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My thoughts in response to the recent Buzzfeed article — 13 Runners Give Beginners The Advice They Wish They’d Gotten

The first thing I noticed where the times… mostly because they were called out. It’s the virtual trophy of running. But these are fast runners – I’m sorry but according to the latest demographics by Running USA the average woman runs a 1/2 marathon in 2:19 and the average man in 2:01 that’s AVERAGE so that means that half of the race is well behind them. There are race limits (I didn’t realize this when I first started) most half marathons try to make certain you finish in 4 hours. That’s a little under a 15 minute per mile pace, and many full marathons allow for 6-7 hours.

I bring this up because what I notice as a slower runner is totally different from that of a faster runner. I am not a coach or a Boston Qualifier, I am a forty-nine-year-old runner that started at 40 with an overweight body. I’ve read a LOT of books articles and training plans but most of my opinions, and remember that’s what blogs are – opinions, come from the 4 full marathons and the countless half marathons I have had the ability to run. I’ve run tired, I’ve hit the “wall” as it’s called but I have not been injured. I’ve had a tight hamstring or a knot in my butt, but I am happy to say I’ve not had a stress fracture, sprain, tear or overuse injury to date. How? Because I listen to my coaches and well, as I like to say ‘no one’s ever been injured from running too slow’.

So let’s start with the first one – run at sunrise or sunset – I get this one but honestly just get out there and if it’s the middle of the day and you have to walk – WHO CARES – it’s truly more about time on your feet!

I have a coach who said that every run should have a purpose and with that this gentleman said it best; one long, one speed, and one hill (speed work in disguise) I’d usually put in one midweek run to catch up with friends but I trained only 3-4 days a week – I cross-trained with body weight boot camps 3x a week on non-running days.

This was advice no one said – cross train – I’ve stayed injury free because I allow my body to rest which is very important but I also build muscle with exercise. This can be as simple as lunges, squats, push-ups, and planks.

Running with a buddy – this one is a big one for safety. If you’re running at these darker times then you really need to be aware of your surroundings and what if something happens. Having someone with you can be life saving. The drawback to training with one or more people throughout your plan is that unless you make the agreement to stay together on race day regardless of whether or not one person is having a better day,  it can be hard to keep you mental toughness if your wing-man isn’t with you.

Playlist offline is a must but there are many races that don’t allow the runners to wear headphones – and more importantly safety – getting in the zone is great but not being pray to a criminal or not hearing a car is even better.

I do love Tara and her “Proud Marathon Finisher” because honestly that should be the first goal of your first marathon TO FINISH… google the story of the first marathon and you’ll understand why I say that.

Good running shoes – this is huge – shin splints, hip pain and other injuries start and can get much much worse with broken down shoes. Shoes are only meant to last for 300-500 miles – and I have never listened to what the rep at the store tried to sell me – listen to my body – the moment I go from running without pain to having pain – it’s time to start looking for deals on my favorite brand.

Don’t go changing shoes all the time either. Your gate gets set with a certain weight of a shoe, so switching from one to another without breaking them in or working them into the cycle can be damaging. Side note – realize that you can look at changing brands etc. at points in your weight loss journey, the larger you are the more cushion you might feel you need. But as you lose weight a more minimal shoe might work, but work with a trained professional to easy you into the right shoe, because no shoe is ever going to fix bad form.

Running sometimes blows! This is so true. Like everything you have to have the good with the bad. BUT listen to your body – sometimes bad runs need to just end regardless of it being only 3 miles in. Any good coach (golf, bowling, running) will tell you to not reinforce a bad habit. If you form is going south stop!! Don’t let that muscle memory sink in.

AGAIN with the audio?! I love my music I really do – but as I mentioned with the buddy – I would much rather hear about my friends days, work, histories an troubles on any long run than the same playlist! and SAFETY people!!

Finally we were Born to Run. If you haven’t read this book and you are really liking your running journey – get it! It was a slow book for me to read but I loved the audio version (I listened when I drive). Don’t get all hung up in the authors discussions of barefoot training or ultras. Listen for the spirit of the book. We are homo sapiens evolved to be upright and run for LONG distances, unlike our neanderthal counterparts. If after reading this book you don’t find a new confidence to just ignore your non-running friends then maybe you should take up cycling.