Q: Beyond Joe Jogger-Taking my running up a notch?


What’s the 1st bit of advice you can give to someone who is just breaking into the world of running? I am a 41 year old female, I have always used running as my fave form of cardio. A few months ago I tried my first 10k and have been hooked ever since, I would like to take it up a notch but I need some healthy, helpful tips on where to start.

-RC in Texas



RC in Texas-

I love to hear stories about people getting hooked on the sport!  It sounds like you really took to the race atmosphere, so my advice to you would be to pencil in some more competitions.  You are in a great age group.  Participation rates are high, the health benefits are amazing, and its a gateway to social opportunities that get you out of the gym and onto the roads and trails.

Check out your locally owned running shoe store, and ask about group runs.  Most towns have some kind of free organized training group that meets once or twice a week, and many of these groups target certain races and work towards them.  And if group running isn’t your thing, having races to look forward to will give purpose to your workouts, turning your cardio sessions into “training.”

Road Race StartYou don’t have to be ultra hard core or run marathons to take your casual running up a notch, but there is a whole world of running culture out there to explore…pick up a copy of “Runner’s World” or “Running Times,” join a running social network, check out the gossip message boards, and research the pro athletes on the track and on the roads.  Join USATF, and try a variety of races (XTerra trail series, Roads, Cross Country, Master’s Track).

Avoid this mistake: Many enthusiastic new runners think getting serious means jumping into marathons.  If you really want to, go for it.  But I encourage people to stick to 5k’s,  10k’s and half marathons for the most part because you can do several a year and track your progress, they are super fun and challenging, you can train without getting injured, and you are less likely to burn out on the sport.  You also have energy left at the end to enjoy the after parties!

Welcome to the club,