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