If I could turn back time, take II


Or 7 things I would tell a new runner

It’s a wonderful life, right? But how many of us would change things if we were given the chance?

Which is exactly what today’s  Tuesdays on the Run linkup: asks:

What advice would you give your new runner self?

I love learning about new things, and when I’m interested in something, before I even attempt it, I read up about it. So I knew things like:

  • Get fitted for shoes
  • Don’t wear cotton
  • Wear sunscreeen
  • Run facing traffic

There are other things I wish I’d done, or I learned the hard way.

Join a running group!
There are some really good running groups in my area that are aimed at beginners. I wasn’t aware of them, or I was afraid of being too slow. And I probably would have been, quite frankly. Oh, I don’t mean they wouldn’t allow a slow runner in their group, just that even now, it’s still hard to find people to run my pace.

Thankfully I’ve found a few. They make running feel so much easier!

It’ll be scary, but just do it. If you really hate it, you never have to go back.

Build up a solid base  . . .
. .  . before attempting a half marathon. Oh wait, I did that!

Yeah, I can be both adventurous and cautious. So I took a year to train fro my first 5k, so what? I actually think that’s a good thing.

Even if you like running, even if you no longer feel like your lungs are bursting every time you run, it can take a while for things like your tendons to get used to it. I’ve seen far too many friends injured by trying to run a half too soon. I tell people they should be running for a year before they consider a half.

Of course, I’m not a coach, that’s just my $.02.

Run outside
I wasn’t very heavy when I started to run, but I was self conscious. Most new runners are. It doesn’t matter if we’re thin, fat, fast, slow — we just naturally assume that all those experienced runners are doubled over laughing at our ludicrous efforts.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Other runners want to support you and help you.

So if you ever intend to race, get outside and run on the roads. Or trails, if that’s your thing. The treadmill is just different from running on the road, and it’s important to train on whatever you’ll be racing on.

Even if you never intend to race, try running outside. Spending time outside in sunshine (or blinding snowstorm in April, as I type this) does a body good.

Seek out help if something really hurts
The first time I had IT problems right before a race? If I had my running village in place like I do now, I might have been able to complete that particular half without having to walk the last 3 miles, and avoided being in pain while running for the next several months.

Not to mention missing out on that ice cream sundae because it was too painful to walk.

Things will aches sometimes, bu they shouldn’t hurt, and you’ll often know if something aches for too long.

You don’t need food before/after every run
I just totally glommed onto the whole “you need to fuel your runs” thing when training for my first half marathon.

You know what? If you’ve just had a meal a few hours before, you don’t need a snack before a 2-4 mile run. And you don’t need gels for a 2-4 mile run either! I’m not saying I did that, and I’m not saying I didn’t . . .

Yes, I gained weight training for my first half. Eventually I figured it out (mostly). It’s tricky — you do need to fuel your runs, but extra calories just turn into jiggly bits.

Slow down
Most new runners hate it because they simply run too fast. Some people are naturally fast, but a lot of us have to work on getting faster.

If you’re gasping for air and you’re hating every minute of your run — just try to slow down. You can even walk a little. Speed will come, but nothing will come if you quit before you even really get started because it’s “just too hard”.

Try a race
I swore I wasn’t going to race. Then I figured I’d do one 5k just to see what it felt like — and, by the way, I can’t say as I felt like it dramatically changed my life — and yet it did. I just didn’t feel much different crossing the finish line that first time. I wasn’t really hooked.

But you never know until you try, right? And somewhere along the way, I did become hooked, and a dream to run a half in every state was born.

I wrote about if I could turn back time, in a entirely different way, not long ago in a Thinking Out Loud postl

What is the most important thing you would tell your new runner self?
Tuesdays on the Run

I’m linking up today with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

26 thoughts on “If I could turn back time, take II

  1. The list of things I wish I knew when I started groweth. I wish I had cross trained more, for one. But I am grateful that I had a bunch of runner friends and bloggers who shared their experiences so I didn’t have to suffer too much.
    As for not racing. Ha. I said I would never run a marathon…and am currently training for an ultra. Silly rabbit.
    Happy running (races)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t ever ruled out doing a marathon, but it is unlikely. I find it hard to squeeze in everything I need to do to train for a half!

      I had no runner friends when I started to run. Although now pretty much all my friends are runners (I started running when I moved to a new state where I knew no one).


  2. All great advice. I am so with you on running for a year before doing a half. As a coach this advice is often not what my clients want to hear but the body needs time. I’m still dragging my feet about trying a running group here. It’s committing to one set meeting time that holds me back. Thanks for linking up!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been running for a few years now but still haven’t joined a running group. I did a race preview run last year that a local running group set up, and I really enjoyed it. But that running group doesn’t meet at a time that I can run during the week. There must be other running groups near me though. I should really look harder for one! They sound like great motivation!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I may have accidentally done a lot of things right. I joined a group before I took my first step so I wouldn’t have any bad habits (not sure if that worked). I ran a race right away – like 3 weeks after my first step. I ran outside. I was told that the treadmill was not the same and to use it sporadically (but remember I had a coach and mentors). I don’t fuel a lot for training runs but for races, I do more. I always take a Gu before even a 5k (it’s only 100 calories – I burn that off in the first mile.)

    I did wait a few years to run a half. Now I know, I could have done one sooner. I also did not walk when I started. We ran 1/4 mile and slowly increased to 3.5 miles. No couch to 5k which I think is healthier. Now I do walk but back then Ii was trained not to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely think you did things way better than me — but remember, I knew absolutely no one when I moved here!

      Although I do recommend C25K, and there’s nothing wrong with walking.

      Oddly enough, I ran a mile on the treadmill at the PT on Monday. No walking, except to w/u & c/d.

      No problem.

      I’m still sticking to my run/walk for the near future.


  5. I still don’t belong to a club but I did go to the Galloway retreat and met somebody who lives close by and we do run together occasionally. It does make it more enjoyable. Greg is just too fast for me to actually run with and he doesn’t understand the concept of slowing down to run with me ( he just circles back which pisses me off).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, when Darlene & I run “together” it is often not together and she circles back for me. It really doesn’t bother me. I know I can’t run at her pace without injuring myself, so I like that it does push me to be a bit faster, but I can’t keep up with her and I know that.

      It’s still nice to have the company!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Such great advice! I wish I had known about running with a group and taking it slow when I first started — I didn’t join a group until a year later and it made all the difference! As far as taking it slow… let’s just say my easy and long runs are my favorite ones 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read your blog. Believe me, you’re not slow. Everyone thinks they are, but my easy/long runs are usually around a 13 mm. I wish they were faster, and I do speed work, and hills, yadda, yadda, but I’m just a slow runner.


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