Keys to successful running

Silhouette of three women running on asphalt

Do you run (or walk) for exercise? I definitely won’t claim to know it all, but I have done my fair share of running.

While never in track, I played volleyball and basketball in my jr. high and high school years. We ran A LOT of drills!

Then came college, and I discovered that I really did enjoy running. There was freedom in not being concerned with speed or pace. I didn’t have a running buddy or a motivational partner. The joy was in the uncomplicated movement, the rhythm, the solitude and time with a great playlist.

Many years have passed since that time. Sad to say, I have not been a very faithful runner. The responsibilities of work, marriage, family and other obligations sometimes made it hard. 

There were times I chose other activities – like kickboxing, HIIT, yoga or working in the yard. (If you do it right, you can definitely get a good workout!) There was also a time in my life when (sadly!) I chose to do nothing.

Inevitably, I come back around to running/walking.

Enter the “Fun Run”

Several years ago, our church volunteered to man a water station for a local 5k/10k Fun Run. The next year, a friend talked me into running it – only a week before the race!

I wasn’t in terrible shape and he reminded me – “you don’t have to run the whole 3 miles; there’ll be plenty of people walking!”

He was right! I didn’t run the entire 3.1 miles, and there were plenty of people walking. Surprisingly, I finished in about 45 minutes.

I have participated in the Beneeezy Purple Monkey Fun Run many times since then. Unfortunately, I usually don’t sign up until the very last minute. That means there is never enough time to “train” for the race.

Aimee & Darren selfie before 5k race
Beneeezy Purple Monkey Fun Run 2019

After last year’s event, I decided I would sign up and start training early for this year’s race.

Registration confirmation with "9 Weeks From Race Day!" superimposed

After getting registration out of the way, I decided to do some research on preparing for a 5k – as if it were my very first race.

Things to consider before you begin training

Your running gear is just as important as your training plan.

While you may have a selection of sweet kicks made by your favorite athletic brand, the important question you should ask is: were they designed for activity or leisure? Having the proper shoes could play a huge factor on the success of your training (and race!)

Trying on shoes. Right shoe is pink and shows pronation. Left shoe is black and has more structure.
The pink shoes were really cute, but I need more stability. See how my foot rolls in a little bit?

If the tread on your trainers look pretty good, you still need to take a look inside the shoes. Signs of fraying on the inside of the heels, thinning in the uppers or broken down insoles means it is probably time to replace your shoes.

Believe it or not, your socks are just as important! I know a lot of folks like those “no-sho” socks, but if they end up slipping too far down you will likely end up with painful blisters.

Wearing well-fitted sweat-wicking clothing will help you stay cool, prevent chafing and allow full range of movement. Plus, looking good in your new running gear can be great motivation!

On race day, there are usually hydration stations throughout the course, but you need to stay hydrated during your training sessions. Invest in a reusable water bottle that is easy to drink from. Since I plan on doing most of my training runs around my neighborhood, I can leave my water bottle on the front porch and swing by every lap or two for a quick drink. If you need to carry your water bottle with you, make sure it is easy to drink from and comfortable to carry.

Your homework for today:

  • Take inventory of what you have and decide what you need first to get started. Having good running shoes and proper socks are arguably more important than an over-priced pair of leggings. Start with your shoes.

Getting the right pair of running shoes doesn’t have to break the bank. Mine were found at a nearby Nike Outlet Store. I did some research on the most likely styles of shoes that would work for me (I pronate, and typically need a little more structure) and tried on 5 different pairs.

Take your time and be aware of what the return policy is – Current COVID-19 policy for Nike: ALL SALES ARE FINAL.

  • Sign up for your race!

Many races have been cancelled or delayed, due to the social distancing restrictions. The Beneeezy Purple Monkey Fun Run is going virtual! “Race Day” would be any time or day around September 5th. That gives me the right amount of time I need to get into racing shape!

If you don’t have a race happening near you, I would love for you to be on my Team! 

Let’s train (virtually) together and share our progress in The Emerging Tribe!

Click here for Part 2

Once you’ve taken care of your shoes and signed up for your race, the next step is to determine the kind of training program you should be following (it isn’t all running!) and the fuel your body needs to be successful.


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