A beginner’s guide to running

It’s 5 AM, and the alarm is buzzing. Rubbing my eyes and stretching, I roll out of bed and head
straight for the coffeepot. The first sip hits my soul. I smile as I slip on my socks and lace
up my shoes. I finish my coffee, brush my teeth, grab my phone, and head for the door. There is
a chill in the air and it makes me grin just a little. I smile because I know what is about to take
place. For the next forty-five minutes my mind will be clear, the weight of the day will ease off of
my shoulders, my body will work hard as my feet pound the pavement. For forty-five minutes, I
am completely free.

My wish would be that everyone finds that one thing in life to help them feel free, even for just
forty-five minutes. I love to share the knowledge I have absorbed over the years and
nothing makes my heart swell more than helping someone achieve their goals. I get those proud
“mommy” moments every single time. Here is a list of what I feel to be the most important things
a beginner needs to know about running. I hope it will encourage and inspire the new and
the old to get out there and get running.

1) Shoes matter. Whether you are walking, standing, or running, your feet are doing a lot of
work. Keep them happy. This doesn’t always equate to a ton of money, but if you are going to
spend your hard earned cash, spend it here. If you aren’t sure what your needs are, there are
stores that will do a free fitting and gait analysis to help you choose the perfect shoe for you.

2) Pick a plan and be prepared. If you have never run a day in your life or if you haven’t run for
ten years, it’s probably best to not throw on your Crocs and run five miles at a seven-minute
pace and then convince yourself that running isn’t for you because you tried it and didn’t enjoy it.
Running is hard and because we have evolved as humans, it isn’t exactly natural for us any
longer. There are thousands of free plans and articles online to choose from. Look for plans that
work well with your lifestyle and start out with low mileage or as a run/walk plan. Yes, runners
walk, too.

3) Stop comparing yourself to others. Some of my friends run lightning fast and some run
molasses slow, but we are all in our own stages of running. There are days I run with my
friends whom are all magical gazelles, and I am a baby giraffe born twenty minutes ago, that has no cluehow legs work yet. No matter what, stay in your own run. Comparison will kill confidence.

4) Have goals. Make them small and attainable. If my goal is to run a 5k in six weeks, I join a
beginners running group and sign up for The Martinsville 5k. I train, build confidence, and I do
so well that now I want to have a new goal of running the Harvest Moon 10k. I register and the
training begins all over again. Having a goal can help keep you focused and inspired. It gives
you a reason to get out there. Signing up for a race can give extra motivation because no one
wants to waste money.

There you have it, guys. Now that you have tips, let me tell you how to find me. There are
never ending amounts of local opportunities in our community to get you moving such as our new group, Runners Connect, which presents activities designed to bring together folks of like interest to broaden the local running community. The program will also serve as a source of information for experienced runners, newcomers, and for runners visiting the Martinsville-Henry County area. You can find me on Facebook at “Runners Connect” of MHC, or you can email me at ashley(a)martinsvilleymca.com if you aren’t on social media. If you need a little one-on-one time, stop by the Martinsville YMCA or email me for an appointment. Don’t forget, our Martinsville Half Marathon and 5k training groups are starting this month. Go to Milesinmartinsville.com to browse and register for any of our awesome local races.

2020 Miles in Martinsville Races
• Martinsville Half Marathon & 5K – April 4th
• The SOVAH Super Run 5K & 8K – May 2nd
• The Martinsville Speedway Mile – August 15th
• Harvest Moon Run 5K & 10K and Dancing on Depot – October 2nd
• Nail the Rail 9 Miler – November 7th
• Turkey Day 5K and Family Fun Run – November 26th
• Light Up the Night 5K – TBD