Let me preface this by saying I am not a professional runner at all. However there has been some interest in running in the shoutbox lately, so I thought I’d answer some questions and provide some advice from what I’ve learned (the hard way).
First up, do not try and get into running on your own! I made that mistake, went out and just started running. I hurt for a week after 1 or 2 days. Use a program like the “Couch to 5K” program. You can visit the site at http://www.c25k.com They provide an interval program that gradually gets you into running. You can get their podcasts from the site or on iTunes. Also you can go to iTunes and search for “Podrunner Intervals by DJ Beatsmith,” which is a different person’s podcasts. They all use the same program (c25K) and are free. You might want to get several to mix it up so the music doesn’t become monotonous.
Feel free to repeat weeks! Don’t feel you have to “graduate” every week. Trust me when I say there are weeks you may get stuck on, so just keep doing them over until you can get through them. Week five or six is a total bitch! Once you get far enough into the program, you will probably ditch it like I did. Once I was able to run 20 minutes on my own outside I just began using my own music and judgement.
Outside VS Inside. This is pretty important actually. I began running outside over the summer. I live in a fairly hilly area too. Hills, concrete and temperature will affect you! By time the cold weather came around I decided to move my runs into the gym on the treadmill. This at first was an odd sensation, it took some getting used to and over the feeling I might slip and fall. Once I got the hang of it, I soon found out it was much easier to run in the gym. It’s a controlled climate, the treadmill is flat (you can add incline though) and provides shock absorption. I was running much further inside than out. So remember this depending on where you start and if you move back and forth between the too environments (ie don’t think, crap that run sucked comapred too . . . ).
Proper gear! This one is very important, as I recently found out. When I started running it was outside and I actually just used my swimsuit (clearly I don’t have speedos). When I moved to the gym I started using workout pants. Well let’s just say I found out proper ventilation is a must! Invest in some proper running undies and pants, usually made of anything but cotton. Usually it’s called wick or says the material will wick moisture away from your skin. Trust me, a runners rash is not fun at all and will not clear up unless you stop running for awhile.
Also invest in some good running shoes. Don’t think your plain old tennis shoes will do, unless you want blisters and sore feet and legs. You don’t need the $250 dollar pair either, you can get a decent pair of Nike’s for around 65 bucks at DSW or some similar discount chain store. I do recommend something with a gel or air cushion in the soul (avoid the cheap Reebok’s that don’t seem to have this, we aren’t in the 80s so you won’t be uncool not wearing Reebok.)
If you have an iPod Nano, for 25 bucks you can get the Nike runners attachment. It’s actually really handy and will track your runs, distances, times and calories burned. There is a sensor you put in your shoe under the soul/insert. Many Nike running shoes come with a special pouch built for it (look for the + symbol on the shoe or inside the shoe). I have read with other shoes you can put it under the insert and it will work okay as well, but it might not be as comfortable (I guess you could always carve out a space for it too).
I guess that’s about it, happy running!