I kind of stole this topic from Beth at Discombobulated Running. Well, not kind of. I did. But I thought it was such a fun topic I would share my own lessons. What’s fun about this is that it could be – and most likely is – different for every runner.
1. Not every run will be fun.
I think it’s a pretty big myth to assume that a runner likes to run all the time. There are days you just don’t want to. And even if you are just dying to get out there and run, you can have a really bad run. Not every run will be fun, but you just have to look at it as one run. There are many factors that go into a run – the weather, how you feel, how much sleep you got, what you ate, if you’re hydrated enough, etc… If the stars are aligned properly, you’re likely to have a stellar run. But don’t think about throwing in those running shoes if you don’t.
2. Running is less about your legs and more about your mind.
Seriously. The hardest thing to do sometimes is get out the door. I know that I can really psych myself out about running and that makes it much harder than it needs to be. If I’m not quite feeling it when I first head out, I’m usually good after the first mile. I always remind myself that I can do it and I am much stronger than I think I am.
3. Shoes are the most important investment you can make.
The right running shoes are key. If you are in the wrong shoe you will be highly uncomfortable and will likely injury yourself. My first year of running, I had constant foot pain. I hurt after every run. Then I went for a gait analysis and found out I was in the wrong shoe (oops, I just bought what was on sale…). I found out I am a neutral runner and spent the most I’ve ever spent on running shoes in my whole life. But I felt like I was running on clouds and I had no pain at all. Buying the right shoes is probably the best thing I did for running. It’s worth the money to buy the right shoes. Most running shoes will last 300 – 400 miles (yes, I keep track) and you can feel when they start to wear down and you need new ones.
4. The right sports bra helps immensely.
All joking aside here, when you are well-endowed, you have to have the right sports bra. If you don’t have enough support, it can be painful. Anything you can do to keep from hurting while running is important. You may go though several sports bras until you find the right one, but you’ll know when you do.
5. Set goals.
I do best when I have a goal set. In 2013, my goal was to set a new half marathon PR. I trained for 12 weeks and I did it. Two more PR’s followed after. In 2014, I decided to run a full marathon. I trained for 18 weeks for it and I did it. After setting a half marathon PR I will likely never beat again, and having completed a full marathon, I’ve decided that next I want to get to a sub-30 5K. Like all other running goals I’ve set, it will take time but I will get there.
6. Rest when you need to.
Your body will tell you when it needs a break. As stubborn as us runners are, we have to suck it up and rest when that happens. You don’t want to risk injury or just wearing yourself down and end up hating running instead of loving it.
7. Running partners rock.
Sometimes it’s fun to run alone and I did it for a very long time. But when you start training and have long runs, it’s even more fun to have someone with you. I was very thankful to have hubby with me on most of my marathon training runs. He would get up with me at the crack of dawn and run with me just so I had company and wasn’t alone in the dark. It’s also a wonderful thing to have company on long runs. Those miles can go on forever but if you are running with someone it makes it go by so much quicker. I have enjoyed the company of several friends and hubby on long runs, and it’s one of my favorite things.
8. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
If you miss a run or have to cut a run short, don’t stress. It’s okay to have a plan in place, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t always work. Life happens and things happen. Beating yourself up over missing a run doesn’t help anything. Just brush it off and move on.
9. To run with or without music?
The first couple of years of running, I listened to music. I had to. I would see people running without music and wonder how the heck they can get through a run without it. In early 2014, I started running without simply because I was running really early in the morning, in the dark, and I wanted to be able to hear and be aware of my surroundings (especially after that one time a coyote ran past me in the dark!). My safety was more important than the distraction of music, and a funny thing happened. I liked it! I haven’t gone back to listening to music since then. I feel more present in my running without the music and I enjoy it more. This is all personal preference of course, but if you currently run with music, I suggest trying it without and see what happens. You might be surprised.
10. Run the mile you’re in.
When you’re headed out on a long run, it’s really easy to focus on all the miles you have ahead of you. You can really miss out doing this. Run – and enjoy – the mile you’re in and don’t worry about the rest. It’s easier to do this if you enjoy where you are running. I love to run on Clearwater Beach and the bridges, it never gets old to me, and the sunrises are amazing. This all helps me enjoy being out there and not worrying about how much farther I have to go.
What is one thing you’ve learned from running?