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Running advice I wish I’d gotten

(And some that I did get)

I’m not winning any races, but I’ve been running 20-25 miles a week for a year now and I’ve read a lot. Here’s the stuff I wish I knew a year ago:

  1. If you’re winded (and you’re a beginner) then you’re running too fast. Read this.
  2. Most runs should be at conversational pace: easy enough that you could carry on a conversation, but not so easy that you could sing a song.
  3. Chew gum on every run to keep your mouth from drying out.
  4. If you run loops, look for a secret hiding spot for water or clothes. Each time you pass it, that’s an opportunity to gulp some water or drop off a jacket if you’re getting hot, etc.
  5. Use actual freaking running shoes, you idiot.
  6. Run during a storm. You’ll feel like a viking warrior.
  7. If you think you hate running in the rain, maybe you don’t have the right clothes (especially socks). Cotton is bad.
  8. Petroleum jelly is great for preventing chafing.
  9. Runner’s high is legit, and it is fantastic.
  10. Follow an actual training plan, you idiot. If you make one up, you’ll either do too much or too little.
  11. You probably don’t need gels or “fuel” if you’re running less than 2 hours.
  12. Buy bluetooth headphones and listen to podcasts for the easy runs and music for the hard ones.
  13. If things hurt, and it doesn’t feel like regular old boring muscle soreness, try strengthening your leg muscles or not ramping up so quickly. A few weeks of weighted squats fixed my persistent knee pain.
  14. Follow the 10% rule – only run 10% more than you did the previous week.
  15. Dress like it’s 20 degrees hotter than it is, because that’s what it’ll feel like once you get warmed up.
  16. But wear gloves if it’s cold outside, you idiot.
  17. Signing up for a race is a great way to stay motivated.
  18. Your running form is probably fine. Don’t overthink things like stride length or cadence or heel vs. toe strike, at least not when you’re a beginner.
  19. Running sucks at first. You feel like you’re trudging along, and you want it to be over. Keep at it for a few months. It gets more fun as you build up some speed.

Also, most importantly, my neighborhood loop kinda looks like an elephant: