so….running.  sometimes, it sucks.  but I do it.  because 1) I need to get in shape.  2) I love coaching cross country.  3) I love the way it makes me feel.  (AFTER I’M DONE.  not during.)  4) I want to eat more, specifically more z-man sandwiches.

I would say that I am rather new to running.  not super new, rather new.  and running sucks even more if you start when you’re an adult.  it’s easier to get injured, and it’s harder to tell your body what to do.  and it’s hard to get your form right, and to stick with it long enough that it doesn’t suck anymore.  I have done a great job of convincing you, right?  but you can do it!  I am not athletic or strong whatsoever and I do it.  here are five things that have made my life easier when it comes to running. (we already talked about tunes, remember?)

1.  good shoes and socks.  dude, don’t even try unless you’ve got legit footwear.  it will cause you so many problems and there’s no way you’ll stick with it.  go somewhere and get fitted properly.  for kc peeps, gribble’s is good.  they will look at your gait, look at your feet, and your arch, and a bunch of other stuff, and help you find one that works for you.  and get over the cost.  I don’t mean to sound insensitive, I live on a budget too, but shoes are worth doing right.  and you’ll get WAY more use out of one pair of good $80 or $90 shoes than you will two crappy pairs.  it’s not worth getting cheap ones and then having to find better ones when the first ones suck.  if you’re really strapped for cash, you can get fitted somewhere, and then not buy any, and look for the same ones online for cheaper.  I’m a big fan of supporting the local business though, and gribble’s treats us well with xc (and if you’re a coach you always get a discount!!  YES!)  And when you find a good shoe?  stick with it.  I’m on my 3rd pair of pegasus by nike.  (ps, if you’ve had the same shoes for awhile and your feet start hurting, get new shoes and it will probably fix the problem.  shoes will last for at least a few hundred miles, but not forever.)  and DON’T be a dork and buy shoes based on how cute they are.  bad idea. and as far as socks go, find some that work for you.  I know lots of people that can use cheap ones from walmarts.  sadly I am not one of them.  I thought I was going to have to stop running shortly after I started, because I had so many problems with blisters.  turns out I just needed better socks.  and they were a little spendy, but they were worth it.  I only have a few pairs and just wash them pretty often.  my point is, little things (like socks) can make a big difference.

2.  speaking of blisters and such… bodyglide is a lifesaver for me.  my fancy socks help with a lot of rubbing issues, but I have crappy feet (bunions, hammer toes, arch problems…ugh) so it’s still sometimes an issue to have all my toes and such crammed into shoes (this is also a MAJOR problem for me when it comes to nice shoes too…).  the bodyglide really helps in those spots where my toes and such get smashed to not get blisters.  and if you ever get to the point where you’re doing more distance, the bodyglide helps your clothes not to rub too much in spots.

3.  hats.  I am SO. NOT. a hat person.  hats looks really stupid on me in general.  but in the summer?  and honestly for most of the year?  a hat helps so very much.  sunglasses are something I can totally not do when I run, and a hat helps me to not have to think about squinting or anything.  less distracted = better run.  and when it’s really hot it helps so much with the sweat.  especially now, when it is hotter than hades, having sweat run into your eyes is the WORST.  I have one buddy on xc that is also a hat fan, and he and I try to convince the rest of the team that hats are awesome, but we are unsuccessful.  but please get a lightweight running hat or it will just make you sweatier.  headsweats are a good choice.

4.  okay, this is a little ridiculous, but I have found that these toe stretchers actually help my crappy feet.  it may be a placebo effect, but I feel like my feet are a lot less sore when I wear these for a few minutes at night.  this goes for being on my feet teaching all day too.  I am a fan, but I don’t know that they would help everybody.  I had looked at yoga toes, but good grief they are expensive, so I gave the cheap ones a try and they seem to help quite a bit.

5.  tracking.  I need a goal.  I do not run without a goal.  you will not run without a goal.  it’s just really, really hard to get ready and go outside and run if you don’t have something you need to run for.  signing up for a race is a great motivator.  honestly, when I ran the kc half marathon a few years ago, I think that the most helpful thing about my training group was not that I had a group to train with (they were all faster than me, so I didn’t really run with them, plus I really like to run by myself better), but that it cost me a hundred bucks.  that on top of the sixty or whatever it was to register for my race, that was my motivation.  I would wake up at 5:15 on a saturday and be like “I do NOT want to get out of bed.” but then I would remember that I had already paid like $160 that I couldn’t get back.  and that would motivate me to follow through.  but back to tracking.  if you really want to become a runner, getting some sort of tracking system will help a TON.  I’m sure there are free places online where you can track everything, or you could just write it down or make a spreadsheet, but having something that does it for you makes a big difference.  a pretty cheap and decent option is the nike+ system.  it’s not as great as like a garmin forerunner, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper and does a pretty good job.  if you have an ipod, it doesn’t cost too much to get the senson & receiver, and if you have an iphone, you just need the sensor.  since my shoes are actually nike+ compatible, they have a spot under the insole for the sensor, but if you have other shoes you can get a pouch like this to use.  it’s not 100% accurate all the time, but I would say that mine usually gets my distance within .05 miles, which is close enough for me.  and it tells you your pace, your time, your distance, and your calories (calories are estimated based on your weight).  and you can check it while you’re running if you want, and when you finish you can plug it in and it keeps track of everything for you.  that is my favorite part.  the website is pretty great–and I know this is cheesy, but I love how it congratulates me when I do something like run my fastest mile, or reach 300 miles, or accomplish a goal.  I love when I plug it in and a video from an olympic runner comes up telling me “great job!  lots of people set goals, but few meet them.  you are awesome!”  YES!  I am awesome!  so I love setting goals, like run 30 miles in three weeks, or run 5 runs under 9:30 pace, things like that.  if I am running and feel like giving up (all the time) I think about my goal and how happy I will be when I plug my ipod in and see the little bar go up getting closer to my goal. I can also set it to be a specific run: distance or time.  so I can set it for 3 miles, and then it will tell me “halfway point!” or “400 meters to go!” and I’m like YES!  I can do this!!

anyhow.  I am by no means an expert.  but when you start trying to run, a lot of things will get in your way.  don’t give up, you can do it.

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