I am so excited to be filling in for Ashleigh today as she moves into her new place! I have been running for seven years and I am crazy about it. I run all different races but my favorite are the half marathon and marathon distances. Today I am going to write 13 things on what I have learned about running through training and through races.
1. Everyone has a beginning. I don’t think I have read a running blog where the runner starts out at a 1:20 half marathon. Most of them start above 2 hours and through time, hard work, and determination they beat their personal records. Run your own race and don’t compare your beginning to some one else’s middle.
2. It’s all in the outfit. Find a good pair of shoes and comfortable running clothing. Your gear doesn’t have to be expensive but it does need to be comfortable when you are running.
3. Love running. Some people aren’t able to run so love every minute you get to run.
4. Sometimes you may have to do things that aren’t socially acceptable. Need to use the bathroom? There’s a forest over there. Need to blow your nose? Your shirt is just like a tissue.
5. Body glide, the foam roller, a lacrosse ball, an ice bath, a roll of toilet paper, will all become your best friends. Trust me.
6. Try something new on race day. I know, I know “but everyone says don’t try anything new on race day!” I have tried something new on every one of my races and nothing goes wrong. One time I ran in a brand new pair of shoes and PR’d in the race. Basically, don’t stress yourself out trying clothing or shoes or fuel before race day if you aren’t able to. Enjoy the race and learn from what happens!
7. Not every race will be a PR race. Not every race you will feel perfect. Whether it is good or bad, you should be proud of yourself. Forget the bad races because you will probably run many more.
8. Follow your dreams. As cliché as that is, it is your life and you have dreams that aren’t always the same as others. Some people will support you and some people will leave you.
9. Pace groups are awesome. Usually in larger races they have runners who have a sign with the pace they will run. Run with them. They are usually really good at pacing. When I ran my marathon in November I stayed with the low 4-hour pacer and we hit the exact time. If you want to run a certain time at a race, stay with them. But that also brings me to…
10. Run for the finish line not for the finish time. If you are running your first half marathon or first marathon forget about a goal time. Seriously. If you focus on a goal time and don’t beat that time you will end disappointed and it won’t be fun. It’s your first race- go out there and run to say you finished.
11. Smile for the camera! During my marathon last November I was sweating, I had Gatorade and water all over me (am I the only dysfunctional one who can’t drink out of those paper cups without spilling it?), I had “gotten sick” that morning, and I was completely disgusting, but I didn’t stop smiling at those cameras. I was determined to not have every race day photo turn out bad. Plus, smiling keeps you focused on having fun.
12. At my first marathon I dedicated my last six point two miles to others (my friends, blogger friends, those affected by the Boston tragedy, my family, my dad, my sister, and myself). Each one of those groups had a special place in my heart whether I was running for them or they supported me through my entire training cycle and it was so rewarding to be able to think of others during my race. It helped me get through the hardest part of the marathon.
13. Never give up! This is the most important thing I have learned. There are hard days (and good days too!) but on those hard days it is easy to feel defeated. Last fall when I was on week 14 of 20 of training for my first marathon I could have easily given up. I was exhausted, I over trained, I was defeated. But I didn’t give up. I kept thinking I WILL run this marathon and I did. Never ever give up.
You can check out Sara’s blog here: Run Sara Run.