9 Observations and Tips from a Newbie Runner

I started training early August for my very first 5k race coming up this Sunday, October 16th. I’m going the #distanceforDC at the Scotia Waterfront Toronto Marathon.  This is a bit of a bucket list thing, I’ve been talking about on and off for a couple of years.  After running regularly since the beginning of August (about 4-5 times per week) , I have some things to share:

  1.  Running is hard, but if you start slow and go at your own pace, it’s doable. I’m still waiting for it to get ‘easy’….yep, still waiting…
  2. The “Runner’s High” is a thing – there is nothing better than meeting or surpassing the goal you set for yourself that day. It’s a physical buzz (I’m sure there is all sorts of science behind that) and it’s an emotional high.
  3. Use a GPS to measure your distance rather a step tracker (Fitbit) like I did. I thought I was running 5k, but it was probably closer to 4.
  4. Running can be crushing if it didn’t go the way you planned. Maybe you didn’t go the distance, or it was a struggle the whole way, or you had to walk when your goal was to run the whole distance. You need to shake off the bad feeling.  It’s important to get out and try again – your next great run is around the corner.
  5. Gear matters. By now you’ve probably heard that shoes are important, but so do socks – “sweat” socks just don’t cut it, try some that are designed for running. Dryfit or other sweat wicking material is actually a thing that makes you feel better on a sweaty run, it’s more than just a marketing ploy (which I discovered pretty quickly after running in a cotton t-shirt in the summer).
  6. Make sure your pants fit because once you start moving they may keep wanting to fall down because they’re too big or too small. If this happens on run you may get distracted or you’ll distract others – ha!. Either way, not good.
  7. Have a good place to put your phone/keys/cards. I was keeping it classy by sticking them in my sports bra, but now I have a running belt – MUCH better. I urge caution if you’re going the arm band route – I had chafing problems.
  8. Be Safe – I never noticed how little shoulder some country roads have until I ran on them and cars were whizzing by. Thank you to everyone who gives me lots of space – those drivers get the wave. For those who don’t I just shake my head – is it that hard to move over? Also, if you’re running at dusk, dawn or  in the dark reflective gear is a MUST.
  9. Suddenly, despite my best efforts, other areas of healthy living are interfering with my life. I’m eating more vegetables and lean protein but eating less processed food and sugary desserts. Oh, and drinking more water. We’ll see how long this goes…So far the has wine remained sacred.

 So where to go from here? Right now all I can see is Sunday. After than? If the experience is positive (which I hope it is) I might have to find something else to sign up for.

In the meantime, here are some things I’m still trying to figure out for me:

  • How frequently should I run?
  • What is my best approach to improve my pace?
  • What shoes do I like best? (I’m talking more than just fashion here)
  • When will I like hills?

 Wish me luck!


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Debby Allbon

IT nerd, alumna, project manager, technology guru.

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