“The farthest I’ve run is to the mailbox.” “I’ll run when a coyote is chasing me.” Sound familiar? You were just making these statements a few short weeks ago! Not anymore! Now you have a great love for the way you feel after your lungs stop burning, you stop coughing and all your smelly shoes have left the trunk of your car. However, you’re still new to this and you’re not sure of “etiquette”, or you might be wondering if the aches and pains you’re having are normal growing pains or if you are running yourself into a wheelchair.
Here are some great things to remember now that you’ve started running:
A couple etiquette tips:
It’s normal to spit or blow snot rockets! Just be keen to your targeting and keep your fingers out of the line of fire when you launch the rocket; your hand may end up pretty slimy. (My wife hates this, but I swear it is acceptable!)
Always run to the right side of the trail/road/sidewalk and call out to people in front of you that you’re passing on the left when you do need to overtake another runner or walker.
Smile, nod, cheer, high five, and generally be pleasant to other people on the trails and roadways! It makes you feel just as good as the person on the receiving end of your positivity.
When you are at a race, do you best to line up in the proper “pace” corral or part of the pack, if there is no corral. If you know you are going to run a 25 minute 5k or longer, you should NOT be in the front line of a 5K. Ask around; are those you are standing next to also planning to run around your pace?
If you run with you dog, keep it under control and use a short leash. Oftentimes, races ask that you also start near the rear of the pack. Please do so; it creates a lot of congestion and trip hazards when you don’t follow these two simple requests.
When you are finished with your water cup at the aid station, TRY to hit the garbage receptacles! If you’re throwing it on the ground, be sure to aim any remaining water in the cup away from volunteers and other runners. The volunteers have to be on the course longer than you do and they don’t always want to be soaking wet, especially in the winter!
ALWAYS thank volunteers at races! They are what makes your racing experience possible.
Playing music on your phone without headphones is extremely rude. Wear headphones or leave it turned off. Make sure that your headphones don’t interfere with understanding course marshal or race official announcements or directions.
NO negative self-talk! Don’t talk about your distance in terms of “just a 5k.” On the flip side, don’t be boastful about your performance time with nearby racers unless you have already established a relationship with them.
A couple thoughts on your new found love:
Surround yourself with encouraging people; other runners are always great!
Find a supportive and inclusive group run that has varying distances and abilities.
Sign up for local races that can keep you motivated and encourage your friends to join you, even your non-running friends. Races can and are so much more than just running from point A to point B. Take pictures, dress up, form a team, get a beer, stick around for the raffle prizes, and sign up to volunteer for a race from time to time.
Blog, Facebook, Tweet about your new love but temper it with WHY you love this new endeavor and not necessarily a daily update of your workout, unless it’s a new PR or something you’ve never done before…then by all means, BRAG!!! (Did you know that PR means Personal Record? PRs are the only times you should be concerned about!)
Shin splints are real and you should be stretching and strengthening as you go! Google it and you won’t find a shortage of options.
Cross-train!!! Many runners end up with a weak core, tight hip flexors and hamstrings…Don’t be lazy!!
Take out the earbuds from time-to-time, slow the pace and just stare at the mountains, the sky, the fields, and trees and remember why you are doing this! A lot of people who jump into running get burned out after a few months because they forgot why they started and get lost in mileage, pace, cadence and heart rate!
If you have knee pains make sure to stretch, stretch and stretch, and you should probably head into a local specialty running store to get fitted for proper shoes. Your $50 pair of shoes from the big box outlet might not be doing the trick. There are some people who can run in anything, but most of us need the right shoes!
Buy AMAZING socks! Cotton socks are so comfortable on a lazy day to lay on the couch in but they don’t even compare with a great pair of synthetic or wool socks to run in! Spend the money and you’ll never go back to cotton!
Do NOT buy the most expensive GPS/Heart Rate watch on the market right away. Unless you just love gadgets, wait until you’ve been running for a while and determine if your goals will be reached any faster or easier by spending the dollars on the technology.
If you’re running on the treadmill at the gym, please STOP talking on the phone. It’s extraordinarily rude. People go to the gym to get away from the noise and the hustle & bustle. If you must take a phone call while you’re on the treadmill then get off the treadmill and find a quite corner where everyone around you doesn’t have to hear about what you’re going to cook for dinner, what your kids did at school or why your team is past its deadline on that big project.
Here are some other tips:
If shoes don’t feel awesome on your feet when you try them on at the store, they will only get worse as you run.
Men: wear supportive briefs.
Ladies: double up on sports bras if you have to.
If your heel slips out of your shoe, learn the runners knot.
If you’re running for longer than 1 hour, take water with you.
If you constantly find yourself having to walk at the first mile when you’re doing a 5K then slow down your pace and maintain that slower pace instead of the sprint to walk method. You’ll get better returns on your time!
I highly recommend forefront or mid-foot striking while running. It’s arguably more efficient but more important it’s GREAT at injury prevention.
Don’t ever feel bad that you ONLY ran a certain number of miles. Just keep moving, you’ll get where you’re going soon enough!
Try natural fueling options before gels and most people don’t need to “fuel” their runs unless they are going for longer than 75 minutes. You’re body naturally stores enough carbs and fat to get your through that period of time without any issues.
There are so many great tips and different things work for different people. This is simply my list of thoughts based on my years of running. Share yours and don’t be afraid to try new things!! Life’s too short to be boring…ha!
If you happen to be looking for a race series designed just for beginners check out this~ Six races with increasing distances from 1 Mile to 6.2 Miles (10K) ~ www.sixpackseries.com