Advice for runnersHappy Monday. Anyone else counting down the days / hours until Thanksgiving? If you haven’t already seen Friday’s post, you might want to check it out for ideas on what to cook for Thanksgiving. Also for those keeping track, yes I finished my 21 Day Sugar Detox! And no, I probably won’t fall face first into a pile of donuts today. Probably…

Right now I’m not 100% sure how I feel about the whole thing, so I ‘m waiting a few days before I write a post about my experience. Instead today I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned since I started learning how to run a month ago.

1. It’s OK to repeat a week

If you’re using the C25K Free app that I recommended  a while back, you might make it through the first couple of weeks without any problems. But as you continue, the weeks get harder and harder. I really struggled with Week 4. Yes, I managed to finish the full 31 minutes, but those 5 minute runs really seemed to drag on forever. So I did Week 4 a second time. And I’m thinking about doing it again. Eventually, those 5 minute runs are going to be a breeze, but I’m just not there yet.

2. Get a water bottle with a small opening

Rubbermaid water bottleYou’re probably thinking this seems like a silly tip, but hear me out. I run on the treadmill so I always keep a bottle of water on hand. It’s super important to stay hydrated. Why? Because I learned that as you run, your throat, nose and mouth suddenly getting coated in mucus. Yes, I know this is gross. But I recently learned this is totally normal! I always thought it was tied to my asthma. Not so. For me, it can get so bad that I can’t breath or swallow. Some people online recommend keep a small towel to spit into…

I’m not really a spitter, so I prefer to just wash it away with water. But specifically with a water bottle with a small opening. Because it makes drinking while running so much easier. Those Nalgene water bottles will get water everywhere.

I bought this water bottle from Jewel-Osco but you can also purchase it from Amazon. It’s by Rubbermaid. I love it because I can fit my mouth around the opening, which prevents spillage. Alternatively you could buy a water bottle with a straw, like this one that Jake uses, but I’m just not a fan. When my mouth is filled with mucus, I find it a bit harder to suck in water.

3. Stay warm

Another piece of advice for the mucus problem is stay warm. If you’re running outside (which I’ve tried once and regretted), you might want to try using a neck gaiter.  It’s basically a scarf that you wear over you nose and throat to warm the air before you breath it in. I’m much more of a treadmill person. But even inside I found that staying warm made a difference. Occasionally my gym will be a bit cold, especially in the morning, so I now run in long sleeve workout tops. Also remember that you can layer. If you start running in long sleeves and get too hot, just take off a layer.

 4. Make a playlist of upbeat songs

playlistLike I mentioned in my last post, one of the awesome things about the C25K app is you can play your music within the app. There were many times during my run that I just felt like stopping. My lungs would hurt, my arms would feel heavy and that voice in my head kept saying “screw this.” When that happens, I put on my playlist.

Yes, as you can see, my staples include Ke$ha, Brittany Spears, Basshunter, Cascada etc. To be fair, I haven’t really updated my iTunes music selection since college. But these work for now.

Jake prefers listening to podcasts, specifically “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” from NPR. But for me, I need something that really gets me moving. That way you can tell yourself, “just keep going until the end of this one song.”

5. Don’t be ashamed to ask questions

All runners were beginners at some point. Don’t be ashamed to ask your running friends for advice. Or, if you’re too shy, ask the internet. I always thought my mucus problem was just me, that it was part of my asthma and a reason I shouldn’t run. Thankfully I stopped being embarrassed and just asked my friends.

Know what else I learned just by asking? To buy a foam roller. One of my friends, Lindsay, just completed 13 half marathons in 2013. Yup, you read that correctly. In 2013, she ran 13 half marathons (13.1 miles each). With all of that running, rolling out is key to keeping her muscles, specifically her IT band, from tensing up.

Got more advice for beginner runners? Let me know in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Motivational Monday: Running Tips for Beginners”

  1. Hi Rachel!

    I’m glad to hear you are running! I would love to share my own running story of the last few years with you, but for now I’ll share a resource that links onto something you have discussed in this post.

    A roller has been an absolute must for me — but I gave away my “foam” one (almost identical to the one you linked to) when I found the Trigger Point “Grid.” I feel that my muscles get a more effective release from the Grid than from a traditional roller’s flat, cushioned surface. It is also pretty affordable (as daily use running tools go). Mine travels with me (I have the original size) in a carry on suitcase and with the “mini” size, I’m sure the price point and size will be a big appeal for some of your readers!

    If you have a chance to test drive one, I would be interested in hearing how it works for you, particularly on days when your fibromyalgia flares are more intense than normal.

    1. Awesome! Thanks. Jake (my boyfriend) pointed out to me that the point grid is the one his brother uses and recommends as well. Thanks! I’m going to see if I can get my hands on one for Christmas 🙂

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