running 101: what do I need?

It’s been a busy start!  Work is taking off since we have a big conference coming up and I feel like I’m already drowning and it’s barely halfway through the week.  At least I have this nugget of a co-worker to keep me company.


No joke, I was sitting on my couch working and she came and lied across my lap and computer.  Girl is not afraid to go for what she wants, especially if what she wants is pets.

The thing that’s keeping me sane during this crazy time?  Running.  specifically running 9 miles on Monday because I am insane.  After signing up for the half marathon, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t entirely impossible so here we are.

image3The most important tip I can give you to start out your running journey is don’t care about how you look.  Every single time I finish a long run I look like a zombie come back to life who just got caught in a rain storm.  And I have no shame about it.

But real talk, let’s get down to business.  What do you need to start running?  Well, you’re in luck my friend.  You don’t need a whole heck of a lot.  Running is one of the most basic forms of exercise.  Humans have been doing it since the dawning of time and it is one of the few things that we are just built for.  That being said, with the invention of modern technology, there are some things that really help.

So, what’s the most important thing a new runner needs? Shoes.  Shoesshoeshoes.  Did I say shoes?  Because it’s shoes.

I’m not lying when I say that the right shoes will make or break your experience running.  If you’re really serious about trying this out, head on over to a running store like Road Runner, Fleet Feet, or another specialty running store and have them assess how you run.  The people who work at these stores are experts.  They know what to look for to make sure that the shoe you choose will be not only comfortable, but functional.

You want your shoes to be a little bit big because your feet will swell after about a half hour of running, so you’ll want that extra space.  Find out if you pronate or not.  This means you land with flat feet and is a fairly common problem, but good news, they make shoes especially for this problem.  If you take the time to invest in a good pair of shoes, you will notice.  Shoes can be a little on the expensive size ranging anywhere from $80-$180 for a good pair, but they will be well worth it.  Plus, this is pretty much the only real thing you need for running.

Other running things you may want:

  • Good socks.  Spoiler alert: you can buy these at the running store too when you get your shoes!  I get really bad blisters on my feet when I don’t wear the right socks, so this can be almost as important as your shoes.  You want to look for something that does not have cotton in it as cotton does a pretty crummy job of preventing blister.  Ask your new running expert friend at the store what they recommend.
  • Moisture wicking clothes.  We’ve all seen people going on runs in baggy t-shirts and shorts and they seem to be doing just fine.  Truth is, they probably are, but they would feel a whole heck of a lot better if it didn’t feel like they were dragging around a wet towel strapped to them.  Do yourself a favor and go to Marshalls and/or TJMaxx and pick up a couple of athletic shirts and pants for $5 each.  You’ll thank me later
  • Music/Podcast/Audiobook.  Not necessarily a requirement, but a nice to have.  Some people hate to run with anything in their ear distracting them from the world around them, but I am not one of those people.  Give me all the distractions.  Currently, I’m really into podcasts for my log runs because they’re about an hour long and there are so many different types that I can always find one to fit my mood.  Plus they’re free.
  • Foam Roller.  If you’re only in to the running thing because you want to get injured, don’t get a foam roller.  I made this mistake the hard way when I first started out.  A) I didn’t know what this mythical beast was.  B) This girl didn’t have time to stretch, she was all business.  Enter IT Band injuries, Piriformis injuries, Knee injuries, foot injuries.  You name it, I’ve had it. That is until I realized how important it was to massage your muscles.  A foam roller helps get those knots out of your legs and to get the blood moving so muscles heal faster and more effectively.
  • A good running app or watch.  You don’t have to track your workouts, but if you don’t how will you ever know how far you ran?  That’s part of the glory after all.  Chances are even if you tell some one you ran a mile this morning that’s one more mile than they’ve probably run since school.  Win for you.  My favorite running apps that track distance/pace etc. are Runkeeper and MapMyRun, both of which are free in the App Store.  As far as watches are concerned, I have the Garmin Forerunner 220 and love it, but it’s much more of an investment than one of the free apps so keep that in mind.

Those are the things I consider the basics.  Not all of them are mandatory you must have this before you run even a foot, but they’re things I have found that help me to keep going and can help you too.


Workout: Let’s try some intervals.  Sprint as hard as you can for 30 seconds.  Stop and Walk for 30 seconds.  Repeat 10 times.


running on tired legs

This workout week has been something.  I took Saturday as my rest day this week, but still ended up walking a couple miles at my boyfriend’s jiu jitsu tournament because the campus where it took place was beyond beautiful.  Why is it that scenery plays such a large part of motivation to get moving?  In between his competitions, I would plug in my headphones and just go for a walk among the rolling hills.  It was the most serene feeling in the world and much more enjoyable than just sitting on my butt waiting.


The campus sat on a hill overlooking this bay and I just couldn’t get over it.  The next day, I was feeling rejuvenated from my rest and decided to go for a run.  7 miles later I felt on top of the world.  I hadn’t meant to go that far, but I was just wrapped up in the good feelings and that was that.  Well, not exactly that because I had my BBG Philly Meetup to get my butt to!  I am loving these meetups.  Some of these girls are the most inspiring, incredible, kind girls I’ve ever had the chance to meet, so when they had a redo of last weeks’ snowed out get together, I jumped at the chance.  The workout was 30 whole minutes of awesome death.  My legs were feeling it in the best possible way and even more so the next day.  I took the opportunity to sooth my legs by just focusing on my arms on Monday, but by Tuesday I was done.


I woke up on Tuesday and I just said “Nope.” and turned around and crawled into bed.  My legs were tired.  My arms were tired.  My abs were tired.  Working out just didn’t seem to be in the cards.

Fast forward a couple hours later and my lunch break was quickly approaching and all that was on my mind was “Maybe I could just hop over to the gym for a quick run”.  I work from home, so when I decided to take lunch, I changed into my workout gear and headed for the door.

The run felt amazing.  I felt strong and powerful and speedy to boot.  Then I got to thinking.  Sometimes it’s important to train on tired legs, especially if you’re training to run further distances and for longer periods of time.  You need to get used to that feeling of your legs and lungs being heavy and really working to produce each step.  The last thing you want is for this feeling to be unfamiliar when you need it most.

When you’re training for something, you’re often working your body in a million different ways and you can’t expect to be on your A game every single time you go out there.  But it’s these tired workouts that change us.  The ones that you don’t really want to do, but you do anyway and you walk away feeling like you’ve overcome everything.  You talk back to that voice in your head saying “just quit already” and you say, “I’ve got this”.

More than a physical obstacle, running on tired legs is in a whole nother mental ballpark.  Working out can be mentally challenging in a lot of ways.  I tend to workout alone so a lot of my brain power is spent motivating myself to keep going, telling myself I can do it, and convincing my brain that what I’m doing really isn’t all that crazy.  Training your mind is just as important as training your body if you truly want to be successful.

All this being said, sometimes it’s important to take it easy because injuries are a very real thing.  But, if you want to challenge yourself every now and again, don’t sell yourself short.  Pick up those tired legs and move em a little bit and show that voice in your head who’s boss.