Thursday, May 31, 2012

What I've learned from running. Tips for new runners from a new runner.

Before I can start any post, I have to share the picture of my husband's "helper" this week as Mr. C installed the new toilet in our master bath. Yes, that is Micah post nap hair in the new toilet.

Do you think he needs a haircut yet? Mr. C says no, and I say yes. I may just take him to the salon one day when Mr. C has no choice because the cut is already done! Haha!

So I've been running which is the point of the post "What I've learned from running". If you follow my tweets or if you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me in real life on Facebook, you already know this because all I do is talk about it. In fact, I'm probably driving you insane with my running posts. I do apologize, but I have to give myself some kind of motivation.

I've learned a few things about running, and I've had a whole lot of questions from people. I am no expert, but I can share a few things I've learned. I figured it was time for a blog post.

1. Invest in some good equipment that you'll really want to use. Perhaps consider borrowing before buying it to make sure you want it.

Running can be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it. Personally, I didn't want it to be expensive, but I have a major scheduling conflict with my husband's job. Most of the time that I would want to run, I have to take my son with me. In my case, I couldn't forgo the jogging stroller since I don't have childcare. If I want to run, he has to be with me. Before I bought a stroller, I "test drove" several friends' strollers. I even borrowed my friend Kristy's stroller to see what I liked and didn't like. 

(FYI: I liked the rotating with option to lock front wheel. I hated the fixed front wheel. I also liked a lightweight, small, compact jogging stroller because my car is the size of a sardine can.)

Troll Craigslist for what you want, and don't be brand loyal.

The day I was going to see a used jogging stroller off Craigslist, my mom found a NEW one at Target for the exact same price ($80). Now why would I go buy a used one (unless it was a BOB) if I could get a new one for less than most people listed used ones online?

I went with the Baby Trend Jogger Expedition Grey Mist from Target pictured below.
And something extra sweet? I saved up gift cards from my students all year since Target is a big favorite around here, so I was able to buy this with gift cards. =)

2. Know when to go cheap and when not to go cheap.

I went to Sam's and picked up running shorts & sweat wicking shirts & socks for about $9 a piece. Now I'm sure there are people who would argue that you must have an expensive pair of jogging shorts & tank top. I'd say spend more on the sports bra, but that is just my opinion. I went cheap on my workout gear, and I've been happy I did.  

3. Make sure you have a professional at a running store fit you for the right shoe, and then you can always go order it online to save money.

After my pregnancy, I noticed a distinct change in my joints. Maybe it is because I'm older when I was started having kids (in my thirties as opposed to twenties) or just the change from the pregnancy weight on my small frame. I'm not sure, but I couldn't run in my old shoes without some mega pain in my knees.

I went to Dick's Sporting Goods, but I'm sure you have some place in your own town you could go to get fitted. I ended up getting these shoes (Women's PureFlow) made by Brooks

I'd never even heard of the company Brooks, but I was very open to my salesperson after he listened to my concerns. I figured I'd buy a pair of Nike's or New Balance, but I walked out with something I liked even better. Surprise, surprise! I could have taken time to find these online for cheaper, but for $2 more in the store, it was worth it to just get them that day.

4.  Find a great app, and use it to its fullest potential.

I use two apps currently, and both were free in the App Store. The first app I use is called Map My Run. I've taken a few pictures to show you how the app works. 

Once you log in, you'll see this screen. I use the record workout, routes, and workouts the most. It includes a nutrition tracker (similar to MyFitnessPal), but I haven't tried using that.

You can choose to log stats from your own workout. I use this screen mainly when I head to the gym to  write down my stats off the elliptical or the treadmill for those days I can't run because of weather or schedule conflicts.

For my outdoor walks and runs, I use this page which uses my GPS location. This is my favorite part of the app. It will record my run/walk in real time, show me a map of where I am going, how far I've walked, and my pace.

At the end of the workout, I get an awesome summary screen that looks like this:

 I love how I can see my miles per hour, my pace, my calories (based on my weight and height), my map of my run, and the length of my workout. Then it saves it for me so I can compare as I work on a goal! How awesome is that?

Then if you want to get really, really nerdy (and sometimes I do), you can look at this screen:

I enjoy seeing my hills and elevation as I go through a workout. Pretty neat stuff!

I also use the C25K Free app which can also be found in the app store. This app is absolutely free, and it has been a wonderful motivator as I run. I love that I can run both apps at the same time in the background with my playlist. I just have to make sure to have a good battery charge. Haha!

It's a pretty straightforward app that gives you a 30 minute workout, tells you the intervals to follow, has a "voice" that tells you when to run & when to walk. It's free, and very easy to use. 

5. Get together with a group of friends. Find someone to keep you accountable, and make sure you have a jamming playlist to help you rock it out.

This one is pretty simple, but I guarantee you the reason I'm doing so well? I am training with a group of girls who are all new to running. None of us have run a 5K before, and we try to meet at least once a week to keep each other accountable and motivated. My friend Amy (who has run a marathon) organized this, and I try to go as often as I can to the group workouts. Doing this has greatly improved my commitment to run. I also have a "backup" workout partner who uses my gym. My friend Tracy and I head to the gym whenever we can to do the elliptical machines. This way, I have two groups to keep me motivated!

Here's a look at my current playlist:

God Is Enough by Lecrae
Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO
Black or White by Michael Jackson
Get Back Up by tobyMac
Toxic by Britney Spears
Stronger by Britney Spears
Hot N Cold by Katy Perry
Gotta Be Somebody by Nickelback
Just Dance by Lady GaGa
Stronger by Mandisa
Good Morning by Mandisa & tobyMac

Pretty sure I have the most random musical taste known to man. I'm quite the wild woman mixing in some contemporary Christian with Britney and Michael.

<<Special thanks to Amy for organizing such a wonderful group of girls to get motivated about running!!>>

I could totally go on forever in this post, but I think I'll call that it for the day. Hopefully that helps you out if you are just getting started! =)

Happy running!!

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