So…I thought I’d start the year off by forgetting everything I’ve ever learned about running and instead doing too much speed work in one week and upping my mileage at the same time, just so I could totally ruin my Sunday long run and have to walk home while my run buddies enjoyed a 20K run by the ocean on a gloriously sunny winter day.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to make a list of the things I’ve learned and maybe post it somewhere where I’ll see it regularly so that I don’t forget. If it helps anybody else, so much the better.
Here it is, in no particular order.
- Keep track of the miles you run in a particular pair of shoes, and buy new ones more often than you’d think. 500K is the limit I’ve been told; less if they’re ASICS. Really, if you start getting little niggles in your feet and/or calves and it’s not because of a lack of strength or mobilization, you probably need new shoes.
- A sports bra should not see its first birthday. If you’re having chafing issues, invest in a new one and make sure it fits tight. You’re welcome.
- Drink little to no coffee before a run. If you don’t know why, well, just try drinking too much. Then you’ll know why.
- Bring food. Most people are not as weird about this as I am, but I won’t leave the house without some food in my pocket. Half the time I don’t even eat it, but I know it’s there if I need it.
- I’ve already written about the 80/20 rule of training, but it’s worth reminding myself: if you want to be fast, go slow 80% of the time. There is not a lot of wiggle room in this. 80% really does mean 80%.
- And that other 20%? Go to track. Work hard. It will pay off.
- You’ll think you can get by without strength training, and maybe you can…for a while. But sooner or later it will catch up to you. Do yourself a favour: start now, and do it regularly. It’s an investment you won’t regret.
- Don’t neglect your feet. Foot strength might sound dumb, but it’s essential and it will save you a lot of grief over time.
- Change only one thing at a time. Whether that’s speed, or mileage, or a different type of workout. One. Thing. At. A. Time.
- And speaking of mileage: a gradual increase per week is the rule. And by gradual I also mean small. How small seems to be up for debate, but I find a 5-10% increase is safe. Anything more is pushing it.
- Listen to your body. If there’s a problem, stop before it gets bad. Don’t pretend it isn’t there when you know it is.
- Schedule in regular down weeks. Yes, you need them.
- Drink more water. Every year I promise myself I’m going to do this and then I don’t.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten things. If anyone has any wisdom to share, please add it in the comments. I’d love to hear about it.
I started the new year doing something dumb (not really a surprise if you know me). I’ve since made a sweeping declaration to my running partner that I will not do anything dumb in running for the rest of the year. Outside of running I cannot make that promise.