To know me is to know I’m not a natural-born long distance runner. I mean, I ran the 200m in 8th grade, but my bo-legged, flat-footed self forced me to end my track career early in life. However, as of late, I’ve decided to fight through my handicaps and take on jogging as a new fitness regimen. Here are three tips I’ve found to help me in my pursuit to become as Bryan Clay and Ashton Eaton (Google them) as possible.
1. Choose the right footwear.
In the words of Liam Kyle Sullivan’s female character Kelly, “Shoes. OMG, Shoes.” Running shoes greatly impact the quality of a run. As I mentioned before, I’m flat-footed AND bo-legged; because of these ailments, I often got shinsplints after only running a short distance. When I went to Luke’s Locker to see about getting some new shoes, Larry the sales’s associate told me I was getting shinsplints because I didn’t have shoes that supported my entire foot coming down on the pavement. (SIDE NOTE: Dallas peeps, you all need to go to Luke’s Locker at Mockingbird & 75. The staff takes the time to educate you on not only WHAT shoes are best for you but exactly WHY a certain pair of running shoes will benefit you the best.) I needed running shoes with additional support in the arch of the shoe where my foot in reality has no arch. So far, shin splints are no longer an issue when I run. Do your research and find what type of running shoes contour best to the natural formation of your feet.
2. Pick your path.
Another tidbit of knowledge I’ve picked up from my marathon-loving, running-obsessed friends is for a new runner, a cement road or trail may not be the best route. Running on pavement can be hard on the knees and can cause shin splits, as the pounding on the pavement triggers nerves that shoot from the sole and upward through the leg. It’s suggested that new runners begin their first few runs on grass or a track; something that will produce more of a bounce in your run rather than the hard steps that happen on cement. Local parks and high schools are great venues for finding these softer surfaces-just make sure you’re focusing on your run and not being that creepy person at schools and parks who gawks at kids while running in short shorts and tube socks.
3. Listen to music.
I forgot to mention the other handicap that makes my marathon running dreams even harder to accomplish-ADHD. I have the attention span of a mentally challenged goldfish. My multi-track mind doesn’t shut off which makes focusing during a run very difficult. However, what helps a great deal is blaring music through my headphones while I run. Upbeat, high energy music helps me not psych myself out while running, and allows me to focus in on my run so that I don’t get bored and just give up. Spotify and Pandora have great playlists specifically for listening to while running, or you can pull together some of your favorite “turn-up” songs and create your own running playlist.
So, to all my fellow beginner runners: you’re not alone; we’re all in this together (High School Musical voice). Don’t be intimidated by those ultra-fit runners that yell “PASSING ON THE LEFT!” as they whisk past you on their fifth mile. Be proud and motivated by the fact that you’re out there doing it. Summer is approaching and there’s no time to waste in our efforts to get #poolready and #summertimefine. Grab those running shoes, choose your path, stick in those headphones and let Pit Bull accompany you on your race toward chiseled abs and ultra-toned legs.
And now for your viewing and listening pleasure, I give you Kelly: