TOTR: If I only knew then…


with Erika @ MCM Mama Runs,
Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice
and Patty @ My no-guilt life

This week’s topic is “If I only knew then…. What advice would you give your new runner self?

Another tough topic.

Before I took my first step, I joined a running group called No Boundaries.  They taught us what to wear, how to breathe, how to stretch, not to heel strike, etc. I had a coach and several mentors.

FRW - 2008

We had a training schedule and we ran outside no matter what the weather was like.

Being the impatient person that I am, although our first 5k was not scheduled until July, I ran my first 5k three weeks after my first run (which took place on April 1).  And I ran the whole 3.1 miles…not fast.. but I did it.

getting ready for the race

The picture above is funny because I never stretch.

I also started this blog, the day I signed up for No Boundaries and have continued posting even when I was injured and couldn’t run.

So what would I do differently?

  • Run with other runners more often.

After no Boundaries ended, I used to do most of my running alone.  I did run a lot of races and made running friends there.  But I still was uncomfortable joining a running group because I was a “beginner,” I was “older” and I thought that I wasn’t “fast enough.”

Now that I have joined a few groups, I know that age and pace do not matter.  It is more fun to run with someone else.

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FRW Training Challenge group

  • Run more miles in the beginning.

I ran about 100 miles the first year and 200 the second year.  I didn’t run when the weather was bad.  I took the whole winter off the first year.  And since I was only running 5ks, I could do them even if I only completed 1-1 1/2 miles for my weekday runs.

Now I run ALL year and my weekday runs are at least 3 miles.

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  • Run more than 3 miles.

I never ran more than 3 miles even on the weekends.  I was not building any endurance.  I got faster but I think I could have gotten even faster. I should have tried longer races rather than sticking to only 5ks.

Now even if I am not training for a big race, I try to run 5-6 miles on the weekend. I run a lot of 5ks but I have added 10ks, 15ks and other distances to my race schedule.

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  • Sign up for a half marathon sooner.

I don’t mean the first year but I waited a few years because I didn’t have the confidence that I could do it.  Finally I signed up for one and trained for it.  Then I discovered that ANYONE can run a half marathon.  You prepare for it.  And I realized for the half marathon, FINISHING=WINNING.

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#1

  • PRs are hard and unpredictable.

When I first started running, I gradually got faster.  Before I knew it, I was finishing my 5ks under 30 minutes.  But I kinda plateaued.  I didn’t finish one in 27:XX until a few years later (after I started running half marathons.) Of course, then there were several injuries and I felt like I was starting all over.

I never know if I am going to run a good race.  My PRs are surprises.  I can run the same course and my finish time will vary tremendously.

I now realize that there are so many factors that influence our runs – weather, training, health, course, elevation, terrain, etc. We just do our best and the PRs will happen …or not.

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Who knew that this would be a half marathon PR? I ran one on a similar course that was 20 minutes slower!

  • It may take years before you find the right running shoe.

I started with Saucony, then there was Asics, Brooks, Mizuno, even Hokas. With each new brand, I kept thinking that this was it!

8 years later I am wearing Nikes.  No far so good.

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  • Speed isn’t everything. Enjoy your runs!

When I first started, I was worried about getting faster (doesn’t everyone?) I had a Nike chip on my shoe that synced with my iPod. Then I got a Garmin. I always uploaded my data and fretted about my pace.

Now I only wear my Garmin for racing.  For my other training runs, I only care about distance.  I don’t look at my pace. I don’t upload it or post it anywhere.

And yes, running is a lot more fun.

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No watch! 🙂 Don’t care about pace!

Happy Running! What advice would you give your new runner self?

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11 thoughts on “TOTR: If I only knew then…

  1. I think I’ll always care about pace — up to a degree. I’m a competitive person (even if it’s only with myself).

    So some runs I am trying to hit a pace and I watch my watch. Typically on my long runs I don’t. And sometimes I don’t just because yes, always watching your pace can suck the life out of a run — sometimes.

    A time and a place for everything!

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  2. My first race was a half marathon and it was my “warm up” race for the Boston Marathon. I would advise any runner to start with the 5K. Do a few of those and then try a 10K. And yes, run 5, 6 or 10 miles on your weekend long runs.
    Be patient.

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  3. I so agree with you, you have to run more than 3 miles. My 5K got so much easier when my training runs went to 4 miles. Running with friends is the most fun! You don’t have to be fast but it sure is a lot easier to get those miles in!

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  4. Great advice to yourself!
    I like to compete, even if mostly it’s with myself. But your right, no matter the goals, if your not enjoying your runs, then there is no point to them. I had a friend who lost the enjoyment, she quit running tried a few other things for years, and came back to it years later realizing before she just didn’t have the time to put into it, and the 2nd time things just went much better and she was enjoying it so much more, enjoyment is an important part!

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