October 23, 2013

An avid runner, Dan Mott has completed three full marathons, six half marathons, a 10-mile race, a warrior dash, a Spartan race and countless 5ks. He recently ran the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 13 and achieved a personal best time of 3:17:59. He believes anyone can become a runner and is offering five-tips for new runners to follow:

1 – Sign up for a race and set a goal. 

I never would have turned into a runner had I not signed up for that first race, the Disney World Half Marathon. I don't exactly recommend a half marathon for your first race, but if that's what it takes ... do it! Create a training schedule and follow it as closely as possible. Let people know you've signed up and announce your goals for the race. Whether the goal is to finish or to hit a specific time, it adds a bit of accountability.

2 – Find a running partner to hold you accountable.

Whether you find a buddy to run with you or someone to text, call or email you, a partner will push you to run on the days you don't want to get out of bed. Even as someone who loves everything about running, it is a daily battle to get out the door and actually run. While running is an extremely individual sport, running with a friend can make a huge difference. It's a lot easier to get out of bed at 5:30 a.m. if you know there is someone else depending on you to show up. There are running groups everywhere now. In Charlotte, Noda Brewing Company hosts a weekly one-, three- and five-mile run that starts and ends at the brewery. What better motivator is there than a beer waiting at the finish line? Also, local running stores often have running groups and scheduled weekly runs you can join to help you stay accountable.

3 – Get off the treadmill.

There is nothing good about the treadmill. Period. I'd rather run 20 miles up a mountain than do five on a treadmill. Sometimes the dreaded machine is the only option. But if you can, run outside. Find a greenway, trail or somewhere with sidewalks. It can be intimidating at first, but for me at least, it is much easier and more rewarding to be outside. 

4 – Keep track of progress and reward yourself.

Log your daily runs and workouts. It can be in a notebook, online or on your phone. Tracking your workouts allows you to see the progress you are making. There are plenty of websites, such as Dailymile, Map My Run, Twitter and Facebook, which allow you to post workouts and discuss them with other like-minded people. When you reach a certain mileage goal, be sure to reward yourself with something like a massage, dinner or new shoes.

5 – Don’t sweat the bad runs.

There will be bad, terrible and awful runs. Sometimes you'll need to walk. Some days, two miles will feel like 26. It happens to even the most experienced runners. The important thing is to go out the next day and keep moving toward your goal.

Keep these tips in mind next time you hit the pavement and remember – every runner started somewhere. Stick to your goals and you will be an expert in no time! 

– Dan Mott, @DMott3

Dan Mott, Chicago Marathon, Disney World Half Marathon, running, Noda Brewing Company, Dailymile, Map My Run