From my lovely cousin Justin who runs an ‘easy’ ten miles every morning, just finished a 30 mile race for charity, is a cross country coach, a kickass lawyer in Boston, and is doing the zombie run.
Get a running app. Every smart phone has at least one available for free. Guessing your pace is isn’t going to cut it if you’re counting calories or training for a marathon.
If you’re running marathon length races, a break during the first mile or two is the most important.
Pace yourself. It doesn’t matter if there are 50 people ahead of you or 50 people behind you. Don’t judge yourself by their standards. You have your own pace and it works for you.
Pay attention to your breath. Inhale left foot, exhale left foot.
Fuck yogic breathing. It doesn’t apply here. In and out through your mouth.
No matter how much you think you sound like Vader, you breathing aren’t nearly as loud as you think you are. Don’t hold back. If you don’t get enough oxygen, your muscles fail.
Don’t slam your feet on the pavement. Keep it as light as possible. If you’re on a treadmill, the entire gym shouldn’t be able to hear it.
If you can’t figure out if you’re a mid-foot striker, heel striker or toe striker, it doesn’t really matter. Unless your legs are killing you, just keep going. If you focus too much on your legs, you’re probably going to eat it.
Run against the traffic.
Only put a headphone in one ear, you want to hear a car before it makes you roadkill.
Ladies, loop your headphones through your sports bra. Fellas, run it under your shirt. If you’re going shirtless, hook the extra cord up in the armband so it doesn’t bounce around and hit you in the face.
Make a playlist before you go. Don’t rely on shuffle. Get a good selection of high bpm songs, or something that will make you angry/excited. You don’t want to pause and let your heart rate/stride falter while you try to skip all your Death Cab for Cutie songs.
Take rest days.
Mind over matter. Your legs don’t really hurt that badly. Yes, you can breathe. Keep going.
But listen to your body. If you legs are honestly giving out, head home.
Hydrate but don’t water log.
If your endurance is terrible, work it up with stationary bikes or cardio classes. Get your aerobic ability and actual fitness level up.
Stretch your calves with toe raises. Rock back on your heels and bring your toes up a few times before you run to reduce shin splints.
Strength train. You’ll get less shin splints as you build up the muscles in your legs.
Find good sneakers and pay good money for them. You can get all your other gear for cheap, but go name brand and take time to find a shoe that works for you. Some podiatrists will even fit you for what type of shoe you should wear.
Stick reflective tape to your heels if you run at night and bring a flashlight so you don’t turn an ankle.
Pay attention. Be alert. Don’t get hit by the train that runs through traffic near the Fens. Run as if no one sees you. Make it your responsibility to keep yourself safe.