Things No One Ever Told Us About Running (but we wish they had)!
Have you ever heard someone say, “running is easy to start because as long as you have a pair of shoes, anyone can get out there and run”? While this is technically true, and running is truly for anyone, most people don’t realize what else (besides a good pair of shoes) goes into running. So, if you’re new to the sport or just want to learn something new, we’ve put together a list of just some of the many things no one told us before we started running (but that we really wish they had)! We hope this helps you along your running journey as you hit the ground running this spring!
- Shoes matter! The old saying above “all you need is a pair of shoes” should be modified to include a GOOD pair of shoes. Shoes matter and for some people can make or break the run. The other thing about shoes is that what works for one person might not work for another, so it is important to find what works for you. Everyone’s body is different, meaning that we all step differently and need different support. However, the one thing that remains the same is we all need a good pair of shoes to prevent injury and keep movement patterns efficient. If your shoes are off, it can lead to incorrect step patterns which can lead to over or under compensating with other muscle groups or can even put lower body alignment out of sync.If you want to learn more on how to find your perfect pair of running shoes, check out our previous article here.
- Besides needing a pair of shoes, you also need time. Another thing that the quote above left out is that you also need time and dedication to start running. Running isn’t something you get good at overnight or with a few training runs. It takes dedication to following a plan for your goals, and finding your groove can take weeks, months, or even years. Many runners would even argue that you never stop learning in the sport and are consistently striving to be better than you were the day before.Besides long-term time and dedication, you also need time in the short-term. Depending on your mileage and speed, running can take a lot of time per day, especially if training for a longer distance race. If you’re a new runner my advice would be to start small. Train for a 5K, then a 10K, then a half-marathon or marathon and build up mileage over time.
- Running isn’t just a solo sport! While running can be about beating your own personal bests, there is also a huge community aspect to being a runner…. And the running community is pretty amazing! Even when you are in a race, technically competing against other runners, everyone sticks together, cheers each other on, and sometimes will literally get you across the finish line. There’s no other sport like it and the best part is that yes, anyone can be a runner! All you have to do is get out there and run – it doesn’t matter how fast or how experienced you are, and you’ll automatically be part of the running community.Besides running as a community on race day, most local areas have running clubs and/or running stores where you can find other like-minded people to run with. If you don’t want to train alone, find a group you can join and that can help you stay motivated and dedicated even when times get tough. And best of all, you’ll come to love meeting new runners who you can swap race stories with and share the same sense of pride in being “crazy” enough to go out and run for FUN!
- Keep going – not every race will be a PR. When I was a new runner, every race was fresh and exciting, and I racked up a lot of PRs (personal records) early on. Eventually, this caught up to me and it became harder and harder to PR on every race like I had come to expect. It can be discouraging to train for months for a specific race, only to get a less than ideal time, however, it is important to remember that not every race will be (or should be) a PR.This is because no matter what you do in training, there are certain things that are beyond your control on race day like the weather and/or how your body will perform. You can do everything possible to try and prepare for these uncontrollables, like training in all weather or doing your best to get enough sleep, water, and nutrition pre-race, but sometimes it just doesn’t come together and that is okay! These are learning experiences that will allow you to improve and get better next time, but not getting a PR does NOT make you any less of a runner. You are still getting stronger even when you do not get a time that you’d hoped for. Always remember this and KEEP GOING even if you don’t PR – this will lead to big achievements down the line.
- Last, but not least, have fun! Running is a great outlet to relieve stress, have time to think, and push yourself in ways you never thought possible. Enjoy the experience and if you’re no longer having fun, change it up! Try a different race distance, take a few weeks off and cross-train, or try working with a new coach/training plan. At the end of the day, if you don’t love what you’re doing, it is a lot harder to stay motivated toward your racing and training goals.
Now, who’s ready to get out there and RUN!? We hope to see you at our next race, Shoots & Ladders 5K/10K at Oak Point Park on Saturday, May 21, 2022! Register HERE and see you on race day!