as well. Plus, you never know what can happen on race day. If you live in Pittsburgh, you know that we can sometimes experience every season in a week’s time.