By Angella Dykstra

How I became a runner

Tags Health

I was a "big kid" growing up, and not one for athletics. I was a nerd (I skipped third grade!) and one of my high school electives was to peer-tutor other students in Algebra. I had some good genetics and a friendly personality that balanced out my nerdiness and I made it through high school with a pretty great experience and friends I keep in touch with to this day, thanks to Facebook.

When I hit my twenties, I decided to tackle my lack of metabolism with the help of a nutritionist. I ate better, started going to fitness classes, and felt like I was taking care of my body. 

A year after my husband and I got married, we moved to the small town where he grew up (and where we still live). At the time, there were no fitness classes, so I decided that I would start running. As I tried to learn how to become a runner, he surprised me with a book on running, and ran with me until I could run 5K without stopping. Then he told me that he was done with running -- he hated it, but did it to support me. I married a good man, but that's a post for another day.

If someone like me who doesn't have the body of a "runner," can run, so can you. Some people (like my husband) can run without training, but most of us can't. That said, you can still run any distance you want to. Here are a few tips to help you:

1. Get the proper running shoes. This is the most important point. Go to a running store where they'll watch your gait and have you try on different running shoes and figure out what's best for you. Good shoes = good support. With the right shoes, you'll feel like you're flying.

2. Use an app for training. I used the Couch to 5K app when I got back to running after having kids. The prompts save you from having to constantly check your watch.

3. Hydrate. This is something I tell everyone, runner or not. Drink water all day long. 

4. Get a running partner. I have different running days with different running partners and the conversations and encouragement during those runs are amazing. Instead of sucking wind on my own, before I know it we've logged more miles than we'd planned. I have days where I run on my own with my earbuds in, and those are great, too.

5. Dress properly for the weather. I run outside through every season, and if you have the right clothing, you can too. Running in cold temperatures  is so much easier than running in the heat of summer. In the summer heat, wear a tank top and shorts, lest you melt.