I swore I'd never be a runner. I've long walked for exercise, but whenever I tried to take the leap to running, it always hurt way too much. Several years ago, I officially put it in the "never" column and moved on.
But, the alignment of the stars must have shifted or something because I've been running since mid-September and I have no intention of stopping. It doesn't hurt. Actually, it feels pretty amazing.
What was I doing wrong all those years when I tried running? I have no idea. But, it's clicking for me now.
Here are a few tidbits I've learned since first lacing up my sneakers almost three months ago:
1. If you're envious of Facebook updates with mileage counts and phrases like "felt great today" and "awesome run!" then you need to put some miles on your own sneakers.
2. There is no substitute for a good sport's bra.
3. Good music can make the difference between making it up that hill or not.
4. When faced with a long, steep hill, the best thing to do is look down and focus on the music. No matter what, do not look ahead to the end of the hill.
5. Running by yourself is much easier than running while pushing a 45-pound boy in a jogging stroller. First, the extra weight makes the hills super hard. Second, you can't listen to music to distract yourself from the above mentioned hills because he wants to chit chat. (Don't get me wrong, I love his chatter and we've had some pretty cute conversations while jogging in the last few months. But, I think I prefer to commune with nature and Train while running.)
6. Running while pushing a 45-pound boy in a jogging stroller is better than not running at all.
7. It's easiest to schedule runs for the days that said 45-pound boy is in preschool.
8. Under no circumstances are you to forget to put a band-aid on your blister.
9. You really need to remember to Google "blisters" to find out what the real runners do to help.
10. Take your mom's advice and wear a brightly colored jacket. It'll make her feel better and you'll be more visible than you are in your grey sweatshirt.
11. Make sure your iPod has enough of a charge to make it through your run.
12. Just because you made it through your whole long route (3.4 miles), including that nasty hill at the end, doesn't mean you should try to do it again the next day.
13. Sometimes, it's easier to choose the hill you know over the one you don't. It doesn't mean it's the right choice, but it's the easy one.
14. Don't drink too much water before you run. You want to be hydrated, but you don't want to be wondering if it's okay to break into your friend's house and use her bathroom while she's out.
15. Have one day a week where you push yourself a little bit further than all the other days.
16. No matter how eager you are to run every day, don't forget rest days. They're important to your well being and will help prevent injury.
17. Running is surprisingly social. I'm not exactly sure how it works out that way, especially since you typically run by yourself, but as soon as others know you're running, it's the ultimate ice breaker. It's led to many conversations with people about local routes, mileage and tips. Runners seem to have a real excitement when someone else joins their ranks.
18. It's damn hilly around here.
19. Follow the rules of the road. Pedestrians belong on the left-hand side, facing traffic. I've always known this, but the point was driven home when I was driving home from dropping my son off at school the other day. A teenage girl was running down the yellow line! Thankfully, I saw her in time, but she scared me half to death.
20. You won't regret going for a run, but you might regret not going for a run.
Thanks to the Marathon Runner website for all the tips and advice. I'm no where near ready to train for a half marathon yet, but maybe in 2013.
Are you a runner?