You Don’t Have to be a Natural Runner
I was never a natural runner. Some people run on a daily basis for “fun.” I, on the other hand, run very rarely. I’ve always preferred reading books, discussing intellectual topics, playing video games, watching television, or sitting and having a beer. I don’t enjoy running.
It might surprise you, then, that I was an All-Conference, All-Region, and All-State (Honorable Mention) runner in high school. You wouldn’t expect me to have run a mile in less than 5 minutes, and 5 km (3.1 miles) in 17 minutes 42 seconds. I wouldn’t be the person you’d predict to win an invitational over 100 other runners. However, I did accomplish all these things, thanks to smart training. Compared to most sports, running rewards training and effort more than natural talent. No matter who you are, I’m confident you too can become a great runner.
Your training should start at the shoe store. You’re going to rack up a lot of miles on those shoes, so you want some good ones. Go to the most athletic store you can find and get the most comfy running shoes you can find. You don’t want cross trainers; you need running shoes. Running shoes are lighter than cross trainers and will have more effective padding.
Once you have your shoes, you’ll be ready to run! You shouldn’t do it naked though, so put on some clothing. I suggest shorts, socks, warmup pants (sweat pants are fine), and a t-shirt (women, don’t forget your sports bra). You can add on clothing to that if the weather is cold. Don’t bulk up too much though. You’ll generate plenty of heat while running.
Plan your goals ahead of time. What do you want to do? Lose weight? Run 1 mile without dying? Run 3 miles? 5 miles? 10 miles? Maybe you want to run a 6-minute mile. Or perhaps your goal is to run 1000 miles this year. Regardless of your goal, make sure you define the goal. Once written, your goal will become more formal, almost like a contract with yourself! Better yet, write your goal in many places that you’ll see often. You will constantly be reminded that way, and will take more positive action to accomplish the goal. I’ve seen statistics that people who write their goals down are much more likely to accomplish them. Then share your goal with friends and family. They’ll support you and pick you up if you start doubting yourself. For more on goals: You Can Accomplish Your Dreams With Goals.
Also, you’ll want to create a plan of how to accomplish that goal. Ideally you will write down what you want accomplish each workout, that way you can’t chicken out and tell yourself “Time to stop; I’m tired.” Plan ahead, and you’ll be more likely to hold yourself to the plan.
Keep records of your workouts. Record what you did, how many miles you ran, how you felt, if you were pleased with your results of if you need to push harder next time.
After a while, you’ll be surprised how many miles you’ll rack up. In fact, you might even decide to run more just so your mile number grows higher. You’ll also be able to look back and track your improvement, which hopefully will inspire you to improve even more. Don’t be afraid to share your achievements with your friends and family. Most people will be impressed if you tell them you’ve run 300 miles this year. But if each workout is 2 miles, you only have to run 3 days per week to get to 300 miles.