So you’re new…

So you’re new…

I’ve been there, hell I’m still there.   These are some of the things I’ve done wrong and done right since I started my trek down the #NOTARUNNER path.  Mostly wrong.

“That second piece of chocolate takes far less convincing to get you to eat it.”

#1 thing done wrong.  Not getting the right shoes to start with.   Shoes remove a considerable amount of ‘this sucks’ from running.  The wrong shoes will give you hip pains, knee pains, back pains.   Shoes are not something you can easily go cheap on or do it by yourself.   Do you supinate?  Pronate?   Do you need control shoes?  Are you a neutral?  Are you a heel or toe striker?    The answers to these questions strongly dictate the shoe that will be the least sucktastic for you.    And it takes a lot of research and even then you can get it wrong.   But you know what?   Those skinny folks at the local runner stores typically have a lot of experience with a lot of shoes on a lot of people’s feet and they typically do a lot of research for their own shoes which they typically own a lot of.  Bottom line is they’re typically a very happy to help, very knowledgeable crew.  And go to the local store rather than some nation wide chain.  You’re far more likely to get enthusiasts of the sport rather than folks just earning a pay check.

#2 thing done wrong.   Don’t buy two shirts or shorts in your current size when you’re starting out running and you know you’re going to lose a fair amount of weight.  One will get you through and then when you drop a size you can buy another one.   Yes you’ll lose points in the fashion contest wearing the same gear each time but you’ll also not end up with gear that you wont’ ever use again as long as you’re running.

#3 thing done wrong.  Make sure you properly lace and tighten your shoes.  Speaking from experience coming back from a out and back with blood soaked shoes this is important.

#4 thing done wrong, well kind of depending on your disposable income level.  Big name brand gear with big name brand logos on them aren’t necessarily any better.  You’re paying for that name, the tv and print and online ads and apps that go with it.   That doesn’t make it bad per se.  But if you can buy 2 or 3 Champion tech shirts for the cost of 1 UnderArmor shirt… There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with going the UA or [insert other expensive lines of clothing].  But there’s also nothing intrinsically wrong with going with a lesser fashionable and subsequently lesser cost option.

#1 thing done right, set a training schedule and stick to it come hell, high water, work, weather, sickness.   Not injury, don’t run injured if you can avoid it.  But do everything you can to stay on schedule.  When you miss a day it’s far easier to miss the second time and easier to miss the third time and then it’s been 3 weeks since you last ran.    It’s much like dieting.  That second piece of chocolate takes far less convincing to get you to eat it.

#2 thing done right, find the rightist shoe I could of the available options.  You very likely have far more options in a shoe so enjoy your freedom of choice but choose wisely.

#3 thing done right, taking my time.  At age 50 there’s very much more risk in engaging in physicality than at age 20.   I’m using heart zone based training rather than pacing or distance.   Pace and distance will come along naturally.  But this way I can be, and feel, comfortable that I’m not going to blow out a ventricle.   It took me 5 months to reach a 10k and you know what?  It’s not a race.   It’s a way to get healthier and have a chance to be around to see grand kids or at least see the kids become responsible adults capable of self sufficiency.

Asics Nimbus 19

I’ve had my Nimbus 19’s for maybe a month now with maybe 50 miles on them, mostly shorter runs in the 3 to 4 range and one 8 mile run as of now.

“if you were getting pounded by well over 300lbs 3.4 times a week for 4+ months…”

Being a #NOTARUNNER I can’t give you a ton of technical details on these and honestly you can get that stuff from Asics or Running Warehouse etc with far more substance and authority than some random 50 year old on the internet who’s been running for 6 months.

What I can say is that for a large runner such as a myself the Nimbus 19s are one of the few options you have in a road shoe.  For trail shoe’s we’re even more screwed but more on that later.

Luckily the 19’s are a pretty good option as it turns out.   My prior shoe was the Nimbus 18’s.  The 18’s in my opinion wore out fast in the heel area for me but if you were getting pounded by well over 300lbs 3.4 times a week for 4+ months you’d likely wear out fast too.  [So many comments could be made here].

The 19’s are not as wide as the 18’s both visually and in practice.    This is an improvement I believe in general.

The heel support isn’t as obnoxious on the 19’s, I don’t even notice it’s there thankfully.  Unlike the 18’s where that rigid heel cage would on occasion be very noticeable and un-enjoyable.

Don’t get me wrong, the 18’s were up til this point a good shoe for me of the very few options I have and they had close to 300 miles on them. And I’m hard on the heel area of shoes, it’s always the first place that wears out on me.

The toebox is about the same.  Which for me means my pinkie and ring toes on my right foot still rub but they do that on every shoe.

The cushion feels a bit softer but honestly without a brand new pair of each it’s really impossible to tell other than just “I think it’s better”.

Bottom line, there’s a reason the Nimbus line is one of the most popular shoe lines for runners and although stupid expense to thee and me, at the end of the day, reducing the suck factor of running is worth the extra expense for me.

Big Shoe Dance

If you weigh more than than a duck then it’s very likely that shoes are going to be really important for you in reducing the suck factor of running.

What’s this?  My knees don’t hurt?  My hips don’t hurt?  Witchcraft!”

When I decided to get off the couch I bought a pair of ‘running shoes’ based on Amazon reviews.   They were cheap, 1200+ people had rated an average of over 4 stars, they must be fine right?

Not so much.   That first month was a lot of knee and hip pains, lower back pains and general suck.   Not being the size of a duck I assumed it was due to a combination of lack of exercise, weight and in general feeling like I was learning to run all over again.

So a real runner, a co-worker/friend, told me I should go to the FLSS so I did.  A very friendly and knowledgeable girl (I’m 50, she was maybe 22 which makes her a girl from my perspective) watched me walk, measured my feet and then recommended a few options.   I tried them on and in the end walked out with a pair of Brooks Ghost 8’s.

Very next time I ran, “What’s this?  My knees don’t hurt?  My hips don’t hurt?  Witchcraft!”

In full disclosure those Brooks while they felt good in the store and they worked for the distances I was doing at that time (not very) turned out to be not as great for much more than 3 to 4 miles as I found out over time.   But they’re good 5K shoes.

The moral of this story is you need to find out how you walk, do you pronate, do you supinate, do you need control shoes?  Are you a heel striker or a toe striker?  Do you like a lot of drop or minimal drop?   These are real, valid, technical questions that deal with your actual running form, gait and general physiology.   And it takes luck or some real guidance to find the pair of shoes that works with you because folks shoes are not made equal.

When you’re starting out the first thing you should do is visit one or more local shoe stores that are at least operated if not owned by runners.   You might get lucky with a national chain and find sales people who are actual runners but a local store is much more likely to be staffed by #RUNNERS who have gone through many models of shoes, have helped other people select even more shoes and have run with a lot of people who’ve talked about their experiences with even more shoes.    And typically, because they’re real runners, they’re super enthusiastic to talk to you about running and shoes.

Be aware that if you’re on the far end of the bell curve like me (size 13 4E typically) that they may not have very many (or any) shoes in your size in stock.  But they can certainly recommend some options.   And statistically it’s unlikely you’ll have the same issues I do in shoe selection.

Additionally, at the time of this writing, Running Warehouse offers a free video analysis of your running form.  Just send them a short film of you running on a treadmill and they’ll come back with some recommendations.  FWIW the folks at RW have been super awesome to work with in my short stint of running.    Just recently I asked them a fairly involved question one evening.  I’d done my due diligence but I wanted to reach out to people who had the ability to be hands on with the type of item I was asking about, probably had personal experience with it.

I got back a response in a few hours that basically said “Give us time to research this”.   In a couple of days they came back with a long technical email outlining various options, features, pros and cons of items that fit my fairly demanding question.   For someone to do that kind of research for a customer?   You don’t see it much in most industries in this day and age.

Anyway…

if you want a little less suck in your career of being #NOTARUNNER then shoes are important.  If you’re on the end of the bell curve in weight?  Then they’re even more important.

About Me

In spite of efforts of others,wife, family, friends, co-workers to categorize and label me, I proudly proclaim myself as #NOTARUNNER…

WTF am I doing out here?”

I started in July 2016, doing a C2K, then a C2K Level 2, then started a 10K Level I starting that program around Week 4.  A couple of weeks into that 10K I was peer pressured by #RUNNERS into signing up for a Half Marathon which hits in 5/2017.

I started that training regimen which brings us to today.

To date (2/11/2017) I have completed 5 5K’s races #JEWELRYCOLLECTOR and have a longest run of a hair less than 8miles.

When I started, my mixed run walk, mostly walk, mile pace was 18 minutes.

My current pace is 12 minutes a mile for greater than 5K’s and 11 minutes a mile for 5K’s.

My fastest mile is 9:37.

I’ve been around for 5 decades and while active with sports, paintball, and yes running in my teens and 20’s, in the last 20 years it’s been mostly a sedentary white collar married with kids lifestyle.   The running in my 20’s was all fueled by being single.   And let’s face it, more girls find being fit attractive than the girls who don’t.  So running was very much just a human version of the male peacock’s plumage and a way to be not single, at least occasionally.

In the last 5 months I’ve lost 60+lbs (which helps explain my starting pace eh?).  And yes I know July to January is 7 months but the first couple of months I didn’t really lose much at all in terms of what showed on the scale.   That weight loss was done by tracking calories and at each stall point the base calories were reduced by 10%.  Calories burned in running were added to the base calorie allotment.

In the time frame that I’ve been running I’ve come to realize that running isn’t enjoyable for me.  Shocking I know for all you #RUNNER’s.

I know you may know otherwise, the whole joy in life is putting on your shoes and hitting the street or trail  and for you that’s true.

For me, the results of running can be something to be enjoyed, but the act of running itself?  Not so much.

I share this information as it shows that everyone has to start somewhere so don’t stress it.   Don’t worry if you don’t get that unicorn, the ‘runners high’, I’ve never caught a whiff of it, don’t worry if after 6 months of running you still hit a wall at the first half mile or so where you ask yourself, “WTF am I doing out here?”

Because neighbors I’ll be metaphysically right there at your side going WTF.

You hear this spouted ad naseum but truly the important thing is to just get out there and do.  Yes it’s going to suck.  It may stay full of suck for you.  It may get better.  You may get that runner’s high, you may find you enjoy the effort and pain of pushing your body to it’s current limit.  Or you may be like me and proudly proclaim your #NOTARUNNER status.

But every day barring 1 day (surgery and a 38 hour straight work ‘day’ combined) for the last 6+months I’ve been out on my stupidly expensive shoes doing whatever my training schedule  has told my stupidly expensive watch to tell me to do.  And if I can do it, in spite of my walls and my moments of “OMFG this sucks ass” then I’m sorry to say, you can too.

We’ll see where tomorrow takes us…