This year I celebrated my 15 year running-versary! (The anniversary of when I started my journey into the world of running)
So basically, 15 years of countless early morning or late evening runs, heaps of races and a “handful” of injuries. Ok, maybe two handfuls.
Let’s be clear though, I haven’t run 15 years consecutively. There have been periods of non-running along the way – after my daughter was born, when I was pregnant with my son and through some major injuries (plantar fasciitis being the more recent….ugh…) And starting back on the journey after each of these events was so so hard.
As I look back over the the last 15 years, there are things I wouldn’t change at all and then there are things…well, let’s just say I could have done a bit better. I’ve made some bad decisions that resulted in overuse injuries, painful races and wasted effort!
I decided I would share with you some things I wish someone had told me when I first started running – let’s call them Lessons Learned (the hard way)!
Lesson #1: It’s not just about “The Run”
Yes, running in itself is very satisfying and it costs almost nothing at all, however a strong cardiovascular system (lungs and heart) are only part of the equation.
Building core strength and muscular endurance helps prevent injuries and promotes an efficient running stride. Hip and core strengthening are crucial components to cross-training that help you overcome overuse injuries such as IT Band Pain (ouchy!) or Hamstring strains (double ouchy!) and Glute Weakness (poor weak glutes).
Lesson #2: Invest in a good pair of ‘kicks’!
Non-supportive shoes or even over-supportive shoes (too much motion control) could lead to poor running biomechanics and possibly injury. It’s important to invest in a quality running shoe that helps support YOUR feet. Take the time to have a knowledgeable specialist (ahem, chiropractor!) look at your feet, your gait cycle and advise you as to which shoes will help support you while running. Having a great pair of runners can dramatically help your running and you’ll be able to become a more efficient runner.
Lesson #3: Success at running takes time…
A lot of time. Running comes with gradual training and consistency. Injuries happen. Learning to get back on the road the smart way is part of the game.
Dramatic increases in intensity/speed or mileage usually lead to injury. Remember to increase your speed OR your mileage gradually. Be patient. Take the time to achieve moderate increases over a longer period of time which will lead to sustained improvement in your runs.
Don’t get me wrong….running is awesome and with time it becomes second nature and a part of your life. Let’s just say it becomes slightly addictive . But for some, it can be a bit of a love/hate relationship and may come at a price (injuries, blisters, discomfort, etc).
It pays to learn how to run effectively and efficiently.
Take your time and in the meantime, just enjoy the ride…and the endorphins!