When I was on a run recently, I had an idea to jot down some of the things I’ve learned over the years as a runner when I got home. These tips can be applied to many other sports as well besides running. I often have ideas for blog posts when I’m out running- funny how that is, isn’t it?
My top tip would have to be listen to your body. Learn to know the difference between normal soreness and pain that lingers. It’s not uncommon to be sore a day or two after exercising heavily but if the soreness lasts for a week or more or feels more like pain than soreness, you should seek help from a professional. For most injuries, if you catch them early you can treat them and your body can begin to heal much quicker than if you let it linger.
Another tip if you are serious about running your first race, be it a 5k, marathon, or triathlon and you have a specific time goal in mind or if you’re a seasoned athlete and want to go big, say to qualify for Boston Marathon for example, seek the guidance of a coach. Coaches can do anything from give you training plans and advice online to meeting you at a local track in person. A good place to start looking for a coach is to ask at local running or cycling stores or at Road Runners Club of America (if you’re in the United States). Road Runners Club link At the very least, look up training plans online or check out a book on running or triathlons for beginners from your local library.
You should also have appropriate gear before you start out. If you will be running, go to a locally-owned running store and ask to be fitted for running shoes to figure out the best shoes for your body and running style. While not absolutely imperative, it’s a good idea to get some athletic clothes made of synthetic materials that will wick sweat away far better than cotton. If you shop off-season or even shoulder season you can find some great deals. I personally like Kelly’s Running Warehouse, Running Warehouse, and Swim Outlet for great online deals but if you’re new to a sport, it’s always a good idea to try on the attire in person at a local store, plus it’s nice to support local businesses when you can. If you’re buying a new bicycle, you definitely want to find a local cycling store and try out the bike before buying it.
My final piece of advice is don’t give up. Running, cycling, and swimming are all hard if you’re training for something or you’re racing. Don’t believe anyone that tells you it’s easy. Some days are certainly easier than others but if every day you go out for a run/bike ride/swim feels easy, you’re not pushing yourself to your full ability.
Believe me when I say you’re stronger than you think you are. If you train your body properly by gradually increasing your intensity or your distance but not both at the same time, your body will adapt and get stronger. Just tell yourself when you’re out of breath and feel like you can’t go any further, “I CAN do this and I WILL do this!” and I think you’ll be surprised to see that you truly can.