I’ve been at this running lark for a couple of months now and I’m starting to learn a few things about it.
Here is what I have learnt so far –
Run on the left – this isn’t actually a rule I know but it would really please me if it was. No more playing chicken in the middle of the path and having to break your hard won stride. Much like roads and escalators – you travel on the left hand side if you are moving.
Acknowledging other runners and cyclists – now this is a bit contested I think but I’m all for saying hello to people. In fact a little while ago I was running round the lake and crossed paths with a chap coming in the other direction three times – on the forth time we exchanged a high five and it was brilliant. Made me smile all the way round for the 5th go. Even if its just a nod and a smile you should acknowledge the people around you, that little smile you give might give them a bit of an extra push to keep going.
Overtaking – don’t do it unless you are 100% certain you are going to sustain the pace to stay in front of them. You’ll only end up in a game of slowing down and speeding up if you keep overtaking each other.
Don’t judge – you don’t know anything about the people around you running. This might be their first time out or they may have been running for years. They might not know where they are going and have strayed onto your regular route. Don’t judge their shoes, their clothes, their pace or the kit they use. We can see when people do it to us and it doesn’t feel nice. Stop it.
Running in the rain is fun – you don’t overheat, you get to splash in puddles like a toddler and you’ll get smiles from anyone else you come across who is also crazy enough to be out in the rain. It’s lovely.
Light up – the nights are drawing in earlier now and early morning runs are just as difficult. You need to have lights and they are so accessible and cheap now there isn’t any excuse not to. They’ll keep you safe from vehicles, cyclists and other runners by helping them to see you are there – don’t rely entirely on reflective gear and make sure you combine it with some lights.
Ignore the idiots – I’m a round person going for a run so it’s sadly expected I’ll get some comments from people who are under the sad disillusion they are funny. It’s not nice, it will make you feel crap for a few seconds before you realise you’ve run past them and they are already in the past. Do not feed the trolls. You are out and you are running which already makes you a winner and one step closer to your goals than you were sat on the sofa.
Track your progress – There are so many apps now that do this but I’d recommend MapMyRun to track your progress. It’s really rewarding to see how far you’ve come in the way of distance and pace and will give you an extra boost on days when you are finding it tough to get out.
You are brilliant – no matter if this is your first run or your 100th ultra marathon you are brilliant. You’ve put your shoes on, set off and gone out to put some miles under your feet. For that alone you are marvellous and you shouldn’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.