I’ve decided to write out a sort of “rules of the road” thing for beginner runners, so all you newbies can avoid making the same mistakes that I have made and learned from. Here goes:
1. Always, ALWAYS stretch. Do not embark on your run until you feel sufficiently stretched. You will know when you have reached that point. Trust me, you can tell the minute you are completely loose and limber. Wow. Did I really just say that?
2. Don’t hold it until after your run. I have this weird little mentality where I try to get out on my run as fast as I can. More than once, I have rushed out the door without using the bathroom first. Usually it’s fine. But if you think you can hold it until you get back, you are wrong. When you run, everything’s jiggling around inside and it really only makes things worse. So, GO before you go.
3. Don’t assume that cars will stop for you. Even though technically they are supposed to. You cannot assume that they are looking through their windshield at you and not down at their phone in their lap. Just, be careful.
4. Always plan out your route ahead of time or at least a couple minutes in advance. This makes things so much easier so that when you get up to the fork in the road, you already know which way you are turning. Also, if you keep changing your mind and switching directions, you can get really mixed up and lose track of where you are. For more advanced runners, this is a lot easier because there’s only so many routes you can take from your house.
5. Memorize the mileage from all possible routes leading away from your starting point. For me, the “starting point” is my house. I can tell you exactly how far away we are from our house up to a 2 1/2 mile point in any direction. That is very convenient for planning out a route in your head while you are running.
6. Pick music with a fast beat. It sounds stupid but listening to music with a faster beat actually DOES help you run faster. When you’re tuned into your music, your feet get into the groove. If you’re listening to slow music, you will most likely run slower.
7. Stick to main roads if you aren’t sure how far you are going to be able to go. This is probably the best trick I have up my sleeve and here’s why: You run on the main road. You run however far out and then turn around and run back. But if you’re having a really good run, then you can branch off onto a little road, run for a block on the street parallel to the main road and then run back up to the main road. It adds easy distance and if you can figure it right you can add on miles to a normally short run. Magical.
8. Do NOT run right after eating. Unless you are looking for a laxative (see #2). Also, if not the first it will lead to painful cramps.
That’s all for now, folks!