7 Resources for New Runners – To Learn, Connect and Be Inspired

Something very strange (and very exciting) happened recently.  I was contacted, twice on the same day, by two different people – asking me for advice/recommendations on where to find good information about starting to run.

You may wonder why this is strange.  Perhaps it isn’t strange to many of you, but to me, it felt . . . odd.  People are asking me for resources?  People want my input??

I still sometimes have a difficult time thinking of myself as someone that others would come to for such information, but I am also rational enough to know that I have learned and experienced so much over the last year+ that I can proudly share what I know with new runners.  But, of course, I am a resource only because I’ve sought out and learned so much valuable information from others who have been doing this running thing a lot longer than me.

In that vain, I wanted to share some resources that I have found to be invaluable in my journey to becoming a more experienced runner.  Anyone can start running without accessing any of these resources at all – that’s one of the wonderful things about the activity – but if you’re looking to become a more efficient or effective runner, it can help to do some reading and research.  If you want to run faster, farther, longer, or safer, for instance, it’s beneficial to draw upon the bounty of information that is out there.

I hope others who may be thinking about taking up this great activity, as well as those who have already done so, will find these resources useful and will put to good use the tips, encouragement, and motivation to continue hitting the pavement (or the track or the trails or whatever)!  Please know, that this is not an exhaustive list.  I have accessed many, many books, articles, websites and other resources over the last year or so.  These are, in my opinion, just some of the best places to start!

For Useful Information, Understanding the Basics, & Tips on Training & Recovery:

1.      The Runner’s Handbook: The Bestselling Fitness Guide for Beginning to Intermediate Runners by Bob Glover  runners handbook

This book is a gem.  Some of the information may seem very simple, but it’s fantastic for building a foundation of knowledge about running basics.  From gear to injury prevention to various training methods, this book will answer loads of questions – including some you didn’t even know you had.  It’s been around for decades for a reason.

2.      Runner’s World

Both the magazine and the website are filled with useful information.  Whether I have a very specific question I need answered or just want to browse interesting stories and helpful tips, I head here first.  I used their SmartCoach Training Tool to guide my training for my first half-marathon and I always get excited when a new issue arrives in my mailbox.  They also pay special attention to include specific features (print and online) for beginner runners.  Have a question that you feel dumb for asking, because you think you should know it (you shouldn’t feel dumb, by the way, but I can relate)?  Go to Runner’s World.  You’ll find the answer.

3.      No Meat Athlete

I’m a vegetarian.  Maybe you’re not.  I bet that even if you’re not, you can still get benefits from this website.  Matt Frazier, the creator of this site (and the podcast, which is also worth listening to) knows his stuff.  He provides training plans, tips, advice, recipes and stories for runners at all levels and he does so in a very accessible, engaging way.  I was thrilled when I found this website and I subscribe to the RSS feed so that I get all updates.  I’ve also recently purchased the Marathon Road Map as a guide in my continued training.  One of the things that I think I like most about Frazier and his site is that he conveys such a genuine love of running and respect for all runners – at all levels, all ages, all types.

4.      Strength Running

Jason Fitzgerald is another regular runner guy who really knows what he’s doing.  Or at least he seems to from his website, which I read regularly.  He’s a USATF-certified running coach and he provides his coaching expertise privately (for a fee) and more generally (for free on the site).  Check it out  for great training tips and information on how to stay injury free (and, we all want that, right?).

5.      Anatomy for Runners: Unlocking Your Athletic Potential Health, Speed, and Injury Prevention  by Jay Dicharry

On average, you may not pay much attention to anatomy or be all that intrigued by science.  I know that I’m generally not, except when it comes to my health and fitness.  Then, my ears perk up a bit.  This book is written for people like me.  It provides clear, relevant information about my anatomy and how to leverage it for my best running potential.  Best of all, it reads intelligently, presenting what may be unfamiliar biological terms and concepts clearly, without dumbing anything down. This book is fantastic for getting to know how your body really works and sorting out facts versus myth about running-related anatomy.

For Inspiration & Motivation:

6.      Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek

Since the release of this book, Jurek has become a bit of a running rock star.  He’s often talked about in regards to his success with and promotion of a vegan lifestyle (for overall health and running benefits), and as important as that is, his book is so much more than that.  It’s an incredible personal journey to read and also offers loads of helpful information about running along the way.  Not to mention that it also includes tasty recipes for a healthy runner’s diet.

7.      Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents by Cami Ostman   second wind

To say that this book inspired me is an understatement.  Ostman’s story is told with an honesty and frankness that is refreshing and enlightening.  I don’t want to discourage men from reading this, because I think they can get a lot of out of it, too, but I will say that for women runners in particular, I highly recommend this to help with seeing what’s possible and what running can do for your spirit.

Knitting Progress and A Countdown to the Big Race Day

Knitting is a funny thing.  Projects can fly by or drag on.  They can make you feel like a creative genius (“I KNEW those colors would work together!) or a failure as an technician (“Why can’t I get that stitch to work?!). I’ve had a bit of both over the last week.

I’ve been working along on my two KALs (knit-a-longs), which I have mentioned before and I have progress to report.

First up: the Color Affection KAL with the iMake group over on Ravelry.  This KAL is going swimmingly.  Yes, the rows are getting very long and that can make progress feel slow, but I’ve been very much enjoying knitting this project.  My days are very busy and so taking 30-60 minutes at the end of long, full, hectic day to rest on my couch, with a cat on my legs (she loves to sleep on legs that are stretched out onto the ottoman), a mildly entertaining and mostly mindless program on the television, and this project in my hands has been fantastic.  It’s a perfect project for cruising along and getting lost in the garter stitch.

I’ve got 3 short-row repeats left before settling in to finish the final section.  Here’s a look:

(Those paws belong to the aforementioned cat. Her name is Eliza and she may look innocent, but she is a menace around yarn!)

My second KAL, the Holla Back Tank, with the great folks over at Holla Back Knits, led me to a mild knitting breakdown last week.  The lace back isn’t a very complicated lace pattern, but for some reason, I could not get the set-up row to work.  I knitted and frogged, knitted and frogged, knitted and frogged, and on and on until I thought I was going to throw the whole thing off my balcony.  I decided that I needed different needles and made two rushed trips to my local yarn stores, only to discover that both were out of what I needed.  Frustrated and with the other shops closing for the day, I was not feeling too good about this project at that moment.  Fortunately, Mr. Move Eat Create ran out to a third LYS and found my needles for me (Thank you, Twisted for having them in stock) the next day while I was at work.

It still took me a couple of attempts, even with the new needles, but these (Addi Lace Turbos) are working MUCH better.  After setting the project down for a couple of days, I am a bit behind the rest of the group, but am glad to say that I have conquered the set up row and am making progress.  It is knitting up quite well now that we’ve made it through those trying times!  No picture of this one, this week, but I’ll try to post once the lace is further along.

Finally, it has occurred to me that it is now LESS THAN 3 weeks from my first half-marathon.  So close.  I’m both excited and nervous, but I’m very thankful for a couple of reassuring moments in the last week.  I ran 12.1 miles this past Saturday at a nice pace and felt good during the run, so that was a fantastic boost to my confidence.  I also downloaded and listed to an old episode of the ‘No Meat Athlete’ podcast that was all about training for and succeeding at your first half marathon.  I was reassured to hear many tips offered that I have, in fact, been already doing, and I picked up a few more.  No Meat Athlete runs a great, helpful blog and (newly re-started) podcast for anyone who may want to check them out, by the way.

So, in less then three weeks, I expect to have finished my first half-marathon and two completed projects off my needles!  So much to look forward to!