Running for Beginners: 6 Things You Should Know Before You Lace Up

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We know we’re almost halfway through the year, but we’re not into relegating goal talk only for January 1. At Dallas Iron Fitness, we think any time is the right time to begin challenging ourselves to create healthy habits so we can live happier lives.

Running often makes people’s list of health goals, whether it’s to run a mile, run a 5k, run a half marathon, or go nuts and run a full marathon. But becoming a runner isn’t as easy as waking up one morning, throwing on those old tennis shoes you’ve had since college, and pounding the pavement for 5 miles..

When it comes to running for beginners, these are the 6 things you should know before you lace up:

1. Shoes matter.

No, you can’t use the pair of tennis shoes you’ve had sitting in your closet since sophomore year of college. And there’s more to it than going into Payless and picking out a shoe that’s on sale. There are 3 different types of running shoes: shoes for running on pavement, running on trails, or cross-training. And then it gets even more complex depending on how you run, too. Our suggestion: read this guide from REI and then get to a sports store and ask an employee to help you pick out a running shoe that tailors to your running style and needs.

We personally LOVE these White and Gold Nike MetCons, a cross-training shoe perfect for running and trips to the gym.

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2. Get sweat ready.

You run, you sweat—that’s inevitable. But there are fabrics that exist to create more breathability, so you won’t feel like your wrapped in a quilt in a sauna while you run. Find some workout clothes that help keep you dry and allow for airflow. One of our favorite shirts is the Lululemon Keepurcool Racer—the material hugs in close to the body while keeping you dry, so it’s the perfect fit for a run!

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3. You need accountability.

Becoming a runner can be a major lifestyle change, especially if you don’t already practice a regular fitness routine. As with any lifestyle change, you’re more likely to stick to it if you have accountability.

Studies are here to back up the case for accountability. According to a study done by The American Society of Training and Development, you are 65% more likely to achieve a goal if you are being held accountable for it by someone else, and you are 95% more likely to achieve your goals if you have specific appointments with a person holding you accountable.

There are lots of ways to get accountability: find a personal trainer, join a running group, or even use an app that preps you, like the popular Couch to 5K app.

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4. Warm up.

You’ve got your perfect shoes, your perfect shirt, and an accountability partner. So now it’s just a matter of hitting the pavement, right? Not quite.

Running is a strenuous exercise; you must ease into it, especially if your body isn’t yet used to extensive physical exertion (don’t worry, it will be soon!). Risks of running without proper preparation include pulled muscles, knee problems, and other joint pain and injuries. That’s why the Couch to 5K app is a great resource: its plan eases you into running, guiding you to build endurance so you can eventually run a 5k.

Warm up before your run with three to five minutes of gentle walking, dynamic stretching, and jogging strides.

5. Stay hydrated (the right way).

Since running is a strenuous exercise, you’ll need more than just water to hydrate. This is where drinks that replace electrolytes are needed, like Gatorade. We’re a big fan of all things AdvoCare, and so we love these AdvoCare Rehydrate Stick Packs for replacing those electrolytes that we’ve sweated out by a good run or workout!

6. Rest.

As with any workout routine, you need to rest your body accordingly. Watch for these 10 signs that tell you when it’s time to take a day off from your newfound love of running.

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