In my last post, I talked about my journey with intermittent fasting and that running was my exercise of choice. I have not always been a runner or a person that exercises regularly. Like my eating journey, I’ve had to try a few different exercise routines before I found an exercise I loved. I thank my former college roommate Michelle (and mom to two boys) for inspiring me to run. I’ve been following her fitness journey for the last year, and her daily running and body transformation reignited my interest. If she could fit in a daily run in her busy schedule, I could too. I’ve been running outdoors for the last three months; and it has become my favorite way to sweat. If you live in the city and want to try running, here are my five tips to get you going:
Invest in the right gear for your run (shoes, tops, bottoms)
For me, part of committing to any exercise routine is investing in the proper gear. If I don’t have the right gear, I am less motivated to do the work. Buy the right running shoes for wherever you plan to run (trail running shoes differ from basic running shoes) and whatever suits your feet’s needs. Tops and bottoms should have a light-reflective element (so you can be seen) and have pockets for the essentials (keys, phone, etc).
Stay safe. For personal safety: be sure to tell your person where you’re going, make sure your phone is fully charged, and know where you’re running. Map out your route ahead of a time if the area where you’re running is unfamiliar. Some mobile devices even have a feature that allows you to share your location with another user. Run when it’s light outside (versus at night when it’s dark). Avoid wearing headphones or earbuds, so you are alert and in tune to your surroundings. Run with a buddy if you’re uncomfortable running alone. For sun safety, wear sunglasses and sunblock.
Start slow. It takes time for the body to develop the stamina to sustain a run. When I first started running again, I volleyed between running one block and walking the next. Then, I just kept adding blocks. My phone’s running app can track my run by time. A good day for me is when I can run for 20-30 minutes straight. But it takes time.
Running is an all-body exercise. Stretching before and after is essential to warm up the muscles before the run and relax them after a run. Stretching also alleviates any subsequent muscle aches.
Fuel up. Some people like to eat something small before they run, like a protein bar or a banana. Some people eat nothing before they run. Some people like to just hydrate before a run. For me, I run better when I am just hydrated versus full. Listen to your body and do what makes sense for you.
After staring at a screen and being cooped up indoors for the last year, running outdoors has been a wonderful addition to my weekly routine. I love uncovering new sites in my neighborhood. Last weekend, I saw a different view of the Palace of Fine Arts from a hill in Pacific Heights, and it was breathtaking. For a girl who hates to workout, it feels good to be excited about running.
If running in your neighborhood is not your cup of team San Francisco has an abundance of running trails and tracks to match any skill set. Happy running!