First thing’s first: Don’t underestimate the power of a brisk walk to warm up and post-run stretching. This article from the Globe and Mail notes pre-run stretching can be counter-productive and compares stretching to piece of gum. “You put it in your mouth and chew it for 10 minutes – then take it out and stretch it. Voila! It stretches with ease. Take that same piece of gum out of your mouth and put it on a table, then try to stretch it 10 minutes later when it’s cold. It stretches with resistance and snaps. Muscles work very much the same way.” Try these post-run stretches from Huffington Post.
Next, have realistic expectations and set a goal. You will not be able to run 5k right off the bat, and if you try, you will most likely never run again. Ease yourself into it with an app like Couch to 5k, a running program designed to get just about anyone from the couch to running five kilometers or 30 minutes in just nine weeks. It alternates walking and running intervals, gradually increasing the run over nine weeks, until you are able to run 5k or 30 minutes non-stop. RunKeeper is another cool app that lets you enter a target pace at the start of your activity and get coached on whether you are ahead/behind that pace through your headphones, along with tracking how far you went, how long it took you, and the route you travelled.
Running is easy on the wallet given it’s free and you can do it just about anywhere, but we do recommend investing in a quality pair of shoes, if nothing else. A good pair of shoes will absorb the impact on your bones and joints, saving your knees and shins. We like Reebok Runtone – the airpods on the outsole create micro-instability, activating your muscles as you stabilize yourself, while the synthetic mesh offers breathability for your feet.
Something else worth investing in, especially for our larger-chested friends, is a decent sports bra. Our friend at Happy or Hungry who has big nungas herself (as she calls them), has done the research and recos the Ta Ta Tamer from Lululemon. Cheaper bras are okay for strength training and yoga, etc. but you’ll definitely want to keep strapped in on the run, so it’s worth the trip to Lulu.
Some other easy ways to enjoy your run include making a killer playlist (try not to listen to these songs until your run so you are pumped when you hear them!), listening to an audio book, or catching up on Mad Men (when on the treadmill). Basically, make your run interesting so you’re not focused on the hard parts. Switching from the treadmill to an outdoor jaunt can help too – a change of scenery can do wonders.
And remember: You don’t have to run fast. You just have to run.