Whether your following a walk to run program, starting at your own pace or you’ve decided to give it all you’ve got, being prepared for the expected and unexpected can go a long way. There are certain things that every runner, and even walker, should have when heading out the door to pay homage to the gods of the pavement.
1. Bring a source of hydration. Even if you have to walk your course and leave a bottle for you to find, be sure to have ample fluids at your disposal. Water should suffice, but if your going all out, trade in the aqua for a sports drink.
2. Bring a form of I.D. Things happen, be it an accident, an asthma attack or even a curious patrolman in the early hours or late at night, you’ll want to have the bases covered.
3. Bring or wear something reflective when running at night. Winter light fades fast and summer days may prove too hot, just remember either way, drivers need to see you and may not be paying particular attention, especially if you’re running at an odd hour.
4. Bring the right shoes. Is it raining, a light sleet, or a full snow? Will you be on a trail, track, road or grass? Different terrain calls for different shoes, so choose wisely for your particular occasion.
5. Bring a band aid or mole skin. It may sound wimpy but a bad blister, particularly when new to running, can cause a good start to a new goal to go south in a hurry. You can always tuck a few pieces of mole skin or a band aid in the band on your shorts or some other place.
6. Bring a watch. Whether timing sprints or setting your pace, a watch will keep you on track and let you know when it’s time for the turn around.
7. Know that music is a mixed blessing. While some tunes may keep you on pace and entertained, remember to leave at least one ear bud out and keep the volume down, nothing will ruin a run faster than an unheard vehicle or person. Instead, you could take the lack of distraction to observe your own breathing and surroundings.
8. Know your location. Whether it’s a track, neighborhood or trail, you should always know where you’re going. Early morning runs can catch the best of runners still in sleep mode and trails sometimes have an uncanny ability to send you round the wrong way.
9. Know who you’re running with. Running might be the greatest of solitary activities, but no man is an island, there will be others. Try to recognize your running neighbors, and know ahead of time, nothing ruins solitude worse than an unseen track practice or walking group.
10. Know to stay on the sidewalk and run against traffic. As common sense as it may seem, there are countless runners, particularly in small neighborhoods or country roads, who forget the importance of this one, don’t be that guy.
Running is a way of life. You might start out slow, maybe even do more walking than running, but nothing can beat the thrill of watching your body transform, just remember to be heads up with your efforts.