How long has it been since I’ve started running, two years now? That seems about right. Two years isn’t a long time but you surely do learn experience a plethora of race “do’s and don’t,” as well as what works for you and what doesn’t work for you, but of course this goes to say, what works for me, might not work for you, but there’s nothing wrong with taking some pointers.
When I first started running back in 2013, I was very new to the sport and somewhat lost. I didn’t know what the difference between a 5K and a half marathon, I didn’t know how to fuel properly, I was very unaware of the types of sneakers I needed to wear which made it very difficult to find a groove with running, but I ran more, I learned more.
So let’s go through what I am calling the “do’s and dont’s” of running and races:
*Create a training plan. There are many resources for training plans for whatever distance you’re planning to run.
*Give yourself time to run the distance. For someone who hasn’t run before it isn’t safe to take on a 5K or a marathon in a short amount of time.
*Join a running group, make friends and learn from these people. Chances are there are at least 10 people who have been running longer than you have and they will be able to help you achieve your running goals.
*To be a strong runner, you also have to cross and strength train. This means you should also be completing some low impact exercise that is beneficial to running whether it be running, cycling or yoga. Make sure your strengthening the muscles in your legs and core especially, these muscles are going to be the driving force of what’s going to make you a better, stronger, faster and more efficient runner.
*What you eat is important for energy while running. Make sure the food that you put in your body is nothing but beneficial.
*Purchase some running/workout clothes. Nothing is worse than trying to run or train for races in sweat pants, nothing.
*Don’t run in sneakers that aren’t made for running. I made the mistake in doing this when I first started running and my feet hurt like hell.
*Running is one thing, but not fueling through a long run is another. Not fueling properly during runs could be detrimental to your runs. Energy gels are helpful to ingest throughout your run.
*Skipping breakfast is NOT optional. You must eat to fuel your body, if you don’t eat, just don’t run. Well, not really but you understand my drift.
*Feeling like you need to pack your whole world with you while you run can slow you down. I used to run with a fanny pack to help carry what I needed, but I slowly realized that the fanny pack was way too heavy and I just recently switched to a lighter expandable belt which feels like nothing when I’m running with it.
*Worrying about the next runner isn’t going to help you with your run. Don’t compare yourself — your pace and your time is what matters, when you start to compare, you start to doubt.
*Remember the number one rule. DON’T TRY ANYTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.
Overall running is something that can’t be learned overnight, something that might work for you for an amount of time might not work for you later on in life. Be able to adapt and/or change your routine and don’t feel pressured to try something new that could possibly work, or don’t be afraid to say no because what you’re doing is currently working.
Have fun while running, remember it’s a sport that you’re doing for fun, but also want to excel at the sport as well.