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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Cagle

Rookie Runner Checklist

You've found yourself here because you're curious about what it will take to start running. No matter your drive or purpose behind this new "hobby", you will need a few things to get you started. I have not always been a runner. Not even close! I was that kid in high school PE class that tried to come up with any excuse possible to exempt myself from the timed, one-mile run. Maybe that was you, too? Regardless of your past, you'll need a few things if you want to be successful.


This is first on my list for a reason! Shoes are the foundation of your running journey. Finding the right pair of shoes is almost like finding the perfect spouse. All shoes are NOT created equal. There are shoes with extra stability, shoes built for speed, shoes meant for trails, the list goes on.

Shoes are the largest investment you'll make to jumpstart your running experience. It is a price that is well worth it. Don't skimp on shoes and buy a fancy Inspector Gadget Watch instead. Your running career will be cut short by pain and injury, and that watch will find its way into the top drawer of your nightstand.

Take the time and effort to go out and be fitted by a professional. Like I said, not all shoes are the same. It can be overwhelming trying to find the perfect fit. I am fortunate enough to live in a city with several stores that offer this! Do your research and find one near you, you won't regret it!

While we are on the topic of shoes, let's talk about their best mates.... socks! When I first started running for fun, I thought to myself "$20 for one pair of socks?! This is a joke, right?" Plenty of miles, blisters, and missing toenails later I can safely say that $20 is a small price to pay. Click here to see my favorite brand!

Bottom line, take care of your feet and they'll take care of you!


If you're planning on hitting the outside pavement, you'll need a way to track your mileage. Fancy watches are great, but not totally necessary. All you need are a smart phone and a data plan. There are so many apps out there, it's truly about preference. Here are a few of my favorites!

  1. RunKeeper

  2. Strava

  3. Map My Run

  4. Runna


Coming from a woman who ran pre-kids, during pregnancy, post-partum, and now... my dresser drawers have seen it all. The sizes, the styles, and more. I could go on for ages about every single sports bra I have tried, loved, thrown in the garbage, and got stuck in. But for the sake of today's general blog topic, I'll spare you all those details. Here's the basics when it comes to a sports bra for running.

You should only be wearing medium or high impact bras. Light impact may be cute and look comfy, but they're not going to do the job. Whatever size you think you wear, go down one size. While getting in and out of the bra might be a workout in itself, you NEED the compression factor. Bras don't have to cost you a fortune! Some of my favorites are from Old Navy and Amazon. Find a style that works for you and buy it in every color!


Last but not least in this lineup, a goal. Your beginner's motivation will only last so long. Whether you're waking up early or getting it in after a long day at work. As magical as I could make it sound, there are some days when you just don't feel like getting it done. Without a goal in mind, it's easy to just give in and quit. What's the point, right?

When choosing a race, pick a fun one! Themed races are always non-competitive and enjoyable. It's an excellent place to start. The Glow Run 5K, Hot Chocolate 5K, RunDisney events, and Santa Hustle 5K are just a few of my favorites. My very first race was The Glow Run 5K. I still have that old glow-in-the-dark medal hanging on my wall. You will experience this weird sense of accomplishment knowing you earned that tshirt and medal. That dopamine rush will carry you all the way to the keyboard where you'll be signing up for your next race.

Does your goal have to be a race? Absolutely not. That's the cool thing about goals, they're 100% personalized. For me, a race event is a tangible finish line. A moment in time where I can say "I did it. Check mark complete." Now onto the next one!


You've got the perfect shoe, a mileage tracker, and a goal in mind. Now all that's left is getting out the door, and trust me when I say the first step in the hardest. Your legs will always carry you further than your mind allows. And before you know it, you'll have a wall full of medals and closet full of trophies... oh, I mean tshirts. Don't treat running as a chore, if you do you will never enjoy it. Instead, rejoice in the excitement of what your body is capable of doing!

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