I’ve Got a Little List

Recently Kris at gorunagain.com invited several bloggers, yours truly included, to give him some tips for runners just starting out. His post has eight tips ranging from using a goal race as motivation, to planning for pit stops, and even (gasp!) running without music. It’s a good list that goes beyond the usual “see your doctor, buy the right shoes, don’t run too fast” rote of the typical list.

Read the GoRunAgain post: Eight Unique Running Tips for Beginners

Kris used two of the tips I came up with and it seemed a shame to waste the others, so I’ve put the rest of my list below. They all come from my own experience as a beginning runner, but I still apply them today.

#1 – Just Run

Doesn’t matter for how long or how far you go. What matters is that you put on the shoes, step outside, and get going. There are always excuses why you can’t run today. Overcome that inertia, and the rest will take care of itself.

I didn’t run at all until just a few years ago, and then just to supplement my other activities. A run of 2-3 miles was a significant accomplishment. Today I run 20-30 miles per week, take part in 20 races per year, and am training for my second ultramarathon. I never expected this to happen; running just sort of grew on me. But it started like everyone else – one mile at a time.

The 2013 Boston Marathon PR Fitness runners. :Like all marathoners, they got there by going out and running.
The 2013 PR Fitness Boston Marathoners. :Like all marathoners, they got there by putting on the shoes and getting out the door. (And with invaluable support from the rest of us, of course,)

#2 – Don’t Expect Instant Results

Quick, but not very satisfying.
Quick, but not very satisfying.

It takes time to build the physical and mental stamina needed for longer runs. Pushing too hard will get you hurt, and some people give up running when that happens. Not happy with your results? That’s okay, it’s all about improvement. Next time will be better.

#3 – Form Is Everything

Once you start running more than 2-3 miles at a time, or more than twice per week, proper running form is essential to preventing injury. Good form also feels better and helps you run farther. Work on correct footstrike, posture, and stride. Consider taking a basic class on running; the one took in 2010 covered form, shoe selection, running gear, and nutrition. And it got me into the habit of running regularly.

Improve your form, and prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse!
Improve your form at Running 101 – or was this the seminar at the Ministry of Silly Walks? I don’t recall.

#4 – Enjoy Each Run For What It Is

Whether it’s a race, training for an event, stress relief, socializing, or just for some fresh air and exercise, you’re out there for a reason. Breathe deeply and live in the moment.

Happy Runners

Footnote: A colleague of mine, who was an active runner years ago, has recently started again and ran 5K yesterday. He was pretty unhappy about his time and didn’t want to hear that “just running” was a win. (It’s true, but he didn’t want to hear it.) “Okay, so your first time out sucked,” I told him. “Next time will be better.”

“Now that’s something I can take away,” he said, smiling.

3 thoughts on “I’ve Got a Little List

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