The Runner’s Guide For The Non-Runner Part Deux

After I published my post yesterday I thought of a bazillion other tips so I thought I should make it easy on everyone – namely me and my daily blogging quest, and do a second post about running.  The first thing I want to point out is that if you read my post yesterday and were thinking “Amy, that is common sense.  I’m not a moron.”  I consider myself to be of above average intelligence and those were all mistakes I made.  So stuff your common sense in a sack!  (Name that reference for a cool prize*.)

  • I have asthma and while I rarely have any problems with it anymore, I usually take a couple of hits off an inhaler before I run.  The only time it really poses a problem is if I have a cold.  My lungs kind of hate me when I try to run when they are filled with phlegm and mucous.  But again, start slow and don’t take off like you’re running the 100 meter dash with Carl Lewis and you will fair much better if you also have this affliction.
He doesn’t even touch the ground!  He’s 50 years old now, but he would undoubtedly still kick the ass of everyone I know.
  • Be careful when running with music.  You may think you want that energetic song that keeps you going, but you may tend to run with the beat.  And by you, I mean me.  There is a website, jog.fm, that will lists songs and their beat per minute so you can find the best music to listen to if you want to run a specifically timed mile, ie 9 minute mile.  I have mixed feelings about music and running.  If I am running on a treadmill, I find music to be absolutely necessary.  However, outside, there is enough going on where I don’t feel like I need the distraction.  I did take my phone with me a couple of weeks ago and it has some music that was downloaded from my laptop.  I have a lot of random songs on my laptop for different reasons – some songs I just like, others I download to listen to while on the treadmill and others I have downloaded and added to videos that I have made.  I was absolutely thrilled, however, when the theme from Chariots of Fire started playing.  I wanted to pretend like I was running in slow motion and throw my arms up in the air at the end, but I refrained.
  • Vaseline is your friend.  Lube yourself up wherever rubbing occurs.  I bought some new shoes a couple of weeks ago and they are rubbing on my big toes.  I have two blisters that just won’t go away, but with the magic of Vaseline, I am still able to run without putting Band-aids on my feet.
  • Say “Hi” to your fellow runners.  You know how motorcycle riders always do that low wave to each other when they pass on the freeway?  I think it’s absolutely crucial that you give your comrades on the street a nod.  Actually, I like to say “Good morning!”  The reason I feel it’s so important is because when I have offered out the greeting as a way to say “Hey, look at us!  We’re both running!” and the person hasn’t responded, it makes me feel like they think they are better than me and my slow pace and obvious fatigue doesn’t warrant an invitation into their club.  When I get an equally enthusiastic greeting, it brightens my spirits and for the next few feet, I have a smile on my face.  Try to stop running when you are smiling.  It’s impossible.  It’s like trying not to blink when you sneeze.  Or not opening your mouth when you put mascara on.  Or not thinking collaborate and listen when someone yells, “STOP!”
  • When you get to the point where you don’t think you can go any further, run to the next corner, or the next tree or the next light pole.  Pick something and push yourself just that little bit.  Eventually, those extra steps will turn into yards and eventually, you’ll decide to run an extra mile.
  • If you ever need a little motivation to run, I find watching a race always gets me in the mood.  I have absolutely no desire to run a marathon, but watching people run one makes me want to get out there and go for a jog.

OK, I think that’s all I have.  Tomorrow is my running day so if I come up with any more tips, I’ll be sure to pass them on.

*There really isn’t a prize, but if someone guesses correctly and takes the time to comment, I just may come up with something.

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The Runner’s Guide For The Non-Runner

Wait…huh?  It’s true.  There are runners and there are non-runners.  I think of myself as a non-runner.  And by that I mean I do run, but I don’t have that nice, easy stride, I have to constantly remind myself to relax my shoulders and arms, and until recently, I was always gasping for air.  You could probably hear me breathing before you could see me.  I could barely blurt out a one word answer if someone asked me a question in the middle of my run.  This is what I mean: 

The last couple of months, I learned how to run, but I don’t feel like I look like a runner yet.  I see those people and they just are gliding along with little to no effort.  I’m still a little like the picture above, but I can get out an actual sentence now and my body is a bit more relaxed. 

For all those people who claim they can’t run, I’m here to tell you that you can.  I don’t think I need a disclaimer here, but I’m not a doctor or trainer, these are just my opinions and things that have taken me 35 years to figure out.  I’m not going to BS anyone here, these are real problems I had and my solutions.  I’m guessing I’m not the only one and if I am, then you might find the following kind of funny and or disturbing.

  • First things first – get some gear.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money, but get something comfortable to run in.  I always wanted to run in shorts, but due to the size of my thighs, my shorts would creep up and I was constantly pulling my shorts out of my crotch.  Solution:  Biking shorts or compression shorts.  I also got some Under Armor shorts that my friend, Heather recommended and for whatever reason, they don’t ride up.  If you are worried about what you look like in tight shorts – get over it.  No one is looking at you.  Here is what I look like…Yeah, Baby, Yeah!  I normally can’t stand anything pulled up this high, but I think I would actually like running in Spanx because things don’t move around as much.  These are Danskin – I got them at Walmart.  I hate spending money on clothes that I’m going to sweat in.
Rory insisted on being in the picture.
  • Start slooooooooow.  If you have never run before, don’t expect to go out and run like you did when you were a kid.  I always thought I had to go as fast as I could right out of the gate.  I would run for about 10 minutes, get exhausted and thus end my workout.  Once I started slowing down and not worrying about how fast I was running, I was running 30 minutes without a problem and actually deciding to go further than I originally intended.  My once 10 minute limit is now a much easier 30 to 45 minute run.  That means a lot more calories burned.
  • It doesn’t matter how much you weigh.  I used to run when I weighed 165lbs and now I weigh 145lbs.  I do notice that it’s easier to run now, but when I was running with an extra 20lbs, I don’t recall it being that much harder. 
  • Learn to recover while you are running.  I used to just stop and walk when I got tired.  That would totally throw me off.  I would feel like I failed and didn’t even see the point of starting up again.  If I did start running again, it was hard to find a good pace and the next thing I knew, I was back to walking – feeling even more defeated.  Now, when I’m running down any kind of hill, I recover.  I slow down, catch my breath and get back to a level where I can keep on going.
  • Run by yourself or find a running partner who won’t push or compete with you.  This is hard.  Ryan and I ran a race together 7 years ago.  We haven’t run one together since.  Ryan liked to encourage me, but his encouragement sounded insulting to me.  I know he didn’t mean it that way, but when I’m huffing and puffing and just trying to take my next step, I don’t want or need someone telling me “Keep going!”  Ryan is 6 feet tall.  I’m 5’5″ on a good day.  Somebody is going to have a longer stride and it isn’t me.  You don’t have to run as fast or as long as someone else.  Work at your own pace.  The last thing you want to do is get discouraged the first time you run.  The great thing about running is that you can always compete against yourself.  You can try and run faster or longer than you did the time before.  You could argue that it’s not bad to have someone push you, but if you are going faster or harder than you are ready for, you risk getting hurt and then you are done running.
  • Don’t avoid hills.  Oh hills. Those mother f’ing hills.  I am surrounded by hills.  Unless I decide I’m going to run around the block 15 times, I can’t avoid running up a hill.  I used to think I had to maintain my pace up the hill.  DUH!  Now I understand I can slow down, take shorter steps, pump my arms and make it up the hill without dying.  Not feeling limited where you can run is nice.  I used to actually get nervous before I would start my run if I knew I was going up certain hills.
  • Accept that not every run is going to be a good run.  Some days you just feel off and even a mile seems endless.  Other days, you feel AWESOME.  On those days, take advantage of that feeling and just keep going!  I don’t have those awesome days very often, but regardless of how my run was, when I get done, that runner’s high kicks in and all is right with the world.

I know I’m forgetting more of my tips and tricks that have made me close to calling myself a runner.  Maybe in a couple of months I’ll be effortlessly running and someone will be admiring my stride from afar and saying “I wish I could run like that.”