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Three Tips for Becoming a Runner

I am a runner. I don’t have pipe dreams of finishing a marathon, my running shoes aren’t fancy and they hardly ever match my sports bra, I don’t have a fancy water bottle belt, and I still get side cramps after the first mile or so. But still, I am a runner. My relationship with running is a love/hate one; it’s been my source of sanity and also the reason for dozens of ice packs, scraped knees, and shin splints for the past few years. There are times when I can and do run for miles at a time, sometimes barely feeling winded after my sixth mile. And other times, I can’t find my pace and am done after only two. But still, I am a runner. Running is a great source of exercise for most people, and while it’s never easy, per se, practically everyone can become a runner. Here are a few easy tips for any new runners out there:

#1: Make sure to outfit yourself appropriately.

Like I said before, I don’t have any sort of fancy ensembles for running. Some of my favorite and most comfortable running shorts are five years old and covered in dirt and grass stains (breathability, not fashion, is key for running apparel). However, if you intend to take up running, it’s important to get fitted for a pair of shoes that is right for your stride. Visit your local running store and have them walk you through the process of finding your perfect shoe.

#2: Craft a plan.

If you’re new to running, chances are that you won’t immediately be able to power through three miles on your first shot. My first “run” consisted of one mile of wheezing, stopping, side cramps, walking, and about three minutes of actual running. Be realistic with your goals. Joining a running club in your area is a great way to help you meet your running goals, whether that includes a marathon or four miles free of walking. You will also be able to meet other people with similar running goals to your own who can motivate you to stay on track.

#3: Be safe.

Most notably when you’re running outdoors, it’s important to take any necessary precautions in order to ensure that you remain safe and injury free. Attach your phone to your arm with an arm band, be sure to have access to water (either with a handheld bottle, backpack, or belt), and, if you’re running anytime after dusk, wear reflective clothing and a headlamp. Also, be sure to stretch both before and after your run in order to prevent injuries. Talk with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen in order to make sure that you are capable and in good health.

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