Are you looking to "lace up your sneakers" and "hit the pavement" but aren't sure "where to start"? Well, fear not. Dumb Runner is here to help.
There's an abundance of information for runners out there—some might say an overabundance—but when you're just starting out, all you really need to know are these five key things.
Oh, also, we've included some photos of cute puppies. Because they're just so cute.
1. Start Slow
New runners tend to be, let's say... "overenthusiastic." As a result, they do too much, too fast, too soon. This is a big mistake. Overdoing it when you're just starting out can lead to burnout and frustration, at best, and injury at worst. Instead, ease into a new running program. Begin by running ever other day, max. Measure your runs in minutes, not miles. Be patient.
2. Get the Proper Shoes
You don't need to spend a ton of money, and you certainly don't need to agonize over which shoe is "right" for you. But you really should visit a specialty running store to discuss your needs with a knowledgeable salesperson. Don't be shy about asking questions, and take the time to try out several models before you settle on one.
3. Run With a Buddy
This is, hands down, the single best piece of motivational advice you'll get. No "reward" or piece of fancy gear will get you out the door more reliably than a friend will. This is especially true for morning runs—it's near impossible to skip your run and stay in bed when you know your buddy is counting on you to show up.
4. Keep Your Diet Under Control
Lots of folks—and not just beginners, either—seem to believe that if you run even just a few miles a day, you can eat anything you want. This is false. Almost everyone underestimates how many calories they're consuming, and even experienced runners tend to overestimate how many calories they burn while running. (Hint: It's not that much.) You've got to eat, of course. Just don't go crazy.
5. Stop Worrying So Goddamn Much
Seriously. Running might seem intimidating and complicated. It's not. I promise. Don't fret about whether you're getting "enough" protein in your diet, or whether your shirt is sufficiently "technical," or whether your heart rate is in the right zone. You're fine. Keep it simple, take it slow, and hang in there.
Also, whenever possible, pause your runs to stop and admire any puppies you see. Puppies will make you happy.