If you have seen “Forest Gump,” you have heard or read the following (as uttered by Forest himself) before…
My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
– Forest Gump
I have listened to many audio books over the past few months and along the way, I have picked up a “box of chocolates” in terms of running lessons along the way. These “chocolates” serve as this week’s fodder for my latest “Running Lessons.”
- All about Socks: Last April, while running down in Kissimmee, FL, with temps in the mid 90s and humidity high, I started to develope a blister on my little toe. At first I just soaked it in the pool at the condo. Next day I ventured back out and ran again. The blister got worse and soon I could barely walk. It got infected! I had to go to the hospital and was not able to run for 3 weeks after that! Word to the wise – do not wear straight cotton socks in the extreme heat AND always tend to blisters!
- Make changes gradually! One of the many mistakes I have made over the past 12 months related how I handle change. In short, after reading the “Cool impossible” last fall, I went out and changed up my running style in a bunch of ways all at the same time. Result? Injuries and a style that does not work for me. Bottom line: if you are changing things up in your running life, do it slowly, test the change out and see it works over a period of at least few weeks. Then move onto the next change you want to make. But never do all these changes at the same time!
- Eating right versus dieting: When I started out running, it was to lose weight. So I tied a “diet” at the same time and it worked for a while. Then I realized that if I am running 8 miles a day, I need to eat something! Eating GOOD and HEALTHY food is the key for me. As long as I do that taking in the necessary nutrients daily, it does not really matter how much I consume (within reason of course). Also a gluten free lifestyle has helped as well in controlling my inflamation.
- Keep track of your work! Many people who start off running do not keep track of their progress. When you are getting better, you should know you are doing better whether it is more miles, better times, lower weight or whatever else. This is my motivation to continue on and do more and better! Keeping track of it via the Garmin Connect app and SmashRun has been extremely helpful to me over the past year.
- Swing those arms! One tip I picked up from the books was proper arm swing. I was in the habit of swinging my arms across my body. WRONG (for me)! Proper arm swing is straight out, even with the legs so to speak. I have found it lessens effort over a long run and this helps in extending said run.
- Vary your running. This was an important change for me. Introducing Fartlek training (intervals of sorts) has helped me increase my speed and distance. This has helped also in running hills and closing out races. Highly recommend this variance in training to shake up your routine!
- Avoid treadmills: Ok, this is a controversial point of view but hear me out! For me, running is time for me to clear my head, think through life, see new things along the way and get in better shape. Also and most important, treat my body with respect so I don’t get injury after injury! Now, the treadmill does not provide any of the above for me. I even hurt my soleus muscle (which is hard to do btw) over the past 2 months being stuck on a treadmill. Now, this is my point of view and you may like treadmills very much…they are just not for me!
- All about shoes? I am mixed on this topic. I am a huge fan of my Hoka One One Clifton 2s but is my better running about me and my skill improvement or the comfort of my Cliftons? I don’t have an answer to be honest. I will say this: If you find a good pair of shoes, do not let them go! At the same time, money does not dictate value. Higher priced shoes are not automatically better than low priced. And if you have a good running shop locally, take advantage of the staff’s expertise! Better than any website review.
So that is about it for now. I will try to elaborate more on these topics in the future. Hopefully these are helpful!
Thanks for reading