I was having a discussion about running earlier today and wanted to make it the topic of my Five Things Friday. I like this wrap up to the week because I just write about five things in whatever configuration I come up with that day. For this week, I wanted to talk about five mistakes I made during the span of my running lifetime. I am quite sure there are more, but these are the most prevalent for me. In no particular order:
1. Not Being Properly Fitted For Shoes
This is one of the biggest mistakes I think people can make. There are so many different types of feet, strides, etc. and being properly fitted for shoes is crucial. Before I was ever fitted for shoes, I just ran and ran for years in the same pair and when I upped my mileage I suffered from constant blisters and even ended up injuring my shin to the point where I couldn’t put weight on it and was out of commission for 2 weeks.
I had tried a million different remedies for those pesky blisters, but what actually helped was a properly fitting pair of shoes. Find a store that specializes in running and can assess what shoes best fit YOU. The old pair I had were a size too small (you actually need to buy running shoes a little bigger because your feet swell as you run), no shock absorption, and the treads were worn. Once I changed shoes, everything improved!
2. Not Listening to My Body
I have injured myself running. The majority of those injuries were from me ignoring pain that I had and pushing myself to run through it. That may work for some people, but in my case it has sidelined me for much longer that it would take for me to just slow down and rest. As I just mentioned, my shin took me out for 2 weeks because I thought it would be a good idea to run 12 miles back to back when my leg was giving me problems. My body is not built for repeated long distances like that and it let me know by not letting me stand on my leg the next day.
I have learned to stop at the first sign of pain. I take it easy until the problem is fixed because I know what happens when I don’t. The hard part for me is having the patience to wait, but I try my best to listen when my body yells at me.
3. Running for Anyone Besides Myself
When I run for myself, it is a peaceful and magical thing. I get to connect with nature (when I can run outside) and there is just something about falling into that rhythm that is it for me. When I let other people or things influence my running, it no longer becomes fun. I used to obsess about my mileage and time and try to beat some imaginary record. This made running not fun. I used to compare myself to others and feel bad because I wasn’t running at their pace. I never wanted to do races because I knew I wouldn’t win.
I have stopped comparing myself to others and just run because I like it. I am not a big fan of races, but I will do them every once in awhile if I want to support a cause or get a sweet T shirt. I run because I like it and it is ok if I don’t beat everyone in the entire world. Like I said, I am not built for that. That doesn’t mean that I don’t challenge myself to do better, but I don’t beat myself up for running the pace I run. I’ve taken a minute off my pace since I started running, so I am happy about that!
4. Thinking Each Run Should be Better Than the Last
Some days my runs just suck. There is no reason that I can see for it, but I just don’t feel a run some days. Most of the time I don’t force myself to do one and will do strength training or just relax. Sometimes I feel like running, but it takes a couple miles for my head to tell me that it’s tired and I should just stop. I know once I get past that mental block my run will be magical.
So I am easy on myself and understand that some days I will run like a rockstar and others will just plain suck. There’s always tomorrow.
5. Not Running to My Abilities
This goes along with running for anyone besides myself. I told myself I was a horrible runner for a long time because I didn’t know how to pace myself and would try and run like the cross country runners in high school. I didn’t know how to run for what I was able to do and ended up out of breath and wanting to throw up. Today I run what is comfortable for me and always strive to do better without killing myself.
Well those are my words of wisdom for today. I hope everyone has a great weekend and gets out to enjoy this weather!
Question of the day: What are some of your running mistakes? What have you learned from them?