Friday, November 12, 2010

The Evolution of Your Running Career

If you're just starting out as a runner, brace yourself for lots of soul searching and obstacles of various types and sizes. Like anything worthwhile, it ain't gonna be easy. So what do you have to look forward to? Here's a sample.

1. You will encounter quizzical feedback from friends, family, and colleagues. Some of these people will think you're straight out nuts. Others will be genuinely alarmed that you will keel over and die. You will learn to deal with all of them. Be patient with the people who mean well; they can often be educated. Deal with the others according to your personal preference. I like to employ sarcasm and belittlement where it's deserved. Most of the time, though, I just set an example. You will be amazed - truly - at how you affect the wellbeing of those around you.

2. You will build a support network of other like minded athletes (you are an athlete, go ahead and use the title). They will come from everywhere. Sol get involved, run races, do activities at your local running store, join a gym. These people come from all walks of life, are all shapes and sizes, and are incredibly supportive.

3. You will hurt a lot. Soreness becomes a common feeling. You learn to read your body's signals; some pain requires immediate action, and some pain doesn't. Your body is relatively important considering that it's all you've got, so this running process ultimately makes that body - and the mind housed in it - stronger, more resilient, longer lasting, better. It's a process of learning that will last the rest of your life, so get involved in it.

4. You will take stock occasionally and be surprised to see how much further you can run, how much faster you run. People who are newer to running will ask you questions of all kinds and you will have answers. You will know what kind of shoes are best for you, what running clothes you prefer, so many things.

5. So now you're afraid that there will come a time when you won't be challenged anymore, like you'll know everything and have achieved everything, right? Not even close. You will continue to find out new things. You will be shocked at your progress and development. You will encounter entirely new vistas and challenges that totally inspire you.

6. Nutrition becomes a fascinating new world of possibility. You can get away with a lot, but you are inclined to eat things that help you with your running, that aid you in increased energy and recovery. Runners are obsessed with food issues.

I've run 14 marathons and I learn tons of new things all the time. I learn from reading what other runners write. I learn from experience. I learn from advice of fellow runners. And that's an extremely important thing to remember; do not ever hesitate to ask another runner's opinion or advice. Runners are very generous with giving advice and generous with giving praise. You couldn't possibly be in better company. So have a great run!

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