When I first got into running, I experienced everything from painful blisters to chafing to unsupported bosoms — no wonder I hated it. I wish someone had sat me down and told me these basic tips and tricks to help smooth my transition from nonrunner to runner. If you're just starting out on your own journey pounding the pavement or treadmill belt, here are things you should know about running.
It Gets Easier
As with most things, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. To strengthen your muscles, acclimate your heart and lungs, and increase your endurance, run at least three times a week. Start off with a doable distance such as two miles. Once that distance feels good, gradually increase your mileage. The key is to move at a comfortable pace for a reasonable amount of time. If you do too much too soon, you could end up with an injury or a deep hatred for the sport.
You Don't Have to Wear Two Sports Bras
If you're well-endowed, running can be painful. I wore two sports bras for the longest time because I couldn't find one that prevented the uncomfortable bounce. A cheap cotton sports bra from Target just won't do. You might have to spend $50 or more, but it's worth it when you only have to wear one bra you trust.
Don't Skimp on Gear
For my first run, I picked up a $25 pair of sneaks and a pack of cheap cotton socks and wondered why I had screaming blisters. You don't need a ton of gear, but what you do need, you shouldn't skimp on. Spring for a trusty pair of well-fitting sneaks ($60-$120), a good pair of wicking socks ($10-$15), a super supportive sports bra ($30-$70), a seamless tank and long-sleeve to prevent chafing ($20-$40), and a lightweight pair of running shorts or tights to avoid wedgies ($20-$40). Technical gear specifically designed for running makes a huge difference and could make or break your new running career.
There Are Apps to Chart Your Run
I often drove running routes in my car to figure out mileage until my hubby introduced me to the wonderful world of iPhone running apps. The GPS not only keeps track of your distance, but it'll also chart your workout time, pace, calories burned, and elevation and give you a map of your run. Being able to track your workout might motivate you to keep going so you can beat your personal records.
Running Outside Is Harder Than the Treadmill
My power was out one morning — meaning no treadmill time for me — so I decided to run outside instead. It was so much harder! The real hills, the uneven terrain, the wind, the sun, the heat — it all makes running tougher than it already is. But I'll tell you, once I started running outside, I saw a huge improvement in my strength and endurance. I even lost the five extra pounds I could never quite shake, and my muscle definition was noticeable to others ("Damn, look at your calves!"). I know people are in love with their treadmills, but I wish someone suggested I run outside because the difficulty made me a better runner.