Your running shoes should be your #1 priority and investment when starting a running program.

The warm temps are a welcome mat for beginner runners.

Mr. Golden Sun is a motivator when it comes to: finally starting that running program; getting fit; feeling great and perhaps even shed a few pounds along the way.  Click here to learn more about my weight loss story through running.

Although running is a do-anywhere sport, there are a few things to keep in mind when starting out.  I have put together a list of gear/tips/helpful hints to help you stay on foot all year long.

Shoes:  Your feet should be your #1 priority.  Budget to spend between $120 – $160 on a pair of quality running shoes.  This is not the time to be eyeing the sale rack to find the cutest colour of kicks.  Head on over to your local Running Room, and have the trained staff assess how you run.  Yup, they will make you run in the store…this way the staff can help you find the perfect fit for you, and your feet.  Investing in the right shoe for you, and your stride, is the first “step” in becoming a life long lover of running.  Happy feet = happy runner.


Plenty of water bottles to choose from at Running Room Stores across Canada.

Hydration: I always tell people: It’s how you hydrate when not running, that will lead to staying healthy and hydrated while on foot.  I encourage people to drink water all day.  Instead of heading for a pop, or coffee come 3 p.m. sip on water with lemon.  While on foot you may want to carry water with you.  There are a variety of different water bottles available at the Running Room.  If your goal is a 5K ~ chances are you will likely not need a fuel belt, but a small hand held water bottle.  I encourage folks to test water bottles in store just like shoes.  Some don’t mind carrying a water bottle in their hand, others need their hands free.  There are plenty of options when it comes to water bottles, be sure and take the time to see what works for you.

One of my fave post run shakes is my Coconut Cherry Citrus Shake.

One of my fave post run shakes is my Coconut Cherry Citrus Shake.

Fuel:  Many start a running program to help them lose weight.  And yes, running (exercise in general) is a key ingredient to losing weight, and keeping it off.  But what I stress to people is: when you begin running, this is NOT the time to be dieting.  You need to fuel your body with the quality foods it deserves as an athlete.  Yes, YOU, are an athlete.  Skipping meals after a workout might give you short term satisfaction when hopping on the scale ~ but trust me, in the long “run” it will do you no good, and likely have you back at square one sooner than you think.  To learn more about post run refueling and my “theory” click here.

One of my favourite ways to refuel after a run, is with a post run shake made with Almond Fresh Coconut Beverage.  Post run shakes are a delicious, nutritious, and quick way to nourish your body with plenty of quality ingredients.   Click here to watch me prepare my Coconut Cherry citrus Shake made with Almond Fresh Coconut Beverage.  I also enjoy Clover Leaf Seafoods ‘Toppers’ as quick and delicious fuel on-the-run.  Flavours include;  Lemon Pepper, Mediterranean, Mild Curry and Tikka Masala (click on titles for more information).  Toppers make a convenient mini meal on-the-go, or serve over rice, quinoa or cous cous as a healthy and delicious main course.  For more tasty recipes visit

Clover Leaf Toppers: a tasty protein packed nibble  in a variety of flavours.  Perfect lunch on-the-go.

Clover Leaf Toppers: a tasty protein packed nibble in a variety of flavours. Perfect lunch on-the-go.

Clothing:  Even as an avid runner,  I have my favourite key running pieces that I turn to day in and day out.  I encourage you to invest in one or two “outfits” to get started.  Be sure the material is made for performance, and wicks the sweat away from your body.  Try the items on and move around in them.  Just because it looks nice on the rack ~ does not mean the specific clothing item will work well with you and your body type.  Invest the time into trying on a variety of clothing options.

Hats, Sunscreen & Bug Spray:  If you are an early riser (out the door for your run before 8 a.m.) you may be able to get away without a hat or sunscreen.  If you are a lunch time runner, or early evening trotter, a hat and sunscreen should be a priority.  The Running Room has a variety of caps with plenty of ventilation to keep your head cool, yet your face and ears protected from the sun.  Be sure and slap on lots of sunscreen about 20 minutes before you head out the door.  Just because you think you’re only heading out for 30 minutes on your lunch hour, is no excuse to not be sun safe.

If you enjoy the trails, I also encourage you to invest in a good bug spay/repellent as Lyme disease is on the rise.  Be sure and give any exposed limbs a once over when you return home to look for ticks.  Click here to read more about trail running and Lyme disease.


Road ID ~ a piece of gear you hope you never have to use, but it could be the most important piece if you are in distress on your run. You should always carry a piece of idea i.d. with you while out on foot ~ especially when running solo.

Running Safety, I.D and Headphones:  When heading out on a run (especially if going solo) always tell someone what route you plan on taking, and when you plan on returning.  Investing in a Road I.D. bracelet is also a good idea (click here for more info), or carry a piece of identification with you.  I know many can’t head out the door for a sweat without a good playlist but, I encourage folks to run with no music.  It is important to be very aware of your surroundings, and I find running with music a distraction.  Besides, we are “plugged in” most of our lives, it’s nice to head out on foot and just listen to the sound of our breath.

Set A Goal: I encourage you set set a running goal.  Register for a 5K race ~ it may seem like a a daunting “goal” at first, but once you accomplish that goal and cross the finish line, you will be ready to take on the world.  Talk to any seasoned/accomplished runner, I guarantee you they will tell you setting goals and registering for a race(s) is a fun way to keep fit and stay motivated on foot.

Don’t Give Up:  Running, like life, comes with many ups and downs. When I started running, I weighed over 200 lbs.  There were many days that lacing up my shoes was a chore in itself.  But I stuck with it ~ and my commitment to running has literally changed my life.  If I can do it, ANYONE can do it!  If you need a boost of motivation/encouragement, join a Running Room Clinic (or run group in your area).

If you have any running questions, please drop me a message and I’d be happy to help you ~ email me at:


Here I am with with John Stanton, founder of Running Room ~ at Around The Bay Road Race cocktail reception in Hamilton, Ontario (March 2015).

Charmaine is a chef and recipe developer.  She is a regular guest on Rogers Daytime York Region, and food writer for Running Room Magazine sharing her love and enthusiasm for all things food and cooking.

Charmaine is a proud ambassador of Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon a celebration of Women & Fitness, come join in the FUN June 6th, 2016.  Register before June 30th, 2015 for ONLY $68.  Hope to see many of you at the start line in 2016!  Click here to register.

Most importantly; Charmaine is the mother of two active boys, Tyler & Colgan.  Charmaine understands the importance of preparing healthy, wholesome dishes all while keeping budget and time in mind.

For more tasty recipes visit

Twitter @runnercharb #RunCookSmile