Preparation will really help you get the most out of your body, physically and mentally while running. The following are in no particular order but it’s something all runners should be aware of.
1) Shoes – It’s very important to start out with comfortable shoes and make sure if you’re running you wear “running” shoes. Running shoes are lightweight (some exceptions) and have the support to handle the long runs. Any pain in your shins or around the knees may come from the footwear you’re wearing because you are under/over pronating. Remember that running shoes are for running and just because its hot pink or the current fad, doesn’t mean its comfy.
2) Shorts / Pants – Runners run with shorts most of the time even when it’s freezing. Make sure that your shorts are dri-fit (Nike) or any “running tech/fabric”. These type of shorts will not hold your sweat as much as 100% cotton. The last thing you want to do is run in wet shorts.
3) T Shirts – Also very important just like the shorts that you get a dri-fit(Nike) top. However if you’re running short distances a cotton shirt will do just fine but you will regret it since cotton loves to absorb sweat. For women, I don’t know much about bras so I can’t answer what kind you should get. For men, make sure it’s snug or else you will have “bloody nipples” chaffing and that hurts!
5) Hat/Glasses/Gloves – Hats will protect you from the suns rays and so does sunglasses. I would recommend a black hat (Sweat line if white) and sunglasses that are as minimal as possible with rubber-like frames. The gloves are only in the winter and lucky you if it never drops below 60 degrees in where you live.
6) Food – Do not run on an empty stomach and I’m aware there are some people who do that. I’m not saying its necessarily bad but if you’re running 5+ Miles on empty you’re just asking for it. The last thing you want is losing all your energy. Eat something light such as a banana or oatmeal so your body won’t have a hard time digesting it.
7) Water- Drink plenty of water but don’t drink too much that you will end up going to the restroom after half a mile. There is no way to get water intoxication unless you really drink so much water that your sodium levels are all the way down. As long as you do not get dehydrated which is normally impossible to do within an hour of drinking water. Once you get this routine down, you will realize that you know how much water to drink and the approx time you will go to the restroom!
8) Tracking/GPS – In order for you to get the best possible times you can invest in a GPS watch or
what I use, Nike+. This will help you keep track of your progress and there are numerous web sites where you can share. I’m using Nike+ with Runkeeper and DailyMile
Update as of June 2012: I’m using the Garmin Forerunner 110 since I lost my Nike+Sportband.
9) Music – This is a must in my opinion and I have not met a runner who is against listening to music. However as an early advice, there are races where you cannot use headphones due to safety issues. Also if you go on jog.fm it has a great collection of mixed playlist for running.
10) Brain – 90% will be mental the longer you run. Your body will be physically exhausted but your mental state and will power will bring you so much farther. It took me a while to learn this and learned it on my very 1st 10 Mile Run. When you’re on mile 8 or 9, you start to give up on your first time but it took music and lots of will power to get pass the 10 Mile Marker!
That’s all the tips for now, so get off your butt and put your shoes on and run!!