Are you getting sick of year-end posts yet? No? Me neither.

I’ve only been running for two years now, so I know I still have A LOT to learn about this sport and my abilities, especially as I look to train for and finish my first marathon in 2012. That being said, I did learn some things this past year

F'N Runners
F’N Runners plus our mascot, Kelly‘s dog Pepper.

Running is better with friends. 

I know I’ve written about this multiple times, but it is so true. Not only is it more motivating (it gets me out there when it’s cold and/or dark), but it pushes me to run faster, and it’s nice to have people to talk about running with because my husband is getting tired of listening to me ramble on about it. (Also why I have this blog.) And he’s getting tired of me trying to force him to run races every month (or more). So it’s nice to have other friends to race with and spare him from being dragged to races and me from racing alone.

You need support. This time I’m not talking about friends.

I knew my cheap, flimsy Target sports bras weren’t cutting it based on feel alone, but I wore them anyway. But as soon as I saw this race picture, I realized it wasn’t just the feel that was bad. Now I am all about Moving Comfort sports bras (the Juno is my favorite, but their site has different recommendations based on size).

Run by effort, not pace. 

When I got my Garmin, I started running with the heart rate strap, but I quickly realized I had no idea what heart rates I should aim for. I did some “research” (read a Runner’s World article that I can’t find online anymore) and put together a spreadsheet with some formulas, and now I try to target certain heartrates when I run, and ignore my pace as much as possible. It’s a better indicator of how fast I should be running, and it also prevents any race-regret – if I run based on my target heartrate, then I ran the best race I could that day. I don’t second-guess if I could have run a faster race. However, I realize reading one article doesn’t exactly make me an expert and perhaps I should do more research if I’m trying to base the majority of my running around following my heart rate.

What did you learn this year? I also learned a better way to tie my shoes. In case you’re interested, I make loops like this and then tie the bow like this.