Running does not require that we assemble a team of players, you do not need any special equipment, there’s no ball to chase around, no base lines to run and no special arena. Running is simply, you and the open road, trail, grassy field or sandy beach.
As with anything in life, there’s always something we wish we knew more about before we had to learn the hard way. After 15 years and nearing 16,000 miles here is my list of Running Things I wish I would have known about:
- Pace and Distance Are Related – When I first started running, way back in 1987, I had no idea about how training and racing where related. The only training I did was to simply go out and run. With each run I would try to run a little further then the previous time until eventually reaching an average of six miles per outing. Then I heard about an upcoming race, the “We Love Erie Days 10k.” I thought for sure I could run this “race.” Having no idea what to do on race morning, I lined up behind the tape and once the gun went off, I RACED my first 10k. If you have ever gone out to fast you know in about 2 miles I was beat, sucking wind, in trouble and suffering badly. Here…I learned about pacing and distance racing.
- Socks Rule The (Long Distance) Running World – I had ran four marathons and thousands of training miles and NEVER suffered with a single blister. Hard to believe but true I had not had a single one. Then I ran a 24 hour race where I completed 52.5 miles in 17+ hours. I thought I had sand in my shoes, I thought my feet where just sore, but once pulling off my socks…I found I had one MONSTER blister on the ball of each foot. After years of suffering through blistering if I ran over 50 miles…I finally learned, athletic socks are not the same as running socks.
- Good Shoes Are Good Shoes – I learned this lesson early on. Getting back into running in 2000, I had purchased a good pair of “nice looking” running shoes more for looks than function. The only drawback was that after the first mile or so of any run, my feet would go to sleep. I dealt with this for a few months figuring shoes were shoes…if they fit they must work. Finally after a trip to a “real” running store where they properly fit me with shoes that matched my stride, gait and foot type….I learned my feet did not have to fall asleep while I ran.
- Other Runners Are Very Helpful – At first running seamed competitive, I wanted to beat everyone in that first race. I learned the hard lesson that I was not the swiftest a foot. For years after that I ran alone, I trained alone and raced alone. I may not have been trying to beat anyone in the races I entered but I also kept to myself. Then during that first 24 hour race, I realized I had a lot to learn about long distance running. I also learned that I could not teach myself those lessons. In the middle of a race I had no idea how to run…I learned that the running community was filled with people wanting to share and wanting to help you reach your goals. I also learned that I wanted to help other people run, race and enjoy our sport for whatever it had to offer them.
- The Race Does Not Always Go To The Fastest – Although not trying to win every race, realizing I’m not the fastest, it does still bug me a little to get passed during the race. What I’ve learned during 80+ races is that it is easy to go out and lead the race, advance your position or pass a rival early. The real test of your training is can you hold that position for the long haul. I’ve seen many a rabbit come back to the field…I learned in long distance racing the tortoise does win out over the hare.
Running, along with being a great way to reconnect with yourself, and the world we live in, is in my opinion one of the best forms of exercise. For a simple physical activity there are still lessons we can learn every time we lace up our shoes.
What running lessons have you learned? Please post a comment and share…