Things I’ve learned from running – so far

I’ve been running for almost 2 months now. There’s a decent sized learning curve when you’re just getting started and I wanted to share what I’ve learned so far. I am absolutely not an expert and running is different for everyone so ya know, keep that all in mind.

> Kick your ego to the curb.
Whether it’s day 1 or day 20, you will have some bad runs and it will be hard. Running can be a great confidence booster but it can also quickly put you in your place when you try to do too much too quickly or sometimes for no reason at all. You might trip and fall flat on your face (figuratively or literally!)

But even on these tough days, I’ve learned that it doesn’t make me a bad runner. In fact, the next run will almost always be better. Dust yourself off, laugh a little and keep going tomorrow.

> There is an “I” in Running. It’s not a team sport and your accomplishments are completely isolated from everyone else. That means if the person on the treadmill next to you is sprinting along at a 7.5 and you’re puffing along at a 5.0, don’t sweat it! Who cares?! Good for them. Let it motivate you, not make you feel unaccomplished. Easier said than done but if you can think this way, it really helps. As long as you’re not being completely obnoxious, it’s OK to be panting while you run, as long as you’re running! For a long while, I was paranoid to run at the gym because I was convinced everyone would stare at how slowly I was going and how out-of-shape I looked. One day I threw in the towel with that thinking and the added confidence has done wonders to improving!

 Dance run like no one’s watching!

> That being said, don’t feel like you’re in this alone. Just because your individual accomplishments are personal, runners are everywhere and most of them love to chat and encourage each other. Put yourself out there, maybe find a running group or buddy, or even blog about it. These people have been in your shoes and can offer great advice and support. Even if you e-mail your parents (hi Mom & Dad!) about your accomplishments, you will almost always get a lot of praise and encouragement. I can’t imagine telling someone “I just ran 6 miles” and them not smiling and telling me how great that is. It’s a wonderful world out there so let it help you! Although still fairly new, this blog has been a great help for me, so thank you all you readers and commentators! Your comments make my day and your words of support help me so much! 

Power in numbers!

> Stretch and strengthen religiously.
Not only do you feel less sore the next day after a tough workout, stretching before and after a run/workout will help prevent injury. I’m genetically prone to having bad knees. I also started running with regular shin splints. I knew that if running were a painful experience for me, I would never turn it into a habit or lifestyle. So I did some research. I watched videos and looked at images of stretches and strength exercises the help my specific areas (Google is a wonderful thing!). I’m not always great at keeping up with this but I’m quickly reminded the day after a run if I forgot to stretch or if I haven’t strengthened my legs in a while. I’m trying everything in my power to make my first race a great running experience and if I get sidelined with an injury, I know I probably won’t have the motivation to start up again later. Ultimately, knowing how to fine tune your body to keep it happy, whatever that might mean for you, is really important. 

> Get out of your comfort zone and sign up for a challenging race. I still can’t believe that in just 2 short months (from today exactly!!) I will be running 13.1 miles! I’m so excited because I know it’s possible. However, I know it’s only possible if I stick to my training. That is a huge motivator to get my runs in each week and it’s starting to form a great habit for hopefully the rest of my life. I don’t suggest you rush any training plan but don’t start too early and become lax about it either.

> Hold on to your keys while you run! Tie them to your shoe lace, zip them in a pocket, whatever you gotta do. Don’t put them in an open pocket of your fleece zip up, let this happen

and then your keys fall out and you’re locked out and owe your landlord $100 for losing the electronic key thingy. My learning is your benefit my friends.

What has running taught you? Do you have any running “rules”?

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3 Responses to Things I’ve learned from running – so far

  1. Amanda says:

    Stretching is definitely important. It doesn't just help prevent soreness. It helps prevent injury and should be done before and after the workout. In Insanity there is actually a bit of a warmup before the pre-workout stretch and I find I've had better stretches after a little warmup than right away but I'm not sure it matters as long as it's done. I don't know how anyone skips post-workout stretching. Stretching and showers never feel so good as when they happen after a hard workout lol.

  2. Amanda says:

    (I realize you actually pretty much said the first thing but can't hurt to repeat it because it is important lol). PS. So true on the keys. Zippered pockets are the best bet since shoes can come untied. It also can't hurt to carry a little cash or a credit card. There were a few times I left and didn't take a water bottle and had a long way back wishing I could duck into a gas station and grab some.

  3. Katie says:

    Money and even a phone are also great items to bring! Money buys you an extra water or a cab home if you're injured. Phone is great for safety, since it can be dangerous out there! 😦

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