5 Things You Tell Newbies . . .


. . .  that are true for experienced runners tackling new distances, too

Have you ever run with new runners? There’s often an energy around them — excitement, anxiety, fear of being last  — and you find yourself assuring them that yes, they can do it, and no, don’t worry about your finish time.

I am joining the Friday Five 2.0 from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy and sharing five things I have told new runners time and time again . . . and had to be reminded of myself as I tackled a new distance.


Was I way in the back of the pack? Yes. Did I care? No.

Don’t worry about your finish time
I’ve lost count of the number of new runners I’ve told this to. I totally get it: you’re scared of being last. Chances are pretty good you won’t be. But if you are? You know what, you have nowhere to go but up. And it’s not the end of the world, either, it’s much better to finish a race than never start at all, or DNS (Did Not Start) as we experienced runners like to say.

Trust your training
Rachel @ Runningonhappy can confirm that I can obsess a bit about the unknown. Luckily I have her in my corner, though, so I don’t have to stress too much about it.

Big goals seem scary; absolutely. A good coach or training plan will break it down into baby steps. What seems super scary in the beginning will eventually seem doable.

Of course I earned it. Didn’t I?

You still need to watch your nutrition
One of my goals for the 1812 Challenge was to not gain weight. I didn’t gain a lot, but I’m still at a weight that’s not quite comfortable for me. And it’s not just melting off of me now that those really long long runs are done. I’m not quite sure why.

I thought I did a pretty good job watching what I ate. I’m also pretty sure there was just too many treats and desserts for this vertically challenge body, because, you know, I ran 18 miles.

Long story short, “if the oven is hot enough the food will burn” is not true. In other words, unless you’re genetically gifted, you’ll still have to watch what you eat. Better nutrition will also mean better running and recovery.

Training is practicing for race day
When I mentored the challenge group this spring, so many runners started peppering us with questions about how to drink, eat for breakfast, and what to wear on race day as the big day approached.

Your training runs are for figuring all those things out, and that’s why runners love to say nothing new on race day — do what you did during your training. If you just ran, just run. If you used run/walk intervals, use them in your race, too. Eat the same breakfast you did before your training runs. Never forget:

Nothing new on race day!

Don’t worry about what is coming up
If you have an entire training plan laid out for your race, some of those runs are probably going to look scary. 15 miles? Ok, that’s just 2 more than a half. But 17?

That is what training is all about. You will get there. Training prepares you for the big day, baby step by baby step. Just like in a race, don’t think about too far down the road. Run the mile you’re in. If you’ve put in the training, trust it.

What would you tell someone running their first race?

What have you relearned as you’ve tackled new distances?

Which of these are most important to you?

17 thoughts on “5 Things You Tell Newbies . . .

  1. Those are all great tips for new runners. I would also remind people not to do too much too soon. We have MRTT runners that get injured right off the bat from upping miles or frequency too often. When you get the running bug, it’s hard to step back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think I had much of a time goal for my first 5k (or half! or any first distance!).

      I haven’t yet gotten to the place where I don’t care too much about finish times. Obviously. I’m sure that day will come, but meanwhile I can train hard, so I do!


  2. Great tips. My race day advice is to hold back at the start and don’t worry when it seems like everyone started out so much faster — most of them started out too fast. Also, run your own race and focus on finishing smiling.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My advice would be to run your own race. Don’t get caught up in the runners around you. I think that’s the hardest thing to do because at the start everyone runs like they were shot out of a cannon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The only one who cares about your finish time is you.

    Stop comparing yourself to others.

    These are key in my opinion if you want to enjoy running and your races.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think all these points resonate with me – in some of the small races I did last year, I did come last – which I had thought would be my worst nightmare. Turns out when I actually came last, I was just so proud of myself for having finished. The nutrition one is huge for me! I gain weight just by smelling food, haha – so I have to be so careful when training. And I just love “Don’t worry about what’s coming up” – taking it one run at a time is key and when it’s finally time to do that 19k, you find yourself ready.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s