Wednesday, January 6, 2016

5 Things New Runners Need #DSGFit4U

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Vocalpoint and Dick's® Sporting Goods. All opinions are my own (as they always are). 

One thing that almost always makes it onto my list of New Year's goals: Running. I'm still trying to figure out what races (if any) that I want to do this year, so for now, I'm running for the love of it. I've been running for years, and it never seems to get old. But if this is the first time you've had a focus on running, then I'm here today to offer you a list of five things that you (the new runner) need to invest in.

What kind of running gear should a new runner buy?
At it's very core, you don't need anything more than shoes to run. Literally, you can put on shoes and run. But if you want to use running as a serious form of exercise, there are some tools you should have on hand. Let's discuss.

5 Things New Runners Need

1) Running Shoes
Again, you can strap on some shoes and go. But if you want to train for any sort of distance race, or if you want to make running a regular feature on your weekly schedule, then you should invest in running shoes that are well-suited to your individual needs. I figured this out by trial and error, and am currently loving Mizuno Wave Rider 18s and Enigma 5s. I suggest you ask the shoe pros for help. They might also suggest you invest in a decent pair of running socks...

5 Things New Runners Need
...but that's entirely up to you. Some people are picky, I am not. (I am, however, intensely curious about Feetures! socks. People swear by them.)

2) A GPS Device
There are a number of apps you can download that will track your distance—trust me, when you get serious about running, you'll want to track your distance. I used to use MapMyRun on my iPhone, but switched to a Garmin Forerunner 15. GPS Watches are expensive, but totally worth it. When you start to train for a race, and as you work to improve speed and efficiency, they're truly the best resource you'll own.

3) A Running Jacket
This, of course, is only applicable to runners that must deal with cold temperatures. Because seriously, you can still run when it's cold out. (Translation: You can avoid the treadmill when it's cold out.) I got my first running jacket years ago that has kept me warm on a number of winter-in-Michigan runs. But sadly, it's starting to show it's age, and I wanted something that would keep me warm to and from the gym, too. So I picked up this Under Armour ColdGear Infrared Full Zip jacket on a recent trip to Dick's Sporting Goods.

It's so warm. And lightweight, which is everything I ever want in a running jacket. It's not thick, but it keeps me warm. You wouldn't think it would because it looks more like a sweatshirt, but it does.

There's room to layer, too. But I know what you're thinking: Is a running jacket really necessary? Yes. Because there's nothing worse than hating every step of your run simply because you wore the wrong thing. Don't improvise, just trust me. Running jackets are worth every penny.

4) Running Friends
Investing your heart and soul into a relationship has its benefits, and when you can call another runner your friend, it's the type of relationship that will pay off over and over again (for both of you). Running friends are the best because they totally will want to hear about your awful five-miler, or they totally will wake up at the crack of dawn with you to pound pavement, and they'll absolutely praise you for pushing through the distance of the day. Don't go it alone. Find someone, find a group of someones, and turn them into friends—because support groups rock. Where to start? Look for local running groups. Or chat up that person that's always on the treadmill next to you.

5) A Target Race
There are some runners that hate organized races. To each his own, but I think it's something that every runner needs to experience at least once—and I think it's an experience that can be particularly motivating for new runners. Not only will it give you an end goal to work toward, the finish line at a running race will add fuel to your running fire.  Get one medal, and you'll want more. I promise. Good bling can be great motivation! (Because seriously, we all know the odds of winning Olympic medals are slim to none, eh?) Additionally, there's this little thing called a PR (personal record). It always feels good to finish a little faster than you did last time.

Bottom line, you need to become the runner that YOU need to become. Whatever works for you, whatever motivates you to find goal success—that is what you need. The more you get into running, the more you figure out the gear, the tricks, the races and the training plans that work for you. Your goals are totally achievable this year. Please don't forget that.

For more running gear, visit Dick's Sporting Goods. Literally, it's a one-stop shop for anything and everything you could possibly need. 

For more fitness inspiration, check out the Wild Workout Wednesday linkup.

If you're still looking for the perfect 2016 desk calendar, enter my giveaway for the most motivating page-a-day ever! (Ends Friday, January 8, 2015 at Midnight EST.)

Question: Experienced runners, is there anything you'd add to the list above? Additionally, what advice would you give to new runners? If you are a new runner, what are some of your questions and/or concerns?

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