How to Start Running | Part 7: Running FAQs


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Here we are. The last post in my "how to start running" series. I took a month off, and now I'm back with the final hurrah. This series has been so fun for me, and I hope it has been helpful and fun for you guys too. I went back through the posts and commented back directly on my blog to questions that were asked, so if you asked me something during those first few posts, check back!

For this last post, I just wanted round out the series by answering a few frequently asked questions. These are some I see and hear a lot that I want to touch on briefly. Of course, if there's anything you still want to know, feel free to email me! Or leave a comment, and I'll answer it! (And I'm not done with running posts by any means, so don't worry. I have a "what to wear to run in 20-degree weather" post planned next in my queue.)

1. My shorts ride up while I'm running! Is this normal? What can I do to fix this?

I am thankful to say I've never personally had this problem, but for those of you who do, know that you aren't alone! There are actually a lot of people this happens to. If you've tried different pairs of shorts and they still aren't working, try wearing some capris. Or spandex with shorts on top if you don't want to show off your cheeks for all to see. You could also try a running skirt. I haven't worn one, but I know a lot of people who love them.  If you have found a good solution to this problem, leave a comment and share your knowledge!

2. I've tried running, but I always get so bored! How do you make it not so boring?

Honestly, listening to podcasts is the main thing that helps me keep it interesting.
You can check out my top 5 favorite podcasts for running if you missed that in part 6. Here are a few other things to try, which you've probably heard before but they're all true:
-Run a new route
-Run hills
-Run speedwork on the track
-Run with a friend

The main thing, though, is to try to just enjoy the run. Mentally, you have to be positive. Don't think of it as a chore. Think of it as a time for you to be alone, get some perspective, let your mind wander to whatever it wants to wander to. Where else do can you get that kind of solitude? In a day when people can't go two minutes without checking Twitter (I'm looking at myself here), I think it's good to have a hobby that involves some quality alone time. Being alone doesn't have to be boring, but that's a post for another day.

*I will add that sometimes running is boring. Those are the runs that make you want to throw out your running shoes forever. But the next one is always better, so don't give up!

3. It's so hard to get started running. How do I keep motivation?

First of all, I suggest you read this post from one of my favorite running bloggers on how running is never really easy. She says that if it were actually that easy, everyone would be doing it. But they aren't.

So yeah. You need to realize that it's not going to be easy. Sometimes it's going to royally suck. The main thing that helps is to take baby steps. I talked about this in part 1. The main reason people fizzle out (in my opinion) is because they don't realize how long it actually takes to build up stamina and endurance so you can run a mile or two without feeling like death. Because you will feel like death for a while, and you have to be patient.

Like I mentioned in part 3, setting a schedule, another way to keep motivation up is to actually sign up for a race. My friend Justine started running for I think 20 seconds at a time. Maybe it was even shorter than that. She kept going, adding running time, working toward her 2-mile goal race. She ran it. 

Then she ran the Color Run with me a month or two after that! We ran the entire time! I'm super proud of her. Having that original 2-mile goal race was the motivation for her to keep going, and likewise having a goal race in mind will keep you going on those days you really don't want to get out there.

If you have any good tips about how to keep motivation going, leave a comment! We've all been there.

4. Most marathon and half marathon training plans I see recommend running 4-5 times a week. Why do you only run 3 days a week?

Some of you think I'm a complete nut job for training for a marathon running only three days a week with no cross-training. I would agree with you, but I've been following a 3-day a week schedule for about 2 years now, and I love it. I don't feel like I am burned out by running, and I also don't feel like running takes over my entire life. Even when I'm training for a marathon, I don't feel like it takes a ton of time.

I have no other proof that my plan isn't too crazy than by telling you I trained 3 days/week and beat my goal marathon time by a full 15 minutes, so I don't at all feel like I am doing myself a disservice by "only" running 3 days a week. I also haven't been injured. KNOCK ON WOOD. I had a few blisters, but other than that I haven't had any problems.

The only thing I will say is that I don't do any real speedwork or tempo runs, and if you really want to get faster--like, really get faster--you probably need to be running more than three times a week. That's just not where my goals are right now, and for me, keeping it fun and something I want to do instead of something I have to do is most important, so I'm sticking to my 3 days a week schedule for now.

5. I hear a lot of people talk about compression socks. What are those? Do you use them?

I talked about my compression sleeves in my post on 6 tips for faster postrun recovery. Long story short, I do not like wearing compression socks to run in. A lot of people use them. I've tried it, and I don't like it. It's personal preference. I DO, however, love wearing my compression sleeves after a run for recovery. I absolutely notice a difference. You should get some.

6. What headband are you wearing in your race photos?

It's a Bondiband. I talked about it more in this post. You really need one of these if you don't have one already. And by one, I mean five. You need five.

7. My half marathon training plan says to only run a longest run of 10 miles. But that's another 5k left to add on! Will I really be ready?

Most half marathon plans have you top out at 10 miles. Marathon training plans have you running 20 miles. That's an entire 5k or 10k to tack onto the end of the longest run you've ever done, and at first that sounds scary. But if you can run those distances, you will be completely fine for your full race. At that point it's not about the distance but about the training you've put in during the weeks and months before the race.

Trust the schedule, trust the training, and you will cross that finish line!

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Sooo.... that's it!
If you have any more questions, feel free to email me.
Please share this series with anyone you know who's wanting to start running.
Let's encourage each other!
I hope you enjoyed this series and maybe met some new running friends through the featured running bloggers. 

Until next time, happy running!

*I am not a personal trainer or physician. This post is not intended to offer medical advice. Contact your doctor before beginning a fitness routine or if you experience pain while exercising.
Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

I am not a runner but I am working on it and agree with you. It definitely helps me to sign up for a race and have something to work towards.

Betsy said...

I definitely need a race to work towards or I won't be motivated to run regularly! When I feel like my weekly runs are slipping (and by slipping I mean not happening...) I find a 5k in the near future and BAM I'm back on the wagon :)

Megan said...

Totally agree with the signing up part for motivation! Once you have a date on your calendar and have put that money down, you'll be much more motivated to get out the door. No procrastinating! :)

Also, I'll have to check out those headbands! I definitely need one that won't slip.

Jennie said...

I love your running series! It makes me think that I should buck up and do it.

Beka @ Sunshine to the Square Inch said...

Such good insights.

For a new runner who is struggling to run I'd 'pick a spot' to run to. For example, if you want to quit but see a stop sign about 15 feet ahead ask yourself 'Can I make it to that stop sign?' The answer is usually, yes! When you get to that stop sign pick a new 'marker' and run to it. Before you know it you'll have your run in.

Also, I don't recommend long distances in shorts. Not good! My friend wore a thong and shorts for her first marathon and lets just say she had some blisters in her crack. OUCHIE!

Jeneric Generation said...

In a weird sort of way, I was hoping that this post would make me never want to start running (???), are kind of working your magic. Maybe I just need a few more months of reading your running posts to finally do it! I'll keep you posted.

Unknown said...

I loved this series so much! :)

Raige Creations said...

Awesome series.
Thank you.
It inspired me to do a little series of my own actually, What Running Has Taught Me.
Here is the latest one, working on another 'after race' one for this week.

Amber Marie said...

Perfect way to wrap up the series! I know you have helped so many people through the posts, me being one of them! I have bought, ran, and raced in bodibands and am so thankful for you introducing them to me; I have incorporated podcasts into my runs to keep from being bored; and you have answered a lot of my other random questions along the way. You did a great job, Amanda! Thank you :)

Helene in Between said...

looks like i need to get myself a bondi band!!

17 Perth said...

Great round up here! And for number 1--I have serious thighs. :) I have found asics are the best shorts that don't ride up!

Tammy Jo said...

I love bondi bands!!!

Courtney Rose said...

Everytime I read this series I become so motivated to run more...and then I actually get out there and run and I do not enjoy myself! :( Maybe this time it will stick...maybe!

Andrea said...

This is so great! I can't wait to get back and read through the rest of your series. I've always wanted to be a "runner" and I just am not sure how to get started. Hoping this gives me some inspiration. I found you through Claire @My Devising and am following on BL now! -Andrea

Unknown said...

Love the tips! I love reading these because I always feel encouraged and that's it's totally possible to run without dying!

Jessica Elyse @ Memoirs of a Mommy said...

I'm so sad this is over! I loved reading your suggestions. For #2, I have found that one of my big motivators is having MapMyRun app running on my iPhone. It tells me how far I've gone and my time every mile. Then it tells me my overall average time per mile. It encourages me and gives me a game to beat my time mile over mile. We will see how that pays off next summer when I do my triathlon!

Melissa said...

Any tips on running at night? With the short days and my long work hours it leaves so little time to get out there

Anonymous said...

such a great post, and i'm glad to read that another runner *only* runs 3 days a week. anything more than three and i start to feel like running is taking over- 3 is the magic number :) but, truth be told, i've never ran farther than a 5k. time to change that, perhaps?

Unknown said...

I don't run unless someone is chasing me. The fact that you listen to podcasts AND run? Have mercy on my soul! That takes talent!

Sarah said...

I loved this series so much!! I'm adding a bondi band to my Christmas list!

The Lady Okie said...

Please do keep me posted!

The Lady Okie said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

The Lady Okie said...

It is really hard. I feel like Braveheart sometimes. Like, CHARGE!!! *20 seconds later* I think I'm dying.... ha!

The Lady Okie said...

A 5k is great! 3 is the magic number for me too. No shame in that!

The Lady Okie said...

That is a great question! I am thankful to have my apartment gym (at least for the time being) to run in when it gets dark. Reflective gear is a MUST for running outdoors in the dark. You can get lights or vests, and there's even shirts you can get that are reflective. That's really I think the most important. And being aware of your surroundings. You might also look into a Road ID bracelet, which has an emergency contact # and person on it just in case. Hope that helps!

Unknown said...

The other day I met a cute old lady going to the gym for her aerobics class with her medical cane, from for those who want to share with your loved ones. I was so touched that at her age she would still stay active and have fun. That was a true reminder that you are never too old to stay in shape!

Fly Hurland said...

I have just now taken up jogging and wanted to know: How do you measure the distance you´re running?
I would just love to see how much better I´m getting!

The Lady Okie said...

That's a great question! I use a Garmin GPS watch to measure distance and time. However, if you don't want to buy a GPS watch (they're a little expensive), you can measure by distance or time on your own! You can map out a route in your car and then use a regular watch to see how long it takes you, and then you can see if you're improving that way... if it takes less or more time to complete the route. I hope that helps!