I started running in March of 2010, and became serious about running probably sometime around this time last year. Here are some of the things I have learned during my "rookie" season... My experienced runner friends will probably yawn reading this, so this is for any of you who have just started getting serious about running.
Ten things I have learned in 2011
- Running fast all of the time does not necessarily make you fast. You gain speed over time and by getting in quality workouts.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. I mean really.. I knew this going in. What I didn't know is how important hydrating and getting in electrolytes the day before and even the week before a race is. Even though the temperature at White Rock Half was an average of 42 degrees, I paid for not taking in the minerals needed when I got that leg cramp at mile 12.8.
- Rest is just as important as workouts. This I knew as well. Toward the end of summer I saw the proof. I had backed off, noticed my legs were fresher and I could run longer. So is sleep. Ok, I'm still working on that one.
- Proper training and having a structured training schedule is important. The best thing I have done to help myself is joining the Dallas Running Club and signing up for fall training. I would encourage anyone who is serious about running to join a running club or get a running trainer. I think I did a fair job of training myself for my first half marathon. I was only running for a year and finished in 2:06. However, I don't think I would have gotten my time under 1:55 had I not had the training I had through the DRC.
- If you think you can, you are probably can. If you think you shouldn't, you are probably right. I'm still hard headed sometimes when it comes to the latter part of that.
- Summer routine runs are not for speedwork and going for PRs. Just get in a few runs per week. When it's hot out, like it is here in Texas (95 degrees at night) you run slow and hydrate like crazy along the way. It's all about how often you run per week, not how far necessarily. PRs mean nothing unless they happen during a race.
- The 10% rule is right on. Not just with running, but even with my strength training. Overrage just defeats the purpose of working out at all. It took me a couple of injuries to believe it.
- Don't be a mileage “ho”. I used to get caught up looking at my dailymile leaderboard trying to chase the runners who had the top miles for the week. What I wasn't looking at was that most of these runners and pros already had several full marathons and ultras under their belt. They were running 20 milers for breakfast. I'm not a pro. Yet.
- Cold weather is good! Before I started running, I absolutely HATED cold weather. Anything under 60 degrees this Texas boy couldn't deal with it. OK, yeah I still do hate cold weather but I can tolerate it now. On the other hand, running in cold weather is a totally different animal. I would never have thought that one day I would be comfortable running in shorts and short sleeves in 45 degree weather. As long as the wind isn't blowing extremely hard, I'm all good.
- Runners are the coolest people on the planet. Common knowledge to all runners. You just gotta be one to understand.