Where to Begin?

I’m in Alaska with my two friends Abby and Sally for the next week. Way back in December, Abby told me she would love to hit up some of the “fun” states with me. I joked, “How about Alaska?” and she was all in. We started to plan our trip and the race and a few weeks later our friend Sally decided to join in on the fun.

I’m the more veteran runner of the three; Abby ran RNR New Orleans back in February and then Ragnar Trail with me and Sally did a half about six years ago in Nashville.

I often forget what it’s like to start running from the very beginning. Even post surgery, I already had a cardio base and knew what to do (with guidance from my PT and chiropractor). I will admit, I get the question often, “How did you get started?” And that answer is always easy. I just signed up for a half marathon and printed off a plan. BUT, it is hard to remember the other stuff. How did I know what to eat, what to wear, what to expect on race day, etc.

A few months ago, Runner’s World sent me their book, The Big Book of Running for Beginners. I flipped through it and thought it was fabulous! It would be a great resource for any new runner and a place for me to guide people. So, I let Sally borrow it during her training.IMG_7519IMG_7520Now that we are actually in Alaska and her training is complete, I can tell you the three questions/things she was most curious about and how she used the book for guidance.

1. What do I eat? Before a run? Before a race? After a run? 

I will admit this was one of my biggest issues in my first few years of running, too. You can’t eat any and everything you want just because you run. There is an entire chapter dedicated to food. Not just the basics- details on what to get at the grocery store, how to stock your kitchen, what to avoid, what to eat before a long run, short run, and post run. There is even a guide on what to eat during a race.  My two favorite parts are the analysis on products and what to eat before a workout.

Sally ended up using this chapter as a guide throughout her training to make sure she was eating enough.

2.  Are treadmill miles okay? 

There is a section that guides runners on how and when to use a treadmill as part of training. There were times that Sally had to go to the gym to the get the miles in due to weather and/or timing for safety of running outside. She was worried that the treadmill miles wouldn’t be okay compared to road miles.

The book has several structured treadmill workouts and explains good form on the treadmill. It does, however, caution new runners about NOT logging all your miles on a treadmill (could injure yourself with repetitive motion, not the same as running outside).

Sally didn’t use the treadmill often, but this section is a nice guide for those wanting to know more and who are just getting into running and aren’t quite ready to actually hit the pavement.

What do I do on my training plan for strength and stretch?

Funny that Sally had this question, too. I can remember wondering when I first printed off my Hal Higdon plan back in the day what exactly I should do on this day (she used the same training plan). The book goes into a lot of detail strength and stretch options. I love that the focus on the strengthening part is all about glutes! If only I had known back in the day what to do.IMG_7522

Sally used the stretches and also took a body pump type class at her gym during her training cycle.

I really wish I would’ve had this book back in the day when I got started. I love that it gives you the basics on running (exactly how to start) and goes into even more detail on all of the things a more seasoned runner has probably learned the hard way!

What’s one thing you would tell a new runner? Did you receive any advice when you first got started? Are you new to running? 

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  • Man, I wish I’d had a beginner’s book when I started. I had zero guidance and ended up doing too much, too fast.
    My advice to beginners: strengthen!!

  • Go to a “real” running store and get fitted with proper running shoes. Better yet, go to a PT and have them analyze your gait and take THEIR shoe suggestion to a retail store. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of those strengthening exercises. Lord knows I could have avoided several of my running injuries had I been doing those.

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