Monthly Archives: February 2018

Runner – Dear Veteran Runner, Racer, Marathoner


Dear Veteran Runner,

Congratulations on enjoying a long running career.  I don’t know about you, but I didn’t feel like a “veteran runner” until just a few years back.  I’ve been running for 17 years now and for most of that time I’ve felt like I was learning more than giving back any sense of knowledge or wisdom.  But recently I’ve noticed people tend to pay attention and seek out my pearls of running experience.  So, I guess I’m one of the old runners now.

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 (Thule, Greenland 2000…the beginning)

As a follow up to my letter to new runners, I asked myself what have I learned in these 17 years?  The list is endless, but I’ll try to capture a few key topics in hopes of passing on my take on being a veteran runner.

#1  Everyone is important.  I can still remember my first 5k, standing at the starting line looking at all the “real runners” and believing that the race was really for them.  I thought for sure I was just there as a backdrop to their race.  I was there to give the fast crowd some form of measurement.  I kept to myself, ran my race and went home I’m sure unnoticed by the majority.

I have since learned that everyone is important.  Everyone lining up for a race is running for their place on the finishing line.  Some in the crowd will run a fast race and some will run slow.  Some runners are battling life threating diseases, some are on the road of recovery.  Everyone who ties their shoes, pins a number on their chest and runs the race is important.  As a veteran, I want to ensure I show that I value everyone in the race.  I want to celebrate in their victory as much as my own.  As a veteran runner, everyone is important.

#2  Listen to your body more than ever.  Being a veteran runner means that you are older.  Like it or hate it, it is a fact.  And as such we need to listen to our body.  We need to pay attention to the little issues that might crop up one day and sideline us the next.  I have found that I do not bounce back as fast as I used to.  When our body talks we need to listen before it becomes a major statement which might shut us down for an extended time.  As a veteran runner listen to your body.

#3  You can still set personal records (PR).  Just because you’re getting older does not mean your better days are behind you.  With experience comes wisdom, with wisdom comes improved race times.  Whether in training or on race day knowing how to maximize your fitness, how to use your race day experience and how to leverage your insight into racing strategies can aid you in shaving seconds, minutes or even hours off the clock.  As a veteran runner, experience can overcome youth on the clock.

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Some times running a faster race time is not about running faster…it’s about tactics and race day strategies.  My book 26.2 Tips to run your best MARATHON (or any race for that matter) can help you set new PRs and run your best races.

#4  Be accessible.  Standing on that first starting line, my attentions where drawn to the experienced racers.  I was watching them, whether they knew it or not.  Being a rookie, I wanted to see how they lined up, how they prepped for the race and how they ran the race.  I also watched to see how they interacted with their peers, new comers and fellow runners.  Sadly, no one noticed me.  I left that race much the way I arrived, one runner, one face in the crowd.  I left with no sense of community.  As an experienced runner, you stand out, and you reflect the running community.  Whether you intend to or not people notice you, people pay attention, and new runners form their opinion of the community by watching you.  As a veteran runner, you are the ambassador of our sport, be a good example.

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(Just a few of the group/community experiences I’ve shared)

#5  Pay attention to the experience.  Running offers so much to our lives.  Running is an open door to adventure, an escape from our work-a day-world.  Occasionally turn off your watch, forget about Strava, Mapmyrun, your training plan and simply run to enjoy movement.  Smell the roses.  Feel the grit of dirt on your skin.  Enjoy the sensation of sweat running down your back.  Celebrate the action of your heart.  Simply run.  As a veteran runner enjoy the ride.

You only become an veteran runner by running.  You can’t buy it.  You can’t borrow it.  You can’t find it in a closet hidden in an old dusty box.  You must earn being a veteran runner.  That feeling comes to each one us at a time and place unique to us.  One day while getting ready for a race, you’ll stand and look in the mirror and see a veteran runner looking back at you.  As a veteran runner make sure it’s a good example…someone you would want to run with, learn from and one day be.

Brian


Runner – Dear New Runner – Fitness and Marathon Training


Dear New Runner,

Thank you so much for joining the running community.  I can’t guarantee you it’s going to be easy but I can promise that running will open many new doors to adventure.  A running lifestyle can introduce you to new friendships, experiences and life change that no other form of exercise can.  But you have got to keep a few things in mind…

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#1  Get good shoes for your running style, gait and body mechanics.  The most common question experienced runners are asked by people new to our sport is “What are the best shoes?”  This is such a personal question with an answer that is different for every person.  Once you decide running is your activity of choice for fitness visit a specialty running store.  A specialty running store can provide a professional gait analyse to ensure your choice of shoes provide the best fit and function.  It’s not about style, color, or what works for the elite level athletes in professional sports….it is about what works for you.

#2  Start slow.  Once I fell in love with running I wanted to run often.  Each run left me wanting to run longer and faster.  BUT, you have to go slow at first to allow your body time to adjust.  I once read an article on running injury free.  The biggest take away was the 10% Rule.  The 10% Rule boils down to never adding more weekly or monthly mileage than 10% more than the previous week or month.  I also believe you should not extend your long run more than 10% of your previous and current long run.

Running is also about adventures, drama and life change.

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Running to Leadville, the story of the 100-mile runner.  A story about life as much as it is about running.  A look into what compels someone to take that first step on an adventure that pushes them to the limits of themselves and exposes the core of the human movement.  An endeavor that isn’t over until the last breath is taken.  Running to Leadville – available on Amazon

#3  Listen to your body.  There is no one perfect training plan for everyone.  When selecting a training plan you must find one that will work for you, your life-style and your running and racing goals.  Once you find that plan…you must listen to the feedback your body gives you and not become so locked into your plan that you potentially run yourself into an injury.  If I have a long run, speed work or hill repeats on my training agenda and my legs, my lungs or my heart just don’t feel up to it….I adjust.

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#4  Stop and smell the roses (take the selfie).  To me and this is simply my personal experience…no single run, no single training cycle, no one race  (unless your gunning for Olympic Medals, Boston Qualifier or a  Golden ticket) is worth bypassing the experience.  We only live this life once, enjoy the sunset, the misty morning on the trail, the geese, deer or squirrel you share the trail with.  Your running life will be more enjoyable if you high five the kids, hug the dogs and smile at the cameras along the way.

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#5  Embrace the community.  I used to be a lone-wolf runner.  I trained alone, I showed up at the races by myself, ran and went home to my family.  Running was fun…but not very deep.  Today, I have friends that have seen me at my lowest, I have friends who kept me moving, I have friends who have seen my victories.  BUT more importantly I have helped a cancer survivor run her first marathon.  I have ran with a new runner when they crossed the finish line for the first time.  I have been part of a six person 200-mile relay team where we ran and laughed for 35+ hours.  I’ve run across the Grand Canyon with a group that will forever share the R2R2R bound.  I’ve run 50 miles with someone battling their own body to get their first 100-mile buckle.  I could go on and on…the stories are endless.  Running and runners are my tribe.   

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Running is a lifetime sport and more so it is a lifetime life style.  Running takes you to edge of what you think you can do and expands your horizon, your self-confidence and broadens your life experience.

Best of luck…keep in touch I can’t wait to hear about your future running success.

Brian