Ok…the Shamrock 15K is Sunday.
Not going to freak out. Not going to hyperventilate about running 9.3 miles.
Instead I’m going to share a few things I’ve learned since starting to run back in November.
The Top 10 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting to Run in Portland
- Rain Runs. When forced to run in the rain, try not to run uphill against the wind. It’s just kind of depressing. Also very wet.
- Note to self: after a run in said rain, open up your shoes as much as you can, remove the inserts, and let them dry thoroughly.
- Running at least 2x per week can really do a lot for your self-esteem. It took me a bit to realize that running was the cause. Let me explain. I’ve always felt my legs to be an asset, but I’ve been told by multiple people that I have no butt. WELL I DO NOW (or maybe it just seems that way with all the running tights I wear). Every run I go on I concentrate on how my stride feels in my calves or quads and how my deep breaths dip into my stomach and strengthen my core. I realize that no matter how fast I wish I was, I am stronger with every step. Running’s made me feel less self-conscious about the things I wear, and I enjoy the soreness after a good run because it’s a reminder of all of my hard work.
- Too much, too fast. Don’t do it. Take a rest day, or two–who are you trying to impress? Don’t run to the point of injury, as from what I’ve heard–most aren’t pretty at all. That said, I’ve been told that more than two weeks off will cause muscle loss–so it might be a balance.
- That said, don’t get lazy. Push yourself outside, even on the icky, rainy or cold, dark days. You will run faster (or at least I did) to get back into the warm.
- Eat well–this might not mean going to nutritional extremes. If you’re running long distances, your body is going to need carbs. Feed your body what it needs to be successful–don’t cut corners in hopes you’ll lose some weight in the process.
- Don’t be embarrassed about things that are embarrassing. Let them roll off your back. I’ll give you an example: long runs can lead to…well…runs. Realize that most runners get them, and that you should take the necessary precautions to ensure that you don’t “have an accident.”
- Approach challenges as things that make you stronger. Give yourself the option to slow down if you must, but don’t stop. My best example is hills. Hills suck, especially when you’ve already run five miles and you just want a rest. Repeat after me, “every step up this hill makes me stronger, faster, and better than I would be on flat land alone. I can slow down, but I will not quit.” Simply repeat that over and over and over until you’ve reached the top. Then hyperventilate a bit (followed closely by a small victory dance), and move on.
- Run as often as possible with others. They will not only make time pass faster, but your mile times will be faster because you can pace each other. I would not have made it to today without my weekly runs with friends. I literally would have quit in the first weeks. No doubt.
- Have fun. This is the hardest thing for me because I am not an individually competitive person. I AM competitive, but in sports I am a complete team player. To run for my sole benefit is not a major motivator for me. If you’re like me and turn your brain off when running, try and incorporate something that you enjoy to help motivate you to get out–make some playlists that you can shuffle up on your runs and that will help keep your pace up; give yourself a cool down treat after each run (mine’s chilled coconut water–yum!); ask your accountability partner to encourage you to get out and run, or re-affirm that you are going to rock it! For me it isn’t necessarily the run itself that’s always the most enjoyable, but looking back and thinking–yeah, I rocked that.