I’ve been running for about 3 years now. I started late in 2013 and I was a complete and absolute beginner. The most running I ever did was the mile in school and my friends and I usually walked most of that. So when I decided to start a “couch to 5k” program I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. Or that this simple activity would become such a huge part of my life.
3 years really isn’t that long, especially when you think about the people who’ve been running since grade school, or people who will gladly tell you they’ve been running for 20 years now. I hope one day I’ll get to be one of those people who’ve been running for years and years and years. Sometimes I still feel like a beginner when it comes to certain aspects of running, but I have learned a lot in the time I’ve been doing it. These are just somethings I wish I had known from the very start of my running adventures.
1. The whole “runner’s high” thing is neat, but it rarely ever happens. Hell, you’ll actually feel like crap a lot, and that’s ok!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard a whole lot about runner’s high. Quite often, when I heard people talk about running it was a topic that came up, so I used to think it was a super common thing. But now I know better.
In the 3 years I’ve been running I’ve only experienced a full blown runners high once. I remember the experience quite vividly though. I even remember what I was wearing (a long sleeve purple Nike top, plain black yoga pants, and my fancy new Nike Pegasus running shoes). It was a cold, cloudy November day in 2014. I was the only person on the particular stretch of trail that day which is always awesome! Once I started I felt like I was flying and that feeling never faded. I finished a 5k and I felt absolutely fantastic once I was done! This was the very first time I completed a 5k with out taking any walking breaks and it was also the fastest I’ve ever been able to do a 5k, at 34 minutes and some odd seconds. It was a pretty awesome experience!
I’m not saying other than that one time running had been completely miserable for me though! I usually have a lot of fun while out on runs, but even runs that are lots of fun have moments that are just plain shitty.
Running is freaking hard and there will be times when you want to quit (and sometimes you do quit) and that’s ok! Every runner, from the elites to very beginners have plenty of moments like that. All that matters is that you don’t give up and you keep moving forward.
2. Moisture wicking clothing is super important.
If you don’t believe me, try wearing a cotton t-shirt during a run on a warm day (don’t try this experiment on a cold day, you can seriously get hypothermia from your sweat being trapped in the cotton material!), then try a moisture wicking one. You’re going to feel so much cooler and less weighed down in the technical material. It’s definitely worth the extra money.
3. Do whatever works for you.
Fuel, shoes, workouts, water intake, the list goes on and on and on. Everyone and their brother has an opinion on what is the best way to go about something. But that doesn’t mean someone else’s “right” is the right thing for you.
Sure it’s great to see what other people do and maybe even try it out for yourself, but the most important thing you can do in this sport (and in life) is figure out what makes you happy and works for you!
Let’s take fasted cardio for example. For those of you who may not know, fasted cardio is when you do a cardio workout without eating anything before hand. So if you were to get your run in before breakfast, that’s fasted cardio. Anyway, some people swear by it! Or at least say they feel better running or biking or whatever when they don’t have anything in their stomachs. Awesome! I’m glad that works well for them! I on the other hand, have to eat before I run or else I get stomach cramps, and I get tired and sluggish about halfway through my workout. Cool, now I know to way before I run because that’s what works for me!
On the flip side, I think we’d a do well to remember that just because something does or doesn’t work for us, that doesn’t mean someone else should or shouldn’t do that thing. We all need to be more supportive and less judgy! I mean, we’re basically all in this crazy thing together, right?
4. Wave to the other runners!!
Or say good morning, or at least smile! As I said before, we’re all in this crazy sport together, we might as well act like it. Right? Right?!?
Besides, runners are all super cool, super friendly people (at least in my experience). Plus, a simple wave and “good morning” might turn someone’s not so great workout around. I’ve had plenty of personal experience with that, and let me tell ya, that’s always a good feeling. 😄
5. It doesn’t matter if you’re slow, or if you can’t go very far. You’re still a runner.
There is no weight requirement, weekly mileage requirement, pace requirement, or anything like that. If you run you are a runner. End of story.