Things I wish I knew…

I was a rather ignorant runner for many months, partly due to lack of experience, and partly because I ignored 86% of the advice I received from seasoned runners.

I would like to think I have now matured both as a runner and as a general member of the human species, thus have taken on board feedback from those more knowledgeable than myself.

There are many things I wish I knew when I started running, but I have attempted to summarise these learnings into 3 key points:

Rest days. REST. R E S T

I saw rest days as lazy, and therefore very rarely took a day off from running. #NeverMissAMonday #NoDaysOff etc. etc.

Obviously this is complete and utter BS, and through a combination of skipping rest days and not hydrating sufficiently (to be discussed in a later post), I ended up fatiguing myself to the point where I ended up in hospital. So do NOT be as moronic as me.

Good running shoes

For the love of all that is holy, invest in a pair of running shoes that fit and support your feet effectively!! I spent almost £200 on my first pair of running shoes, which was ridiculous for 2 reasons:

  1. There is simply no need to spend so much £££
  2. The only reason I purchased said running shoes was because they were leopard print with bright pink soles

These leopard print monstrosities (please see them in action above at my first ever race! I also insisted on holding my phone – WHY) did not provide the support required, PLUS they were too small as they were my normal shoe size. Your running shoes should be at least a half size larger than your everyday shoe, due to swelling in your feet when you run.

The moral of the story is: please go and get a gait analysis – it’s free of charge, and only takes 10 – 15 minutes.

Engage with the running community

I am very lucky in the sense that I already knew quite a few fairly keen runners prior to beginning my running journey. These are the people who are genuinely interested in my race day nutrition plan, compression socks, and skanky post-marathon toenails. Equally, I am more than happy to hear about their chafing disaster or mid-race vom.

However, Hortencia* from Finance couldn’t care less; therefore, sparking up a conversation with Hortencia is fairly pointless and potentially de-motivating.

It took me over a year to build up the courage to join a running club, and therefore completely understand that this can be intimidating for new runners. Other alternatives include taking part in local races, various apps (for beginners I would recommend Couch to 5K/RunKeeper/Nike+) and/or finding a training partner.

My point is that it’s wonderful to have people (or a person) around you who not only motivate you, but also have an understanding of your end goal.

I hope these 3 tips have been beneficial for new runners – please do let me know if you have any feedback or questions!

*Please note I do not work with anyone called Hortencia. She is a fictional character, created solely for the purpose of this tale.

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