I am sure there are more than five but I wish someone had told me, or I had had the foresight to tell another runner, these five things at the start of my running career. You have to remember that I didn’t start running until the wonderful age of 46 with my “baby” of the six kids being 13.
You do not need a fancy watch or GPS tracker to run. This one I can testify to with gusto. I started running by checking time on my cell phone before I left my house and writing it down. I would do the same upon returning and figure out how long I ran time-wise. I would then go to a mapping program on my computer and figure out how far I had run. This is great if you always turn around at a specific house so you have a mailbox number.
Use sunscreen. This is not something I can say enough. I do not burn easily. I tend to tan and, yes, I am of an age where I can remember sitting in the sun with baby oil on. That is not something I do any longer. I do not go out for a run without at least an SPF 15, and more likely an SPF 30 on and not just my face. I make sure my arms, legs, shoulders are all sunscreened up and protected. People laugh but I am also very careful about putting sunscreen on my ears.
Getting a shoe fitting. There is nothing better than letting a professional fit you for a good pair of running shoes. It may cost a bit more but it is worth the time and effort to have a great fitting pair of shoes on your feet. Your feet are not only going to take you through some long miles and to some wonderful places but you need them for the rest of your life also.
Find a running buddy. I run most of my miles alone because I tend to run midday. I jump at the chance to run with friends, though, when it is possible. The miles past much quicker when you have someone other than yourself to talk with. Also, my neighbors would look at me slightly less strange if I wasn’t always either singing to a song they can’t hear or talking to myself when they see me on the road.
Realize, once you start racing, that the only person you are out to beat is yourself. We all need to measure our successes through the lens of our own lives, not by someone else’s standards. The same is true for running. You are running your race at your pace. Do not run someone else’s race.