I did it! I crossed the finish line of my first race, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I walked only a few times along the way, mostly to catch my breath after a hill, but I still managed to come in under 35 minutes. I was so out of my element running the race that I did not expect to have a good run but I’m really proud of my time and I feel pretty good about how the race went. With my 10k coming up next week, I’m still nervous about completing that but I hope my training this week prepares me enough.
It’s so hard to know how your run will go until you do it. Preparation is definitely key but I’ve learned to expect and accept the bad days along the way. When I was first starting training with the 5K Runner app, I was a total newbie and, like any other newbie, you learn your lessons early on. I’d get so discouraged if I had a bad day and wonder what I had done wrong. I’d curse myself for eating that cookie at lunch 6 hours(!) before my run or not getting enough sleep the night before. While there are definitely factors you should try to control that can negatively effect your workouts, you have to expect the bad days. So now that I’ve done my first race, I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned and other random thoughts.
– Bad days come with the territory. I keep reminding myself that “A bad run is still a run” and that helps on the days when I know I’m not at my best. At least I’m still being active and getting something out of it.
– If you really feel like a rest day would be more beneficial, take the rest day. But know the difference between needing rest and wanting to veg in front of the TV. I didn’t trust myself to know the difference in the beginning so I’d go and do whatever I could, even if I left after 10 minutes. Making the effort for nothing is so much better than regretting that you didn’t even try.
– You will hear this over and over and I have to reiterate it too: invest in the right shoes. I know I couldn’t have gotten this far without my running shoes. Get fitted and find the shoe that will help you reach your goals!
– A favorite outfit can make a big difference. I have a favorite pair of pants that I wear with a few different shirts and then I have a favorite outfit. I did not wear said outfit on race day because I wanted to wear a pink shirt since I wasn’t going to wear the T-shirt they give you. However, the mornings when I know my run after work will be tough, I pack my faves and know I’ll feel great when I put them on.
– Create a routine. If you’re training for a race, this should usually happen at the time your race is scheduled to happen to make it easier for race day but just having a routine in general will help.
– Mind over matter is the truest of truths when it comes to running. I’ve been trying to get in the habit of telling myself that I’ll have a good run throughout the day before I hit the pavement. Even if I struggle, I’m still in a pretty good mood. It also helps to smile during the run. It’s an easy way to remind yourself that you chose to run and to be thankful you can.
Do you have any advice or lessons for newbie runners? — Annie