1. Don't Let the First (or Second) Mile Scare You Off. The first mile is a shit storm. Always. At least for me. I have to power through it mentally and know that I will settle in. If I gave up every time I had a shitty first mile, I'd never run more than a mile.
2. Don't Compare. I suck at this, but I try. The saying really is true: "Comparison is the thief of joy." I can be plodding along feeling really great about my training or my latest PR, then I notice all the people who are faster and stronger and just like that I can get down on myself. Just don't even go there. It's your journey. There will always be those who are faster and stronger and there will always be those who are slower and weaker. Just be you.
3. Buy Running Shoes at Least a Half Size Larger Than Your Regular Shoes. Your feet swell when you run. That means your shoes will feel small if you don't size up. You will also lose more toenails if you don't size up. Trust me on this one.
4. Never Trust a Fart. This one goes back to that movie "Along Came Polly" when the infamous combination of fart and shit were combined into one beautiful term: shart. Runners experience this more frequently than they would probably like to admit. When we run, the gut gets sloshed around and the stomach can get cranky. This often results in the need to pass gas or poop. Often times runners will take a chance on a fart, assuming it will only be air. However, there is sometimes a chaser...if you know what I mean. These days, I don't stop for every fart (I'd never finish run), but I'm damn careful.
5. Dress Like It's 10 Degrees Hotter Outside Than It Is. This means, don't over dress, you idiot. When I first started running I seriously contemplated wearing my down coat. I mean, I do live in Colorado and run in cold temperatures. But as any runner knows, your body temperature heats up quickly and your heart rate soars. This means in no time you will be stripping off the layers. Probably easier to endure 5 minutes of being a bit chilly, than an entire run of sweltering. I learned this little tip by Googling, what to wear when running. There is actually a sweet little tool where you input weather conditions and it tells you what to wear. Just like your mama! Basically this means in the summer you go naked 100% of the time.
6. Shut Up and Run. Hmmm...can't recall who said this one. Basically, this is the mantra to get you out the door. Truly I started this blog because I got so sick of people making excuses for why they didn't do what they said they were going to do (myself included). SUAR means stop your bitching and just do it (<I also made that up). It means stop letting your brain talk you out of things. Get out the door before you even know what you are doing and simply get it done.
7. Don't Assume It's Going to Get Worse. It was my physical therapist who gave me these words of wisdom when I was training for Ironman Florida. He told me that I was going to hit really low points or run into unexpected challenges and that it was imperative that I didn't catastrophize things. I use this mantra all of the time now. When I am in the middle of a ridiculously challenging long run or race, I remind myself that the pain and experience of being in the mental toilet is temporary and that it won't get worse. And, it usually doesn't.
8. If It Doesn't Feel Right, It Probably Isn't. For a variety of reasons, but mostly because my cousin Sherry was murdered while running, I am hyper vigilant when I'm out there. I make eye contact if someone is looking at me. I pay attention to people sitting in their cars when I run by (and I usually cross the street). I carry my phone. I run with confidence and alertness. If my gut tells me something is wrong, I listen. You can never be too careful.
9. Injuries are Expensive and Depressing. My first few years of running were plagued by injuries. In hindsight this was because I was doing too much too soon and definitely not listening to my body. I would run with pain, thinking it would go away or that I just had to toughen up. Nope. This is the worst thing you can do. If it hurts, don't ignore it. Take time off.
10. Carry Toilet Paper, Money and a Phone.
Best running tip you've ever gotten?
PS: I'm going to Chicago this weekend and want to run about 8 miles each day. I'm staying downtown on Adams St (JW Marriott). Any advice for where to run?