What I’ve learned from running!
It’s only been a few years into my running adventures and though I’m far from being an expert, I have learned a few things. This comes mainly from experience but also from friends who also partake in this crazy sport. I do have a strong background in Athletic Training and injuries from my many years working with Division 1 athletes and a short bout with a professional baseball team. While I thought that education would serve me well in preparing my own body for the rigors of running, I was wrong in many ways. So what did I learn?
- Shoes make a big difference
I’ve gone through so many shoes since I started running and never have owned so many shoes in my life! I seem to have every color of the rainbow. I didn’t start out tracking the mileage in my first few pairs and ended up with problems that could have been avoided. Track how many miles you have in your pair and rotate them each season. Also, get fitted properly and don’t just shop with a big name shoe. Your feet will thank you.
- You can overtrain
I used the Nike+ app for a long time and followed it strictly and occasionally got the “Overtraining” warning which I laughed off because I thought I knew better. Pushing those extra miles in to compete with other runners left me with a couple of injuries and extra fatigue that I could have done without.
- Running friends are unbelievably supportive
I have met so many great people that I call my friends thanks to running. Special shout out to BibRave for allowing me to be part of such a great group of runners. The camaraderie means a lot to this old runner and seeing them at races is such a great thing. I hope to meet a lot more of them as the years go on and not just online but at actual events!
- Not running sucks
I didn’t realize how addicting this would be in my life but when I was or am injured, I get depressed if I can’t run. I even found myself running out in the super cold snowy weather just to get out there. I did buy a shirt that expressed that feeling. Playing baseball for most of my life, I only had to run 90 feet and now I find myself challenging my longest distance every year.
- Runcations are an incredible thing
Is it wrong that I try to schedule my races in destinations that are extremely scenic? I’m sticking to my goal of “vacationing” around races and hit a few states each year. So far, I’ve done pretty well and have run some unbelievable locales. 2017 will be another great years of traveling and meeting new friends.
- There is an indescribable feeling accomplishing a goal
My first couple of years running were very small distances since I had never really ran far in my life. I did a few 5ks and didn’t really do well. After learning how to run and training properly, I found myself having a lot of PRs and that feeling of success is unreal. I swore I would stick with 5k or 10ks and never run a half marathon. Then I was convinced to try one with a friend and loved it. I swore I wouldn’t run a full marathon after my first half but then I did! Now I can honestly say that a full marathon will be my limit as I have no interest in the ultras. I commend those who can or do!
- It’s ultra addictive
Every race that I finish I tell myself that I’m done and will retire but that’s just an immediate reaction to the effect it had on my legs and lungs. I then go home and immediately search for that next great race or cool medal. It’s addicting and it’s a great addiction to have. You meet great people, challenge yourself, and enhance your health at the same time.
- Trail running is not the same as road running
I learned this after a couple of injuries to my knees and my feet. There are proper shoes for running trails. Obstacle hopping over branches and rocks and other aggressive terrain takes special training and slight changes to your running gait. Though, trail running is becoming a lot more exciting to me for the sheer serenity and challenge.
- Nature is a beautiful thing
We take for granted the beauty that nature displays to us all and I’ve found myself taking a lot more pictures of scenery and the smaller things in life that I notice out on ling runs. Things look a lot more beautiful. Sounds become more distinct. Smells become more vibrant. There is a lot of beauty in this country and running in different areas has allowed me to really open my eyes.
- It’s life changing
If you asked me a few years ago if I would ever run, the answer would have been a definite no. After doing this for the last few years, I can now say that it is a big part of my life. My current friendships are based on running. I do still stay in touch with my childhood friends but most of the people I get to hang out with now are runners. Maybe it’s the common language we speak or the sharing of running adventures, but I find myself circling with that group of people. I now subscribe to running or trail running magazines and watching major running events on TV. I think it’s enhanced my outlook on life and health and hope to continue as long as my body allows.
- I can eat more pizza (aka Carb loading)
Yes I said it, I am in love with pizza. If I can eat more of it, then I am happy!