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!
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.
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.
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