We all have a reason for venturing down this journey. Mine was a bit out of the norm – avoidance of final exams. Things have changed over the years and I no longer run to avoid aspects of my life, I run because it brings me copious amounts of joy and it challenges me. It’s also created a community for me – runners are the best kinds of people. You’ll hear me say that a lot.
I had grown up with my dad being the runner of the family, and so I had stood on the sidelines of many Comrades Marathons, however, this had very little influence on my decision to begin. A community group had started hosting weekly runs on a Tuesday and Thursday evening, and a close friend of mine started getting into things around the same time as me. These two things made it more accessible.
Anyway…I had a pair of running pants and some tops that I thought were suitable, along with my mom’s ancient Nike’s and my standard underwire bras – COOL! Let’s hit the road, shall we?
So, this is it…the things I wish I knew when I first started running:
The right gear is imperative
You know I mentioned how kitted out and ready I was? Well…nope. I would soon learn that running with a normal bra hurt, wearing cotton fabric clothing was uncomfortable, hot, and it would never smell the same again, and last but not least, my mom definitely needed new shoes.
As with any hobby, it helps to have the correct equipment. Fabric that breathes well, anti-chafe, and supportive underwear and shoes which are fitted perfectly to your needs.
- Shoes: REMEMBER! You can’t rely on another person’s experience with a pair of shoes for you to make your choice! Shoes are extremely particular so take the time to visit a specialist store, like The Sweat Shop, to ensure you get the perfect fit.
- Shorts: Esjays make the most beautiful running clothing. I love their pants the most because of the ample pocket space (key pocket and two large side pockets), the double lining, and the silicone strip around the waistband. Other brands to look out for: Bean Bag the Brand and Funky Pants. Bean Bag the Brand tend to be great for pear-shaped bodies and just as a heads up, Funky Pants tend to have a thin waistband which isn’t everyone’s favourite.
- Sports bras: You need to look after the ladies! Shock Absorber makes a brilliant bra that is great for women with a cup size C and up. A-B cup sizes can get away with compression bras, however, for larger busted ladies you will need the extra support.
- Underwear: Runderwear is wonderful for underwear. I personally run in their g-string.
- Socks: When it comes to socks, I am a lover of Versus. They have the best designs and I don’t experience any blisters with them. There are many ladies in my group who tend to favour Falke or Balega, so if Versus give you blisters, try an alternative brand.
- Earphones: From a safety/security perspective in South Africa, if you’re running alone I wouldn’t recommend this. However, if you’re looking for something that won’t fall out of your ears and has a considerably high sound quality, then be sure to check out Plantronics
2. Don’t expect the beginning to be easy
Were you surprised when the BBG program by Kayla Itsines sucked at first? Were you surprised when your butt bone hurt when you tried cycling again for the first time in years? Was it a shock when you lifted some heavy weights or tried out booty bands and the day after it felt like your groin may FALL OFF! How a groin would fall off I don’t know – but that feeling is REAL!
Running takes time to adjust to, and like with anything you feel passionate about, there will eventually be a point where you click and it all becomes more enjoyable. Just like that time when you used to drink Four Cousins Rose because red wine was not palatable. See! Even that took time!
3. Running is the best way to make friends
Thanks to communities popping up all over the place, such as CMIYC and Park Run, it has become more accessible to join a running group without it necessarily attracting an intimidating athletic type of person. This is great for people like you and me because everyone starts somewhere. Runners are crazy levels of supportive. If you stop to walk on a Park Run route, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone will encourage you to keep going as they pass you. They will emit all the positive vibes you need to keep on pushing.
4. Form and strength are important
Weight training? Pfft! That’s for men! Isn’t it?
Running is a high impact sport, which means your form and your strength can either make or break you. Cross-training is an imperative component of building a strong and injury-free runner.
Your running form is a topic which I will go into in more depth within the program, but there are some pointers which I will give you so that we start you off with the right habits in place.
5. There’s more to running than running
Intervals, fartleks, strides, hill repeats, and suicides. These are all a few variations to just going for a run, and each of them. Case in point. Each one of these types of running adds an extra component to your training which will only improve your overall performance.
6. Walking is just fine
Taking a break to catch your breath is honestly just fine. I remember when I first started running, I was so adamant about achieving 5km without stopping, but the thing is as you increase your distance, even with walking, you can build a stronger 5km or whatever distance it may be.
And that is pretty much that. I think that running is commonly perceived as something which is going to be simple to grasp because it is something we have most likely all been doing since we could walk. At school, I remember being forced into athletics days to get extra PT marks for the subject. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that it is going to be simple. You’re going to have to win some and lose some with regards to gear, you’re going to have to learn about your body as you go and you’re most likely going to hurt in the beginning. But! This is why I am here.
If you still feel hesitant about beginning your journey then just reach out to me and let’s chat!
This was my first 10km race and those clothes were amongst my first running purchases. Don’t get me wrong – you can find decent running clothing at Mr. P Sport, but these shorts and shirt were not great. At this stage, I also wore a pair of Adidas shoes in a size 6 which was way too small.
This was my first 21.1km race. Those shoes lead to such bad injuries for me and those shorts wouldn’t stop riding up – I chafed really nicely between my thighs.
I then discovered Esjays, and now these are my shorts/ 3/4’s and longs of choice.