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Preparation for C25K

If You Run You Are A RunnerI mentioned I’m planning to start the Couch To 5K (C25K) program soon. There are a couple things I’ve learned even BEFORE starting the program that I want to share:

Wear good shoes.
The last time I tried to do it I was using OLD sneakers that I thought were just fine. They were NOT. I ended up bruising my joints so bad (ankles and knees) that I could hardly walk for several weeks.

Know your trails.
I live in an area where we have a great network of bike/walking trails, plus the American Tobacco Trail which actually has distances measured. If you know your trails, you’ll know which ones to avoid during certain weather. Sunny and hot? You’ll know which ones are shady. Rainy weather? There’s actually a trail nearby with a flood warning sign. Bug season? Avoid the ones by the slow-moving creek.

Walk your trails before you run them.
I considered just starting C25K without any kind of “warm up” as far as getting used to moving again. I seriously would have been going from the couch into the program. I discovered quickly that trail-walking involved using muscles I wasn’t used to using anymore! MY HIPS! THEY WERE SORE! So I’ve been spending a few weeks just walking the trails (trying to pick up my pace or increase my distance with each walk) to get used to using muscles that are involved with things like stabilizing my body or climbing up/going down hills.

Check your distance.
SparkPeople has a handy-dandy “Map Your Route” function (Don’t worry, a membership to SparkPeople is free! Tell them Ailinea sent you!) to help you with distance. The route I did today was almost exactly 3 miles. I originally thought it was longer! Glad I didn’t set out to do more only to discover I’d have to keep going!

Music is your friend!
I’ve made playlists of songs that are fun and upbeat, or remind me of my college crew days. For example, I remember “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers had a great beat to row to, so I included it in my “Upbeat Gym Rat” mix simply because it reminds me of those gym workouts. I have HOURS on that one playlist. When I set it to shuffle, I always have something new to look forward to.

Get a good set of earbuds.
I just picked up a pair of Yurbuds Ironman Series Headphones. I had a pair of in-ear earbuds from Apple that I used with my iPod, but they tended to fall out. I’ve only tried these new earbuds once, but so far there’s a vast improvement. They’ll take some getting used to, but they definitely stayed in. (I will do a review of them later after I’ve tested them some more.)

Other motivational accessories!
I love my Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor. A pedometer is useful too, and you can get one pretty cheap. Lately I’ve fallen even MORE in love with my iPod Nano (6th generation) because it combines a pedometer with a fitness tracker, has the vocalized “coaching” to go with your runs/walks, and hey! It plays music, too! You don’t even need the Nike+ shoes to use it. When I hook it up to my computer, it automatically uploads my workouts to the Nike fitness sites. I just LOVE tracking that stuff.

Clothing.
I have a variety of t-shirts and shorts/leggings to work out in. Already I’ve worn one shirt that I will NEVER wear again for exercise. The neck was too tight! Good sports bras are also important. And SOCKS! Some of my “athletic” socks have a seam that ends on the curve of my claw-like baby toe. The blister I worked up just from a short (~1.5 mile) walk bothered me in other shoes I wore for the next few days.

SUNBLOCK!
I have very fair skin. Sunblock is a must! I need like SPF 5000 to not get a sunburn! Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses!

Water.
If you can’t carry it with you, have easy access to it when you’re done. Rehydrate even if you think you haven’t sweat that much. Do it for your body.

Do you have any other tips that you can think of to add to this list? Are you a runner with any advice? Leave a comment to help a running noob out! ^_^