I know this isn’t a running blog, but running is a big part of my life, so I just had to share this with my running peeps.
I’ve been running over half my life. I’m 36 now, and I started “jogging” when I was 18. During that time, running has taught me many wonderful, beautiful and painful lessons. All of which I would like to share with you. I am sure some of these apply to you hikers, swimmers, and cyclists as well.
- You don’t need to spend a fortune on makeup.
How true this is! The more I run, the more I realize that my skin appears smoother and more supple. It looks healthy and radiant too. As long as I use sunscreen and drink water, the tone of my skin will stay brighter with fewer age spots.
- Hair color is not important.
Since I’m still in my 30s, coloring my hair is not a necessity. It’s just for fun and staying trendy. Who needs to be trendy when you’re washing your hair twice a day, getting really sweaty, and swimming twice a week? With all that “abuse,” the color is just going to wash out and look tinny anyway.
- Vitamins, especially iron, are crucial for recovery.
I never realized that iron carries oxygen to the muscles. I thought it just kept your red blood cells healthy. Now that I know that iron provides as much oxygen to the blood and muscles as water does, I try to get my dose everyday. I also take vitamin B complex, so that they absorb together. Hence: fewer weak spells and better recovery!
- The size of your waist does not define you; and neither do your split times, your finishing times, or your minutes per mile.
This is good news to me, because it’s been a really long time since I’ve run sub-9 miles consistently. I might have one mile split below 9:00 minutes, but they go up to 10 and 11 minutes after that.
I’m also very happy that no one cares whether I have a size 32″ waist or a 36″. Also, it is very good news that they are happy with my finishing times, and don’t care whether I’m fast or slow.
- You don’t have to race to be called a runner. But you’ll have fun doing it
I had many misgivings about racing, and that’s why I am starting now, as opposed to when I was in my prime. now that I have started racing, I have had more fun and I look forward to each run and race with excitement and a spring in my step. It’s also nice to be able to answer people with “yep, I’ve got a race (or two) coming up”
- You don’t need to have the latest gear.
Thank goodness for this one!!!! Sure, I have Nike+, a SmartPhone, an armband, and good running shoes, but I don’t have the latest and greatest. I don’t think I want that right now since I’m only making enough money to support my little races and I’m not an elite, so why spend like one?
- Runners support each other. A lot.
And that is what is so killer about Facebook, Twitter, Dailymile, Nike+, and other social networks where runners hang. I have the best support system around me and it makes me so happy to get likes, comments, cheers, motivation, pokes, and more from runners (and non-runners!) alike. You guys rock!!
- Sleep is crucial to not only performance, but recovery.
The older I get, the truer this becomes for me. I used to be able to run twice a day, drink coffee at any hour, run late at night, and sleep till 11 AM. Well, OK I guess since I’m a SAHW (stay at home wife–no kids) I can sleep till noon if I want. But the former things, like drinking coffee whenever and losing sleep is not an option, especially near race day or after a big workout (or before). I not only need 8 hours (or more) it is crucial for my recovery for my musculoskeletal system, my nervous system, and more.
- Not everyone is going to support you.
Sure, I have supportive non-runner friends. But some people don’t understand running and/or racing, so they are not going to think spending money on a race is such a good idea. You runners know what I’m talking about!! “You do this for fun??” and other questions will get asked very frequently, especially if you post about a race on Facebook and you have a lot of non-runner friends on there. But don’t take it personally. You’re outpacing everyone on the couch!!
- You will have to change your diet slightly, but in the end, you will be glad you did.
Fewer carbs, more protein, energy drinks, energy gels, and bagels will grace your table on a daily basis; especially before and after a race. Your shopping cart every week will look something like this:
Energy bars (Balance, Clif, etc)
Lean meats, fish
Whole grain cereal, bread, etc
Smart Balance buttery spread (at least in my house)
Peanut butter (and lots of it)
Skim (or soy or almond) milk (and lots of it)
Leafy greens (and lots of them) and other veggies
And not only that, but people in line in the supermarket will look at your cart, then look at theirs (which is full of ice cream, pop, cookies, candy, beer, and dead foods) that they will look ashamed at themselves. Smile and feel proud!
- Fan pages for runners will become your new best friend
Need to find out information about an upcoming race? Want to read a triathlon magazine online for free? Subscribe to their page and you’re golden! You’ll also meet some new peeps and you can support each other. Woot!
- Rest days are a gift to your legs.
It’s not illegal to take a rest day; in fact it’s essential! But it is normal to feel guilty or have withdrawals when you take a rest day. Or two. Or five.
- Cross training is essential to recovery. And it’s fun!
If you’re injured and bored out of your skin because you miss running, then go for a swim! Or a walk! Or do a nice, easy ride on the bike. You’ll get a workout in, but you will also get a good workout in for a future tri! Who knew?
Your body will get mad at you if you don’t. Aka you’ll become more injured.
- You’re beautiful, and running helps the real you shine through.
Oh how wonderful this is!
- Running is your best friend when the rest of the world turns it’s back.
This is good news on so many levels!
OMG yes! I am just one run away from a good mood!
Thanks for reading everybody, and feel free to add your thoughts!