What I Learned (3): Running

I was running the other day and I was thinking about how many things I didn't know when I started running. Through much trial and error (mostly error), you end up figuring out what works for you, food wise, water wise, shoe wise and more! Obviously, I didn't have a pen and paper with me, and my brain is very similar to Swiss cheese. Therefore, once I sat down to make the list after getting home, it was much, much smaller than I had planned. However, here are the few things that did stick. So, here are a few things I have learned about running in the past several years.

It's okay to walk.

This took me a while to learn. It seems like it's a bit backwards, because usually you walk before you run, but I didn't. If I had to walk, I considered myself done. This was keeping me from running farther. If I would have just stopped to walk and recover, I could have kept going. However, since I started trail running and the hills were brutal, I realized that by walking up the hills, I can save more energy for later! The same goes for any run whether it's on the trails or the roads.

You are faster than you think. 

For a long time, I stayed at about a 10 minute per mile pace because it was comfortable and I didn't really (a) want to push myself and (b) think I could go much faster. However, I decided to try speed training (intervals) after a friend told me how hard but rewarding it was, and by doing that I realized that I was selling myself short. I was a lot faster than I gave myself credit for.

Sometimes you need a buddy. 

I am usually a solo runner. However, sometimes I run with my Dad or my friend K, and it's fun. The time goes by a lot faster, you talk the entire time and it puts the fun back in running. It makes it more of a social session with exercise, instead of a chore.

My running buddies

A bad pair of undies can be your worst enemy. 

I think this is self explanatory. However, as I have mentioned before, some people chose to go without. I am not one of them, but I do believe in the benefits of a good snug pair of undies (but not TOO snug!).

Always carry water. 

I have done the bad thing and assumed that there would be drinking fountains on the trail, or that I was "only going a few miles" so I wouldn't need a drink or that it was not as hot as it really was. Let me tell you, I believe that it is well worth it to carry water, even if you don't end up using it.

It's okay to take a rest day. 

Okay, maybe I am lying about this one, as I still have a hard time taking a day off. I do know though that I feel better, am less sore and am more ready to go the next time when I have a day of rest. It's just hard ON that day to get over the fact that I am "sitting around".

Do you call them undies, underwear, panties, knickers (or...)? What have you learned about running? Do you exercise with a buddy or solo?


  1. good list! agree with all...especially the undies. Today I am resting...and not feeling guity about it!

  2. I call them undies...and yes they can make or break a run!! The first two points just yelled at me!! I started using the Jeff Galloway method when I found out I was pregnant. It took so long though to get over the walking guilt! The second was so me the last two years. I had held myself back for one reason or another. Once I let myself run fast....it was so freeing!

  3. I call them underwear. :)

    I have learned many of the same lessons. I think the biggest lesson I've learned from joining running club is to mix it up and do something besides just banking miles! You need intervals and hills and speed work, etc, if you want to really improve upon your times. I've learned that I need to drink a sports drink, like gatorade, if I am running for longer than an hour. I've learned that fruit-based gu's make me sick but the chocolate ones are great (for me).

    And as you know, I run with a group. But I usually do one run by myself each week as well.

  4. Commando all the way!

    I have been running for 15 years now and you know what? I am still learning. It's a constant process.

  5. Love it! No commando here either. Great undies are key!

  6. Yep, the more you do it the more you learn what you like and what works for you. I don't do anything without water. When I first started I would strap on a full camelbak for an easy 3 miler in the hood. insane.

  7. The walking thing is key for me. It's one thing if all you plan on doing is 3 miles and no more. It's another thing if you plan to train for distance. Also, the funniest thing ever to me now is when I see someone JOGGING IN PLACE at street lights. I just want to gently tell them that it's ok to take a break while waiting for the light to turn green.

  8. Commando all the way when running, I figure this is why the briefs are built in to the shorts! What a great list, I think people often think they can't walk once they start running and it is good to remember that it is okay!

  9. I still struggle with that "it's okay to walk" one, and make myself push through. But I'm much better about taking my rest days than I used to be. And still learning!

  10. I'm a recent convert to the commando side...that's something I never dreamed I would do. I definitely learned that walking is OK - it doesn't have to mean the end of a run!

  11. I call them underwear! I still need some of those shorts with the built in underwear. I know what you mean about the bad undies, that is the worst when you're running with a wedgie or just feel uncomfortable! Ugh!

    I've learned a lot, mostly through bloggers! I've learned about fueling your body properly, I've learned that (for me) even a little bit of alcohol will hurt my run the next day, I've learned that running loops instead of out and backs works best for me... there's so many tiny details that are unique to each runner! It's been a great learning experience.

  12. Great post... good advice for all of us, not just new runners. Sometimes we have to relearn things a few times... I sure do!

  13. I still struggle with the no walking. I find myself very critical of myself when I walk during a race.

    No commando here either.

    Great list.

  14. I love this! Totally had the same experience with speed. I have been running for over 9 years now and just this year I have been experimenting with speed and I found out, I am fast (sometimes):) Speed work is key. I say undies for myself but underwear for my boys:) Love running with a buddy but hard to find sometimes. Texted a couple slower buddies this morning and no go. I will run with my son biking alongside me. Have a great day!

  15. When I was running before, it was hard to let myself walk for the same reason. But then I realized how much farther I could run when I allowed myself little walking breaks.

  16. Ah... all lessons every runner learns!

    PS - I call them undies (and do not wear them when running -- I am a firm believer that's what shorts liners are for!)

  17. This is a great list! I call them undies most of the time. I'm a solo runner too usually. I think you pretty much covered everything I've learned from running. The only thing I would add is that you can run a much longer distance than you think if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.


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