Running 101: Tips and Gear to Become a PNW Runner

You don’t have to subscribe to running magazines, wear skimpy shorts, or run marathons to consider yourself a runner. One of the best things about running is that you can run almost anywhere, for any duration, and (with the proper attire) in any weather. If you only have ten minutes a day, you can walk up and down a hill or a flight of stairs near your home. If you have an hour, you can easily discover a new neighborhood in your area or find a regular running route. Running is a fun, effective, and inexpensive workout that you can do alone, with a partner, or in a group.

Running is a great way to carve out time each day to get outside, an easy way to enjoy the natural beauty around you, and maybe even make some new friends. Another great appeal of running is that you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get started. All you need is a comfortable pair of running shoes (or two), a well-fitting sports bra, and reliable running pants to get started.

Recently, I attended a running event with REI at Discovery Park to learn more about the significant strides REI is making to support runners now more than ever. REI is expanding its product assortment for running gear and apparel, deepening its training for retail product experts, and expanding its partnerships to encourage people to come to the co-op for all of their running needs. I was able to spend a few days learning and trying out gear in quintessential PNW weather conditions.

One of the most interesting things I’ve learned is that a majority of their members already consider themselves runners. In its consumer research, REI found that people generally fall into two categories of runners: “soul” runners and “goal” runners. A soul runner runs for the pure love of running. These people have unlocked the mental health benefits of running and participate primarily because it feels good. Running is a great way to fight anxiety, fight depression, and reduce stress. Goal runners, on the other hand, are people who have a plan. These goal-oriented people want to run a certain number of miles or run at a certain speed. Goal runners can casually sign up for their first 5k and then start working to set new personal bests. Before you know it, they might even be heading for a half marathon. However, many people move between these two groups based on the role running currently plays in their lives.

Since the start of the pandemic, running has seen a resurgence in popularity. What I found interesting about running is that it can be both a polarizing sport and a gateway. I can’t think of any other sport where people are so quick to say in casual conversation, “I hate running!” I often wonder the following: do they have the right kind of shoes, do they own the right running pants, or are they wearing the right size sports bra? In addition to having the proper undercarriage; have they ever pushed their bodies and felt the intoxicating runner’s high? Have they ever witnessed a beautiful sunrise or had a typically bustling park to themselves on an early morning run? Needless to say, I never ask these questions, but these thoughts have crossed my mind.

Running is a great entry-level sport because once your stamina is built up, an impromptu game of basketball or a hike with friends doesn’t seem so intimidating. Running is also the perfect elliptical trainer for all sports. Running is often only part of a person’s larger identity, as people who run are more likely to engage in a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking to biking and running. camping.

REI Co-op Expert Advice: “How to Start Running”

Before starting any new exercise routine, consult your doctor. Running is a high-impact physical activity that can put extra strain on your body. Make sure your joints and body can handle the impact, especially if you’ve been sedentary or have other health issues.

Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, the steps to starting a new running routine are simple:

1. Start by walking: If you are new to exercise or have been sedentary for a while, start slowly. Progress to walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week.

2. Add running: After you’ve been walking for a few weeks, build some jogging into those 30 minutes. Warm up with 5 minutes of brisk walking then gradually mix walking and running. Try running for 1 minute, walking for 2 minutes, and repeating. As you become more comfortable running, lengthen the duration of your run.

3. Focus on time first, then increase your speed, stamina and mileage: Focus on increasing your running time first rather than distance. The main idea is to get out and move, no matter how fast you do it. Once your body is moving steadily for a while, you can pick up the pace, increase your mileage, or increase your endurance.

Equipment for beginner runners

Shoes. Prepare yourself and have your approach analyzed. It is imperative to know how your foot touches the ground in order to have a shoe that will best support you. Did you know that everyone runs differently and it’s called your running signature? Your running signature is your body’s usual path of motion and everyone’s is slightly different. In order to protect against injuries, it is essential to have a well-fitting pair of shoes. A worn-out pair of shoes is a good way to tell if you’re pronating.

Both the Brooks Glycerin 19 and Ghost 14 are great neutral support options for everyday cushioned road running. The Ghost 14 is also their first carbon neutral shoe. The ON Cloudvista is the perfect choice for a lightweight and versatile trail running shoe.

Bra. Breasts change over time, especially as you get older, have children, and/or have breastfed. Make sure you go gear up properly. Did you know that a woman wearing the wrong size bra during a marathon ends up working the equivalent of running an extra mile!

The Brooks Dare Racerback is a great high impact bra, with adjustable straps and back closures. The Drive 3 Pocket Run Bra has an ingenious design where you can store your cell phone in its back pocket and even has removable cups.

Trousers. What you’re wearing may seem relatively unimportant, but a perfectly fitting pair of running tights won’t slip off while you run, can hold your phone and keys securely, and reduce the amount of vibration your muscles experience. The pressure exerted by a sturdy pair of running tights can help draw blood away from your legs and back towards your heart and provide extra support for weak areas such as the knees.

The REI Swiftland running pant and the New Balance Shape Shieldpant are two of my current favorites. The Swiftlandpant comes with an inner drawcord that gives you the perfect fit every time and the Shape Shield is extra thick and extremely soft; I like the higher placement of the pockets. If you’re looking for something other than black, the ON long tights come in a beautiful sea foam green perfect for spring.

Outerwear. If you race in Seattle, it’s entirely possible to feel all four seasons in one race. You could start your run in wind and rain and end it in sun or hail. Spring in PNW is particularly ubiquitous in terms of temperature and weather.

The REI Swiftland Cold Weather Running Jacket is ideal for ultimate versatility, you can wear it casually for errands or work and then hit a run later in the day. Thumb-support sleeves keep you toasty on cold morning runs. The Brooks Canopy Jacket is the ultimate waterproof jacket, it’s both wind and water resistant, packable and made from 100% recycled materials. The entire jacket can be stored in a backpack integrated into the jacket.

Socks. It’s surprising how something so small can make the difference between an enjoyable and miserable ride. The Smartwool Women’s Run Zero Cushion Stripe Low Ankle Sock is both breathable and durable; it wicks moisture away from your foot and keeps you comfortable even when wet on the outside.

Running is an individual sport that will be different for everyone. How often you run, the distance or the speed depends on your body, your motivation and your goals. Running doesn’t require a ton of gear, but it will be helpful and motivating to have some basic, sleek gear at the start.

Note: Some products were given away for free. However, I had no obligation to write anything other than my experience.

Lisette Wolter-McKinley is a runner and freelance writer for Seattle Refined. See more of his work here.

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