Written By: Bill Reifsnyder — Superfeet Wellness Panel Member. Bill Reifsnyder is the founder of Camp Runabout, the only adult summer camp for runners on the planet, and is committed to helping runners of all ages and abilities achieve their goals and get the most out of their training plans. Bill is a former professional runner and holds the third fastest time ever run by an American for 10 miles (46:32).
Many people make start to run their New Year's Resolution. While some succeed, many do not. So how do you go about beginning a running program that is sustainable and will bring to fruition all that you dreamed? We're glad you asked.
The great thing about our sport is that is has something for everyone. Running is not a one-size-fits-all activity. Runners come in a plethora of shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities. Likewise, the reasons we run are just as diverse. Some run to win races, while others want a finishers medal and a good post-race party. Some run to have some alone time, while others want the camaraderie of a running group. Some run to lose weight, while others run for a good cause. Whatever the motivation, we are all blessed to be part of a non-judgmental, ever-encouraging, community of like-minded people.
If you are reading this, chances are you are thinking about joining us on the roads (and trails). Here are some recommendations on how you can build a training program for the New Year.
Find a Running Buddy
Someone much smarter than me once said, "life is a journey best traveled together." Recruit a friend of equal ability to share your adventure. You will find the miles go by much quicker when you have company, and it is difficult to blow off a workout when you have already committed to meeting your running buddy.
Set a Goal
Find a local 5K in early spring and sign up for it. It doesn't matter if you run it or walk it; making a commitment by physically registering for an event will keep you focused, provide direction, and give you a sense of self-satisfaction once completed. It can be tough to motivate yourself during the cold winter months, and a reminder that you have an upcoming race may be all it takes to get you out the door.
Broadcast Your Resolution
The toughest thing about New Year's Resolutions is sticking with them after the initial excitement wavers, and real life settles in. Broadcasting your resolution to those close to you will create accountability and make you less likely to miss a day.
· Post it on your Facebook page
· Write it on a sticky pad and put it on your bathroom mirror
· Tell your closest friends, family members and work colleagues.
Build a "Running" Christmas List
If you are going to start to run, then you will need proper gear: a good pair of running shoes, moisture-wicking clothes, gloves, a hat, socks, sunglasses, a GPS watch, a headlamp… Buying all of this at once to get started can be expensive, so why not throw it on your Christmas list and let friends and family help? My recommendation is to begin this process with a trip to your local running store. They will make sure that you get in the right pair of shoes (essential). They can also help you pick out the rest of the items on your shopping list.
Stay Healthy – Get Some Insoles
You may be asking, "why do I need to buy insoles if I am purchasing a $100 pair of shoes?" Shoe companies put cheap, unsupportive, flimsy insoles in their shoes (even the expensive ones) that collapse with your bodyweight. Having a good foundation under your body is going to give you needed arch support, help you maintain a neutral foot strike, and keep you from getting injured. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, start on the right foot with some quality insoles to stay healthy. Once again, your specialty running store salesperson can help you choose the best pair of Superfeet.
Find a Good Running Program
The initial objective of your newfound training regimen is to keep you motivated until running becomes a habit. It may seem premature to adopt a training program when you are just starting to run, but there are lots of couch to 5K programs that were designed specifically for beginners. Here is the one I created for Superfeet [insert a link to the couch to 5K training program]. Following a training program will give you a sense of direction, purpose, and help you focus on its objectives and your results.
Join a Running Club
Check with your local running store, gym, or brewery to see if they have a weekly run club. Almost all running clubs include runners of all abilities, beginners to veterans. Remember, at some point, we all had to take our first step as a running newbie, and you will be pleasantly surprised at the encouragement you get from ALL runners in attendance. Note: I prefer the brewpub run nights, because the only thing we runners like more than running, is having a cold beer when we finish.
It's Not All or Nothing
You are going to have good days and bad days when you run. Sometimes you'll feel bad because of something you did the day before, and sometimes there will be no apparent reason why you feel crappy. Sometimes you will feel so bad that you will try to talk yourself out of doing your run. My advice put on your gear and step out the door before you talk yourself out of it. If your schedule calls for a five-mile run, maybe do three instead, because three is better than nothing. Often, you'll find that the first step is the hardest, and once you start putting one foot in front of the other, you feel much better than anticipated.
No Need to Miss a Run When Traveling
One of the great things about our sport is that you can do it anywhere. All you need is a pair of shoes and running clothes. During my travels, running has given me the ability to see parts of faraway places that I would never have seen otherwise. I love nothing more than checking into my hotel, throwing on my gear, and exploring the side streets and trails of foreign cities. If I arrive after dark or during a torrential downpour, I head to the hotel gym for a couple of miles on the treadmill.