This year marks an incredible milestone for me as I celebrate my 13th year of running. When I first started, I never envisioned myself going this far, but I firmly believe that with Pinoy Fitness and the unwavering support from this inspiring community have been instrumental in my ability to sustain this sport for such an extended period.
At first glance, running may seem like a straightforward activity that anyone can engage in with a decent pair of shoes. However, as I reflect on my 13-year journey, I can confidently say that while running itself is simple, running consistently over an extended period of time is undeniably challenging. Throughout these years, I have witnessed countless runners who have given up, lost their motivation, or succumbed to injuries. I have even personally experienced the harrowing sight of someone who nearly lost their life while participating in a race.
These experiences have taught me never to take the simplicity of this sport for granted. After dedicating 13 years to running, I have accumulated invaluable lessons that I would like to share, as they can help you embrace running as a lifelong pursuit:
1. Invest in a Good Pair of Shoes
Like many others, I too embarked on my running journey without fully understanding the importance of wearing the right shoes. In 2010, I innocently started running with my old pair of badminton shoes, thinking they would suffice. However, as I began experiencing various aches and pains, I soon realized that not all shoes are suitable for running. It was a valuable lesson that led me to understand the significance of investing in proper running shoes. If you have a passion for running, I strongly recommend acquiring a dedicated pair of running shoes from a good brand that suits your needs. By making this essential choice, you’ll enhance your overall running experience and safeguard yourself from unnecessary discomfort or potential injuries.
I have created a helpful video that covers the basics of finding the perfect pair of shoes for your running needs. Please take a moment to watch it, and I’m confident it will assist you in selecting the right shoes that suit you best. – Watch it here
2. Respect the Distance
I’ve noticed a concerning trend among runners, where many are attempting long-distance races without proper training. It’s crucial not to rush into a 21K race simply because you were able to complete a 10K race. While the allure of the 21K distance is understandable, it’s important to resist peer pressure and avoid joining a race for which you haven’t adequately prepared.
Undoubtedly, our bodies are capable of extraordinary achievements. You can run, walk, crawl, and eventually reach the finish line. However, participating in a race without proper preparation can lead to an unpleasant experience or even injuries that may force you to take a break from running, either temporarily or permanently.
Remember to take your time and embrace the process. There will always be more races to participate in. As a general rule, aim to increase your weekly mileage by approximately 10-15%. This guideline applies not only to beginner runners but also to those returning to the sport after a hiatus. Don’t expect your body to seamlessly resume where you left off three to six months ago. It’s important to gradually reintegrate into your training routine to prevent unnecessary strain or setbacks.
To bring a more structured approach to your running, utilizing a training plan can be highly beneficial. Fortunately, we offer a variety of FREE training plans that you can access and utilize to enhance your running journey. – Get them here
3. Recovery is part of Training
When it comes to rest days, it is crucial to prioritize rest and recovery. Refrain from running or engaging in vigorous activity on these designated days. Your body requires this time to recuperate and repair fatigued muscles. Neglecting to honor your rest days can result in increased fatigue as your training progresses.
Here are some tips on what you can do during rest days: How to keep your Sanity on Rest Days
4. Prioritize Sleep
One important lesson I’ve learned is that sacrificing sleep for the sake of logging more miles can yield undesirable outcomes. I’ve witnessed individuals fainting, experiencing vomiting episodes, or even requiring hospitalization during races due to insufficient sleep. Particularly for runners, sleep plays a vital role in both recovery and performance. It is during sleep that your body heals, allowing you to grow stronger and faster.
When you’re in the midst of training and find yourself feeling excessively tired or weak, it’s crucial to listen to your body. Take the time to prioritize rest and consider skipping a workout or two. Your body will ultimately express its gratitude, as adequate rest supports optimal performance.
While it’s normal to experience difficulty sleeping before a significant race, it’s essential to ensure that you’re well-rested throughout the entire week leading up to it.
5. You have to Eat Well
I used to believe that I could indulge in any food I desired simply because I was a runner. After all, wouldn’t I just burn off the calories anyway? It took me 3-4 years to realize the fallacy of that mindset. As a runner, it’s not just about the quantity of food we consume but also the quality.
If you know me personally, you’ll know that I have a hearty appetite! I often order meals meant for two people, and I’m frequently hungry. However, over the past few years, I’ve made a conscious effort to reduce my intake of sugary products and simple carbs. Surprisingly, I discovered that I could still maintain my weight even during the off-season by focusing on healthier choices.
That being said, life is too short to completely deprive ourselves of indulgences. I still allow myself the occasional treat, such as a can of soda or a serving of ice cream, especially after a long run. It’s all about finding balance and enjoying life’s little pleasures while maintaining overall nutritional discipline.
6. Drink More Water + Electrolytes
We engage in rigorous running sessions that result in significant sweating, leading to dehydration, which can hinder our performance and impede recovery. When we sweat, it’s not just water that we lose, but also essential carbohydrates, salts, and other minerals known as electrolytes. Have you ever experienced feeling thirsty even after consuming a liter of water following a long run? This could indicate the need to replenish more than just water.
If your primary goal in running is weight loss, it’s advisable to avoid consuming excessive amounts of sports drinks. Instead, consider opting for low-calorie electrolyte tabs that can be added to your water. This way, you can replenish the vital electrolytes without consuming unnecessary calories.
7. Invest in a good Running Watch
I highly recommend investing in a quality GPS running watch that can establish connections with both your phone and an online community service such as Strava. Modern running watches typically come equipped with an optical heart rate monitor, allowing you to track your heart rate during runs. This valuable feature can assist you in gauging if you’re overtraining or pushing yourself excessively during races.
By connecting your watch to an online service like Strava, you not only have the opportunity to monitor your performance but also gain the ability to reflect on your previous races. Additionally, the supportive community within these platforms can serve as a powerful source of motivation, inspiring you to stay committed to your running journey.
8. Join a Running Group or Online Community
While running is typically seen as an individual sport, the benefits of joining a running group or team should not be overlooked. The camaraderie and shared training experiences within a group setting can greatly contribute to your improvement. Witnessing the progress of fellow runners and collectively enduring the challenges of training can be incredibly motivating, pushing you to become faster and stronger alongside others.
If joining a physical group is not feasible, consider seeking out an online community that shares your passion for running and fitness. Engaging with like-minded individuals virtually and sharing your journey and goals can be equally beneficial. Not only will you receive support and inspiration, but you’ll also have the opportunity to inspire others to achieve their own goals.
I invite you to join our Facebook online community, where you can connect with individuals who share your enthusiasm for running and fitness. Together, we can create a supportive and encouraging space to uplift one another in our pursuit of greatness.
9. Get yourself a Coach
If your budget allows, I highly recommend considering the investment in a running coach. While I had been running based on my own instincts for several years, I have recently begun working with a qualified running coach, and the impact on my progress has been remarkable.
Having a coach by your side offers numerous advantages. They can provide expert guidance, ensuring that you are training effectively and avoiding the common pitfall of pushing yourself too hard too soon. A coach will also assist you in strategizing and preparing for important races, ensuring that you perform at your optimal level when it matters most.
The personalized attention and professional insights provided by a coach can truly elevate your running journey and help you achieve your goals more efficiently. Consider exploring the option of hiring a running coach to experience firsthand the substantial improvements it can bring to your overall performance.
10. Race, Then Pace
During the initial years of running, the focus often revolves around racing and striving for personal bests. However, after 3-4 years, continuously pushing yourself to exceed your physical limits can become tiresome and frustrating. It was during this time that I realized the importance of finding a more balanced approach, viewing running not merely as a race but as a means to cultivate a healthier lifestyle.
In this pursuit, I discovered the immense rewards of becoming a pacer. Being a pacer involves aiding individuals or groups of runners in achieving specific time goals or distances, essentially helping them along their running journey. Embracing this new mindset allowed me to maintain motivation and provided me with a deeper purpose to continue running.
Shifting my focus from personal achievements to supporting and guiding others has brought a renewed sense of fulfillment to my running experience. It has become a way for me to contribute to the running community and inspire others to reach their own goals.
11. Know when to Stop
It’s important to understand the distinction between soreness and pain. Muscle soreness caused by fatigue typically resolves within a few days, whereas pain stemming from injuries can persist for weeks.
One of the most challenging injuries I experienced was Plantar Fasciitis. As a beginner runner, I would stubbornly continue running even when injured, fearing that I would lose the endurance I had built over the years. However, I learned the hard way that it is crucial to recognize when to stop and allow injuries to heal.
If you’re concerned about losing your endurance, consider incorporating alternative workouts during your recovery period, such as swimming. This allows you to maintain your fitness levels while giving your injury the necessary time to heal. Remember, it’s better to prioritize proper healing than to risk exacerbating the injury and potentially prolonging your time away from running.
12. Be kind and support each other
Individuals are drawn to running for a multitude of reasons, ranging from weight loss to improving overall health. It’s essential to remember that we all begin our running journey from scratch. As a community, let’s foster an environment of encouragement and support to help newcomers attain their personal fitness objectives. Regardless of our speed or background, running serves as a unifying force in our shared pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.
Therefore, let us strive to cultivate a culture of respect, compassion, and support within our running community, recognizing that regardless of our individual speeds, backgrounds, or professions, we all share a common passion for running. By embracing this inclusive mindset, we can create an environment where every runner, whether a seasoned veteran or a newbie just starting out, feels valued, encouraged, and empowered to achieve their personal milestones and fitness goals. Together, let us celebrate each other’s triumphs, provide a helping hand during challenging times, and inspire one another to reach new heights in our running journeys.
13. Don’t forget to have FUN
Lastly, but certainly not least, it is imperative to remember the essence of enjoyment and fun in running. While running has the potential to become a lifelong pursuit, it can only manifest as such if we derive genuine pleasure from it. Take the time to celebrate your personal bests, whether big or small, reveling in the sense of accomplishment they bring. Embrace the opportunity to explore new horizons, venturing around the world to participate in marathons or other running events that ignite your passion. Share the journey with friends, supporting and inspiring them on their weight loss endeavors through running or any other shared goals. Whatever fuels your motivation to lace up those shoes and hit the road, make certain to relish every step along the way.
Running encompasses far more than mere physical exertion; it is an avenue for personal growth, self-discovery, and camaraderie. By infusing each stride with joy and enthusiasm, we unlock the transformative power of running as a source of fulfillment and lifelong engagement. So, as you embark on your running journey, keep the flame of enjoyment burning bright, for it is through this joy that running truly becomes an enduring and cherished part of your life.
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