Anyhow, in honor of the newbie runner I was four years ago, I'm using this post to poke fun at a few of my running and racing mishaps. These things happen to the best of us as we're learning!
I overdressed for a race - At that first 5k race, I dressed like I was going to run in sub-zero temps. It was around 60 degrees but seemed super cold to me. So I layered up in tights, a long-sleeve top, a fleece jacket, a headwarmer and gloves. Needless to say, less than a half mile in I was ready to rip off every layer. I overheated so bad but learned from the experience. Never again will I make the mistake of racing in too many layers!
I did too much, too soon - While training for my first marathon, I had it in my head that more miles was always better. As a result, my hamstring gave out two weeks before the marathon. Looking back, I can see exactly what happened. In the month leading up to the injury, I ran a hard half marathon, followed by two 60-mile weeks and then another half marathon when the injury occurred. As a result, I had to walk/jog my first marathon with a still injured hamstring. Definitely not the race I had been training for all summer.
This medal serves as a reminder that more is not always better!
Training meant trying to run one mile as fast as possible - When I first started running, I knew nothing about training plans, weekly mileage, workouts, etc. All I knew was that I wanted to get faster. So to this newbie runner, that meant hopping on a gym treadmill and doing a tenth of a mile walk warmup followed by running one mile as fast as I could. I did this several times a week because I didn't know any better. Over time, I was able to run a mile faster - but I also ended up with an achy knee from all of my 'speedwork'. A blessing in disguise, the knee issues forced me to slow down and eventually I started training like a smarter runner.
I missed the start of a race - This happened at a race that had both half marathon and 5k races. I arrived one hour prior to the start to make sure I could get in a proper warmup and have time to use the restroom, etc. However, I somehow missed the fact that the half marathon and 5k races were starting together. So when runners lined up at the start, I thought it was just the half marathoners and I stood at the side and cheered them on. Only after almost all of the runners had gone through the start line did I realize it was also the 5k start. I had to scramble to the start line and begin the race in last place.
I somehow salvaged the race and won an AG prize. Mom also won a trophy!
I fueled all wrong - Every runner is unique so correct fueling for a run or race is really dependent on what works for that individual person. For me, I quickly learned I was not going to get by on a diet of Special K 90-calorie cereal bars and gummy candies. I also learned to never, ever hit the Ethiopian lunch buffet before an afternoon long run. Unless you like to hiccup and burp throughout your run ;)
Even though I still feel like a newbie runner at times, I know I've learned a lot these past few years. It's been a fun journey and I can't wait to learn even more as the years go by!
My questions for you:
- How long did/will you consider yourself a newbie runner?
- What newbie runner mistakes did you make?
- What running wisdom would you share with a newbie runner?