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.


snowpacolypse & taking a minute.

The theme of this week has been slow down and take your time.  I am not a fan of slow.  I want to run faster.  I want to get projects done more quickly.  I want to constantly be go, go, going.  But, this is no way to live and I keep learning this the hard way.

It all started with my annual check-up with my doctor this week.  Ever since my whole iron thing, I have kind of avoided doctors like the plague.  I had to see so many doctors during that whole excursion, I just didn’t want to anymore.  So, I’ve been living in limbo just hoping that my iron is fine and taking my pills religiously.  I decided to bite the bullet and see the doctor this week for a physical and she recommended I get my blood drawn, which came as no surprise.

I had to go on Thursday at 9:45 because that was the earliest time available and I just wanted to get it over with.  I went in and started talking to the phlebotomist and let her know this wasn’t my first blood drawing rodeo.  I had gotten my blood taken probably 25 times just during my iron spell alone.  She tourniqueted me up and got to work.  I was doing fine, until I wasn’t.  All of the sudden, my vision went blurry and next thing I know I was dreaming.  I woke up to a new man who had entered the room calling my name and putting a cold, wet towel on my neck.  I had inexplicably passed out.  I’m still not entirely sure why, but it is probably the second most surreal thing that has ever happened to me after going to the ER two years ago.

They had me lie down in a new room with my legs up until my face regained color and they could let me go.  As I lied there, I thought about how much this screwed up my plans for the day.  I was going to go to the gym.  I still had a ton of work left for the rest of the day.  I had to take my dog on walks.  I had a whole bunch of errands to run.  I had choir rehearsal.  I didn’t have time for this.  But, that’s when I thought about it some more.


I could make all the plans in the world, but I’m not always in control.  Sometimes, it’s okay to take a break.  My body was screaming out to me to slow down, but I didn’t listen.  I didn’t go to the gym that day.  I didn’t run any errands.  I spent my afternoon and evening resting.  I thought about how lucky I was.  How lucky I was that even though I couldn’t workout today, I still had a functioning body that has allowed me to do some pretty amazing things.  I can run, jump, dance, and walk just fine whenever I want to.  That is such a luxury and something I take for granted far to often.

I was reminded to slow down again today when I was forced to.  We were annihilated by snow.  Honestly, it just keeps coming.  I’m a Chicago girl through and through, so I’ve seen my fair share of snow, but this is a whole bunch.


Of course, with a lot of snow comes the inability to get anywhere.  So, I set up a little station at my house and started to get my workout on.  I did a leg workout that took me about 30 minutes and then did 15 minutes of HIIT.  This is a pretty short workout for me to be honest, but I think that that’s a good thing.  Every workout does not have to last an hour and a half just to count.  I worked hard, I got sweaty, and I felt good afterwards and that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?

This week has been humbling.  I slowed down and took my time and I feel refreshed for it.  I was adaptive and faced challenges head on, which isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  I could have done things a lot differently, but I’m happy with my choices.  I don’t have to be perfect everyday, I just have to be grateful that I have legs, lungs, and a body that allows me to get up and move every day.