While walking in my neighborhood today, I saw a beginning runner. How could I tell he was a beginning runner? Because he made three mistakes that are common with beginning runners. I would have told him, but it’s been my experience that unsolicited advice is not appreciated.
What were these glaring mistakes that were so obvious a casual observer like me noticed them?
1. He ran in cross-trainers. Cross-trainers are great for a variety of athletic pursuits – wear them to the gym or for your P90X workout. Just don’t wear them for running. For running, you need running shoes. Even if your mechanics are so naturally perfect that you can wear cross-trainers without getting a nasty case of shin splints or runner’s knee, you will be amazed at how much better your running is with a pair of properly-fit running shoes. Spend the money for running shoes and save your cross-trainers for something else.
2. Don’t run as fast as you can. You aren’t Usain Bolt. Neither am I. We aren’t running for an Olympic gold medal. So dial it back and run slower. If you run slower, you can run farther. After you get a decent running base, the speed will take care of itself, and you’ll find your pace.
3. Don’t run during the hottest part of the day and then, if you do that, don’t leave your water at home. There is no point in running in hotter temperatures than necessary. My memory might be faulty, but I think even Rocky ran in the morning. If you can’t run in the morning, run in the evening. If you can’t do either, run on a treadmill in the air conditioning when it’s hot outside. And when it’s warm out, carry water with you. Again, you aren’t Usain Bolt and a little bottle of water isn’t going to slow you down – it’s going to come in handy when you get thirsty. Which will happen.
One comment I hear from non-runners is that runners all look miserable (so why would anyone want to attempt a sport that makes people so miserable?).
Maybe they’re watching the final miles of a marathon, or maybe they’re watching a beginning runner who’s making rookie mistakes that make running not fun. Because my experience is just the opposite. I see runners smiling and chatting with their running partners. I see runners finishing runs with shining, happy faces. Whenever I see a runner and I’m not running (or driving home from a run), I’m actually a little jealous.