That’s freaking AWESOME! If you were to ask me what my favorite distance to race is, I’d tell you that it’s the 5k. A lot of people seem to be intimidated by running and racing and you really shouldn’t be. It’s honestly one of the most fun things you could possibly do and it’s great for your health. These are the runs where you’ll find people of every fitness level from Elite runners to walkers. There is usually a kids fun run which is beyond adorable to watch. There tends to be food, beer, awards ceremonies, and lots of fun at the end of these runs too! It’s impossible to describe the feeling of accomplishment and badass-ery that you’ll feel when you cross that finish line. Especially for your first race, time isn’t even a factor, it’s all about that rush of doing what you might have thought was impossible.
My first race brought me to tears when I finished it. I had a 5 month old baby at home, I was suffering from postpartum depression and running was giving me a new way of life. I took that and decided to sign up for the Charleston Mom’s Run which supports our local PPD Chapter. The moment I arrived I was holding back tears. Not because I was sad though but because I knew shortly, I’d be coming across that finish line, seeing my baby and husband cheering for me, and doing something that I was so incredibly proud of. I cried while I stretch and warmed up. I cried when I took the starting line and I choked back tears as I ran my heart out on that race course. I’m crying as I type this up while remembering that feeling. I truly wish I could put it into words and honestly that feeling never goes away. I cried at my first 10k and my first half marathon. I’m positive I’m going to cry at the marathon in January as well. I’m a sap.
Now there are a few pieces of advice I give to everyone who asks me about running. Here they are:
1. REGISTER! – Go sign up for a 5k race right now! This I can’t stress enough. If you want to do something, then make the effort. The best way to push yourself to actually train and do a 5k, is to sign your butt up for one and pay that entry fee. I never train hard when I don’t have a race that I’m signed up for and obligated to do. So set yourself a goal race, sign up and pay for it, and get your butt moving. You might ask how to find a race, good question! Try Active.com, look up a local running store and see if they have a schedule, or try and find a running club in your area that may also have races listed on their website. See if those races have facebook pages where you can look at past events. Try to pick a race that has a fun after event. Some races I’ve done have beer at the end, free breakfast, massages, giveaways, and some even have bounce castles & face painting for the kids.
2. ANNOY EVERYONE! – kidding, kind of. Tell everyone about it. Shout it from the rooftops, post it all over social media, call your grandma in Colorado and tell her you’re the next Usain Bolt. The more people that you tell, the less likely you are to slack off. You’d be really surprised what a positive group of people your friends and family, heck even strangers, can be. They can be a great source of motivation for you. Ask them all to come cheer you on at the race. Trust me, it will make a world of difference and some great memories.
3. SHOES – This is probably the most important factor. DO NOT go to Dicks and try on a bunch of shoes and run that tiny little track and think you’re good to go. Save yourself the time, the money, and the impending injuries you’ll get from having the wrong shoes for your feet. Running shoes make the biggest difference and having ones that fit you properly are going to save you from so many nagging problems. Go to a Fleet Feet or any specialty running store and let them fit you for shoes. The process can take about 30 minutes but it is so worth it. They will watch the way you walk and run, they will look at if you pronate, or roll your ankles, tell them about anything that hurts when you run/walk. Running shoes should be at least a size bigger than your normal every day shoes as well. Little tidbit I didn’t know until I took my gross destroyed big toe to Fleet Feet to find out what I was doing wrong. You’re going to spend a pretty penny on good shoes but they will last you a while AND they will keep you from hurting. I’ll spend as much money as I need to, in order to keep injuries away.
4. TRAINING- You can find tons of beginner training plans on the internet. Runners world, Hal Higdon, and so many others are out there. Find one, print it, stick in your fridge, and X off the workouts as you complete them. Seeing it in front of your face every day is more likely to get you moving than just seeing it on the computer screen. If you are more likely to train if you pay for it or need a group environment, look into those running specialty stores again. Our local Fleet Feet has a beginner and intermediate 5K training program.
5. RUN FRIENDS- Group runs, go find them, be a part of them! I’d be lost without my Charleston Girls Run This Town group. These ladies are so encouraging, we meet up at races, we’ve become friends and we help each other with lots of running questions. Do some quick google searches of your town and look for “Charleston Running Group.” Or “Charleston Running Club.” I’m a member of the running club as well and they host monthly events and sponsor races. This is a good way to find people who you can meet up with to run together. Fleet feet also has free Monday group runs for all levels. So get out there and meet lots of people because as someone who trains with a partner, I can tell you, it’s nice when you have a date set up and someone who is depending on you that will keep you accountable.
There you have it. My list of things that will help you get to the start line and over the finish line. I love, love, love hearing about others who start their running journeys. Feel free to tell us all about yours in the comments or if you’re a seasoned runner, what would you add to the list. As always, if anyone has any questions please feel free to message me.