It’s no secret that exercise is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle but you may be wondering where to start and what to do? Throw an autoimmune disease in the mix and it’s all extra confusing. A quick search reveals styles such as Yoga, Pilates (what the heck is the difference?!), CrossFit, HIIT training, Jazzercise and more.
Google is full of endless trends and ideas so I highly suggest you begin by searching for an exercise style you feel will best suit YOU. After all, no one knows you like you do! That might mean dabbling in a few things, which can be exciting, but stay intent on discovering what it is you truly enjoy.
Because if you find something you LOVE, that will be what you can realistically commit to and maintain long term.
But note that just because you try something doesn’t mean you have to like it. It’s okay to “shop” around! And it’s extra okay to start slow. Like, really slow. If you’re recovering from an autoimmune disease, you’ll definitely want to.
For me, I know that I *hate* swimming. Weight training is meh. But running, WOW! I love it. So, if you’re like me and think running might be your thing, here is some advice I’d like to pass along..
Running for Beginners: 5 Rookie Mistakes
1.) Not getting a running evaluation done.
I learned this one the hard way.
Well meaning bloggers and people on social media promote this popular quote by Arthur Ashe, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Well, I did that. And I tore my feet up. No offense, Arthur.
A running evaluation (Biomechanical Running Analysis) is an up close look at the way you run (called your running gait) and exposes where it’s breaking down and causing you pain. It determines your specific movements and how it affects your body.
Easy version, it lets you know what you’re doing wrong.
My local running store offered this service for free. I hopped on their treadmill and jogged for a couple minutes while a camera recorded my movement. They quickly realized I’m a gigantic heal striker.
This running pattern, used over time and paired with my hypothyroidism, gave me plantar fasciitis like you wouldn’t believe. However, after some explaining on how to correct it (and further research on my own), plus putting me in better shoes (Hoka brand for life!), my running experience has drastically improved.
Get. Yourself. Evaluated.
To do this, call around to your local running stores. They’ll either be able to do it for you or tell you where you can go to get it done.
2.) Not wearing bras that fit properly.
Again with the Arthur Ashe quote… I wore what I had! And that was old bras that didn’t fit properly. After 10+ miles of friction, I’d give myself a wicked case of bra burn, which is probably not the technical term but it’s what I’ve always called it.
It. Seriously. Burns.
Now that I think about it, chaffing is probably the more common name for what I was dealing with. Ha! 😉 Regardless, get yourself some good bras and save yourself the agony. They don’t need to be pricey. My favorite brand is C9 at Target. Easy!
If you are suffering from a chaffing issue (bra line, thighs, etc), there’s a solution to that! Check out the amazing reviews on this Body Glide Anti-Chafe Balm. Being as comfortable as you can be during runs will make or break your running experience. Set yourself up for success and take care of your body.
3.) Not wearing quality socks.
I feel I must first say, callouses are unavoidable when running long distance or even sometimes short distances. Your feet are taking on a bunch of friction. So at the very least, be mentally prepared for this inevitable stage.
Before your body creates callouses, though, it will blister. This is normal!
It’s not a pretty process and it is a painful one but taking good care of your feet, especially during the beginning, goes a long way over time. Finding perfect socks will probably be a trial and error thing for you but I realized right away that super thin ones were NOT the way to go.
I use these Champion socks with the heel shield. They’ve worked wonders for me and they don’t slide down. Plus, there’s a bunch of positive reviews on them which is actually what convinced me to give them a try. For the love, do not use these double layer socks at Target or any others like them. For me, the double layered fabric was too much, too tight and cramped my toes badly – and I have narrow feet! I couldn’t image someone with a wide set foot. Ouch!
When it comes to running, quality foot gear will be your best investment, which is a perfect segue…
4.) Not wearing the right running shoe.
This ties in pretty closely with rookie mistake #1 and is equally as important as getting the running evaluation done.
I wish I would have taken note of this much earlier because it would have saved me so much pain from runners knee, shin splints and plantar fasciitis.
The best brands include ASCICS, Hoka and New Balance. Please, do not use off brand shoes from the same superstores you can buy cereal. They won’t last long and can come with a whole host of issues. I realize name brand is pricey but trust me when I say, it’s worth it. Every penny.
If you MUST use less than ideal brands, really focus on your running form. Research it and implement what you learn immediately! You can make other shoes work until you’re able to save up for quality but know how it important it is to finally commit to your first good pair. Going from intense, constant pain to Hokas was incredible. I felt like I was gliding during runs. It was the best feeling in the world.
5.) Not tracking my runs.
There’s an app for that?! Was basically my reaction after learning I could track my pace, distance and elevation with my cell phone.
Guys. I was beginner, beginner when I started running. I literally only knew to put one foot in front of the other! So just in case you’re starting where I was, please use RunKeeper. It’s a free app that will track your runs and help keep you motivated.You’ll be able to watch yourself grow in running and even become competitive with yourself and others! My favorite feature is that the app will talk to you every 5 minutes and let you know your average pace and distance. VERY helpful! You can go here to learn more.
There are tons of other tracking apps if you don’t like this one so just shop around in your app store!
Series Posts: 2 of 4
2 of 4 – Running for Beginners: 5 Rookie Mistakes – you’re here!
3 of 4 – Running for Beginners: 5 Basic Things to Bring on a Run – coming soon!
4 of 4 – Running for Beginners: How to Find Running Motivation – coming soon!
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