More Running Lessons Learned

I’ve mentioned before that I’m currently training for the First Midwest [Bank] Half Marathon on May 5, which was my first half marathon three years ago. My goal for this year’s race is to beat my finish time from 2010 by at least an hour, so, 1:48 or faster. I feel like this race will be a good indicator of how much I’ve improved as a runner since then. I feel like I have improved a LOT, so I’d like my time to be a lot better 🙂

During my training runs, I’ve been reflecting on my running now versus then. I have learned a lot. Such as:

Foam rolling is important. My next “big” race after that half was the Hot Chocolate 15K, which didn’t go as planned due to a tight IT band resulting in sharp pain in the side of my knee. I didn’t know what a foam roller was back then, but I sure know what it is now, in fact, I own this little guy and use it regularly, along with The Stick.

rolling
old picture. but I still love Olive supervising.

Fueling is important. I didn’t know much about fueling three years ago. I kid you not, my long runs went like this:

  • Eat a normal breakfast (bacon & eggs? why not?), wait a couple hours. Drink some water. 
  • Go for a run. Don’t bring water or any food/fuel with me. (What’s GU?) Even when my runs got up to the double digits.
  • Keep water in the car for when I’m done with my run.
  • Stop at McDonald’s on the way home, pick up a 5-piece Chicken Selects and a Powerade to “refuel.”

Yeah. Now? I just posted about that.

different kind of fueling
different kind of fueling

Don’t be scared of running clubs. I spent a lot of time looking up local running clubs and group runs. And telling myself I should check them out. But chickening out – I didn’t know anyone there, so that’s a bit awkward, and what if I was the slowest? Finally, I checked them out, and have made some great friends! And so far, I haven’t been the slowest, in fact, running with others has helped me to speed up. Plus I always have someone else to run a race with, in fact, I usually have many someones.

Are you in search of a club? If you’re south of Chicago, check RunChicagoSouth.com [one of my many other blogs]. If you’re in the Chicago area, check CARA for clubs and fun runs. Otherwise, everyone can check Running in the USA, Road Runners Club of America or Cool Running, or check with your local running store. 

Screen shot 2012-12-20 at 10.19.52 PM
my club’s Christmas party

Track the mileage on your shoes. I did get the memo that I needed to be fitted for proper running shoes, which I did, but if I ever had a run with fatigued legs or shin splints, I assumed I needed new shoes, and I would retire that pair. (What I really needed was a proper training plan, strength training, and some compression socks.) I’m sure I retired a few pairs after only a hundred or so miles. Big waste of money. Now I track the mileage on all of my shoes, and rotate multiple pairs. Right now I’m rotating seven pairs (purchased over the past two years), although four of those seven pairs are over 300 miles (one pair is over 500 miles and really should be retired).

Not logging your miles? I sync my Garmin data to accounts on both DailyMile.com and RunningAhead.com. (OCD, much?) Both let you tag each run with a pair of shoes and keep track of that shoe’s mileage for you. Super easy!!

So... Which pair will I wear for my next half marathon? Brooks adrenaline 12 or  Mizuno wave Nirvana 8?
new shoes! brooks adrenaline 12 and mizuno wave nirvana 8

Related posts:

I Did Everything Wrong at My First Half Marathon
Everything I Know About Going Fast
Running Lessons Learned in 2011
Lessons I’ve Learned While Running

What have you learned since you started running? 

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18 Comments on “More Running Lessons Learned”

  1. Was actually thinking about this kind of stuff yesterday and realized that day before my 1st marathon I went out for an easy 7 mile run. Told myself that I was taking it easy. There was no such thing as a taper for me 10 years ago or all that extra stuff. Needless to say I’ve managed to stay injury free ever since I’ve added all the extra thought.

  2. I guess I am doing a lot wrong (i.e. no foam roller, no mileage tracking of shoes, no running club)! Although, I do try and remember to bring some sugar on my long runs. If I forget, hopefully I’ve got some cash for the convenience store! 🙂 I guess I have learned that not every run is a race (take it easy) and to think about how I want to feel beyond a “goal race.” Sometimes killing myself for a goal race screws up a lot of my post-race running season due to a long recovery.

        1. Ha! I’m surprised Garmin hasn’t built it into their dashboard. But I’ve tracked it easy enough through DailyMile and RunningAhead, which use my Garmin data.

  3. It’s kinda fun to look back at how we did things in the past!

    Pretty sure not logging miles contributed to a myriad of injuries in high school for me- with dead shoes. The stick,foam roller, and TP kit (with regular use) have been life savers and for the first time, I’m finally running consistent and injury free- I have those 3 to thank, but I let them sit in my closet for a while unused and consequently was injured a lot. Strength training also helps tremendously!

    I don’t usually run in a group- but find it fun from time to time. Fueling pre morning run is something I have yet to lock down. Doesn’t help that 90% of my runs are after work.

    Lol at Olive supervising. My CBdog also has to supervise me when I’m foam rolling and tries to give me kisses.

  4. I love looking back and seeing where I’ve been; looks like you’ve learned some great lessons here that will translate to an awesome race day. Hope the rest of your training goes well!

  5. Reading this post and your report from your first half was so insightful! All of this is advice that I’ve read/heard from my trainer and various fellow runners, but seeing how an actual race might play out if these things are disregarded is really helpful.

    I started logging my shoe mileage for the opposite reason – I’d probably let my shoes go a lot longer than they should, because they don’t look visibly worn down. I treated myself to new shoes earlier this winter, and I didn’t realize my old ones were so worn out until I went for a few runs with the new ones. And I had been having knee problems before getting new shoes, and those magically disappeared.

    I have the grid roller too, and I LOVE it! And my dogs like to supervise when I’m rolling. Which is to say, they crawl all over me.

  6. This is such a helpful post!

    I’ve definitely learned a lot about fueling/hydrating over the years. Also, how to pace! That was the most important thing for me when I started. It seems silly, but learning to either run without music or run to slow music was key for me. Because I will run to the beat and go to fast if I listen to fast music!

  7. Thank you for saying you could track your shoes on Daily Mile. I HAD NO IDEA!!! It took me a few minutes to figure it out, BUT!! NOw I can officially track rather than guess!!!

  8. Heh, I learned YESTERDAY that I shouldn’t be so cocky about not needing to fuel up during a long run. Big difference between 10 and 12 miles. HUGE.

  9. Great lessons learned! I wish I had been reading running blogs when I first started because these would have all been so useful for me to know when I was getting started. One thing I would add to the list is that more is not always better and that rest days are just as important as training days! I’ve learned very much the hard way that a workout doesn’t have to leave you completely drained and fatigued in order to be effective!

    1. I’m with you – I wish I read running blogs back then too! Although I don’t know if there really were any. Although I did have my best friend (my current coach) more than willing to give me a training plan back then. Should have taken her up on that offer!

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