This is a checklist for our favorite runner. The new runner. You’re the spirit of the sport. Your friends are treating you like a child who’s about to have ice cream for the first time. They want to slowly airplane the spoon towards your tastebuds, but they know you’re going to love it and nearly come addicted to the stuff.

That “runners high” you’ve always heard rumors of will eventually come, but it could take months or years. Just like anything, you’ve got to take it in moderation. If you’ve never watched TV before, and your friends force you to watch 4 straight hours of it every day, you’re bound to resent it. Let us help you break this thing down and learn it step by step.

Ready

The best part about running is it can be an extremely cheap sport. All you need is shoes, right? Well, kinda. Shoes will definitely get you started, so why not start there. You’ve heard all kinds of words when it comes to what kind of shoes you’ll need. Let us simplify it by chatting with you in person one day soon at one of our three locations. We suggest you block out about one hour to hang out with us and get to know the RFYL family.

After that we can talk about apparel, running essentials, injury prevention tools, a training plan for your first race, and hydration & fuel accessories. If all of that sounds a little overwhelming, don’t you worry! We’ve got all kinds of clinics to help you that are full of other new runners.

Set

You’re a couple of months in. You’re starting to teeter into the land past run/walk and you’re wondering what the other side looks like. That crazy group of runner friends is trying to get you to run your first 5K. Before you toe the line, let’s make sure you get something out of this.

Let’s set some goals. Some achievable ones. You’re (most likely) not going to qualify for Boston the first time you try. At least we don’t suggest it. Have some fun with it first. Set a goal to walk for only 10 minutes this 5K. Or walk through the water stops. Or to just thank every police officer and pet each dog that’s cheering you on. Make it achievable. Got it? Goal Set? Tell us what it is on Instagram to really put yourself out there.

Next. Time to find some running routes. Easy. We’ve got a few of our favorite areas in town already pinned for you on our handy dandy running map. In a different part of Charlotte that we haven’t listed some options yet? Tweet us or call us and I bet we can make some suggestions!

Last, let’s find you some running partners. There are run clubs galore in this town. We use the “RUN” tab on RunCLTRun.com to figure out where we’re headed next. You can also check out our running groups through Run For You. We’ve created a program just for you with a couch-to-5K style training regimen, called Run Fit.

Go

It’s time to put all of this training to use. Let’s choose a race and swallow that knot in our throat. Get the first one out of the way and you’ll be celebrating with the rest of the runners in the finish festival. We’ve got a ridiculous race calendar that is our most visited page on this website. We’ve got races from different parts of the city as well as different distances on here. Also in the mix is our own Six Pack, which is 6 races that we’ve designed for all styles, forms, and fashions of runners. Trust us. You’ll make a new friend.

What’s next? Whatever you want! Sign up for your next race. Set a new goal. Go for a new distance! Maybe even our Novant Health Charlotte Marathon. Come talk to us about your blisters, your chafing, your needs, your wants… we’re all ears!

That’s our pep talk. Now get out there you runner! That’s right, you can call yourself a runner! A runner is not defined by a distance or a pace. It is someone who is lifting one foot off the ground and moving forward. That’s you! We hope to hear your story soon.