Good Content from: Saucony Athlete Noah Droddy
So you’ve bought your first pair of running shoes (or dusted off some old ones), you’re wearing shorts shorter than you ever could have imagined and you’ve joined Strava – let’s face it, if a run isn’t uploaded, did it even happen?
First of all, congratulations. Running is a beautiful sport, and the only price of admission is running. It doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow, on the roads or trails. It doesn’t matter if you run a little or you run a lot. From your first step, you are just as much a runner as anybody. Running can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. Really. My first piece of advice to you, is to focus on you. Don’t be intimidated by your friends’ long runs or fast runs. Set out at a pace that feels comfortable, and tackle a distance that feels manageable.
Maybe that’s one mile at first. Maybe you have to stop and walk at some point. That’s cool, you’re still a runner. The key to running is slow progression over time. The run you did today will make it possible for you to do more in the future. I am an experienced runner, I competed in high school and college, and I now run professionally representing Saucony these days. Even I start from zero sometimes. Earlier this year I experienced a knee injury that kept me from starting the Marathon Trials. I’ll be honest, it was a devastating blow. After the dust settled, and my knee felt good enough to run on again, I decided I was going to start slow and short, to make sure I could rebuild a strong foundation for my future training. My first week back running, I started with one mile. For a couple weeks, I slowly added distance, capping my runs at 30 minutes or so. Fast forward to the summer, my body is feeling strong, and I’m running about 13 miles a day. But that wouldn’t have been possible without patience and a systematic approach.
Chances are you won’t ever want to run 13 miles a day. Believe me, I totally get that. But the principles are the same. Say your goal is to complete Saucony’s September Sixty challenge on Strava, and complete 60 kilometers worth of running over three weeks. If I were a new runner looking to tackle the challenge, I’d probably start out with 15k the first week. Maybe 20k in week two, and I’d make the third week, when you’re more used to running consistently, my biggest week at 25k. I’ll let you check my math on that. But it’s really about letting your body adjust to a new stress, and then gradually increasing that stress in a deliberate and systematic way, with the goal of being able to handle more stress at the same effort. On the days you feel good – maybe run a little more. If you head out the door and feel terrible, cut the run short or take the day off. It’s ok to do that.
Plan some routes out around your neighborhood if you can. You’ll be surprised at the things you notice as a pedestrian you hadn’t realized were there. You might also want to have a ‘bucket list’ of routes. Maybe there’s a cool park nearby you haven’t checked out before – exploring is a neat motivator and can get you out the door when you don’t feel like it. Most important though, is to involve yourself in the running community. Join up with a running friend. Join a running group, real or virtual. Seeing the hard work your friends are putting in can be a powerful tool to hold yourself accountable to your own personal goals. If you have questions, or get stuck in a rut, check out your local running store. They are almost always staffed by friendly folks who have years of running experience, and they’ll be eager to help you
Most important of all though, is pursue your own joy through your running. Make running what you want it to be. Run how far you want, how fast you want. The only right way to do this is your way. Happy trails.