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What New Runners Should Be Ready For

4 min read

By Emily Lockhart

It doesn’t matter if you got a pair of nifty new sneakers for Christmas and just took up running, or if you just ran your 26th half marathon—we all started out somewhere, and by that I mean every new runner learns similar lessons along route. Some of these little nuggets of wisdom are positive (i.e., the permission to invest in cool new sneakers) while others (i.e., mid-run diarrhea) can be surprisingly negative and somewhat humiliating.

Low and behold, the 10 things every new runner should be ready-set-go for…

1. Sweat in Unmentionable Places

Sure, when you exert yourself, you’d expect to break out into a clammy sweat under your armpits, but as a beginner runner the sweaty areas that most surprised me where behind the knees, all over my feet until I was a slippery mess in my shoes, and um, down, way down in a few other unmentionable regions.

Okay so I was a bit taken aback by the swampy undercarriage effect, but what really spelled disaster from dampness in these zones was the resulting chafing and blisters. Yeah. Super gross and painful. So do yourself a favor and invest in a good sports bra, socks, and undies with wicking material.

2. The Importance of Proper Sneakers

You might not want to invest a ton of cash on a pair of shoes your going to sweat in and ruin, particularly if you’re not sure running is for you. However, the fastest way to make sure running is NOT your friend is by using cheap sneakers.

A quality, well-fitting and supporting sneaker will prevent aches and pains…no not muscle pain, but permanent knee, shin, and foot injuries that can plague you for life if you suffer an injury.

3. Running is Hard

And I mean really hard. That’s why between the lungs gasping for air, the sweat in your eyes, your legs that have suddenly turned to noodles, and the little voice in your head telling you you’ll never make it home if you run all the way around the block—it’s tough not to just throw in the towel.

I know it sound cliche, but it will get better and running will get easier as your body gains strength and endurance. If you keep it up, you might actually learn to like, no love it!

4. Walk This Way

I have a confession to make. The first, second, fifth, and even twenty-sixth time that I ran, I had to turn it down a notch and walk for a bit. No, I didn’t view it as a failure. In fact, if I haven’t run in a while, I usually ramp back up by walking in intervals during my runs.

Give yourself a break and walk if you need to catch your breath. I even recommend running and walking in alternating 2-minute intervals at the start. This will train your body to get used to the impact of running so you can gradually reduce your walking time and replace it with solid running time.

5. You’ll Be Hungry AF

The week I started running more than a decade ago, I got hungry. And I’m not talking the normal sort of hunger after a run now. I’m talking the ravenous sort of hunger that had me ripping into peanut butter jars and scooping out that nutty goodness…with my hands…to stifle the angry growls from my stomach. The entire jar with my hands, people!

It took me a little while to understand how to healthfully replace the calories my body was burning without creating a calorie surplus (eating WAY more than I burned from my runs). I also learned to appease my hunger by shoving all visible food in my mouth as fast as I could, and started by eating a small snack after my run then giving my brain 20 minutes to register the food I’d just eaten, before eating more.

6. High Impact Exercise vs. Gravity

Listen up ladies. Let’s have a little chat about your breasts during a run. During my early days of running, I made the grave mistake of slipping on a old, stretched out sports bra and running 2-miles.

I learned a valuable lesson about high impact exercise and gravity that day…two important lessons, actually. Needless to say, investing in a high impact support sports bra is important.

7. Yes, You Look Ridiculous

But you won’t care when you run in mismatching tights and t-shirts, neon hoodies, tube socks pulled up to your knees mid-winter, reflective strips tacked to your backside, and gasp, a fanny pack for your phone and house keys. Why?

Because when you run you’re concerned about comfort and safety, not how you look. Plus, it will just motivate you to run faster and not take any breaks.

8. Running Poops

Your marathon-training co-worker may not have mentioned it (but he knows), but thanks to the effects of high impact exercise and gravity, every runner has experienced the sneaky running poops.

Depending on when you run (good morning!), the last time you went, or what you ate and drank during the day, running poops (and even running diarrhea) will sneak up to you in the worst situation. Hopefully you run near a mall or in a park near public bathrooms. No, look there’s a bush…don’t be embarrassed it’s kind of a running rite of passage.

Emily Lockhart


Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

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