They say that experience brings wisdom. When I look back to my younger running self, I remember all of the doubts and fears I had of even trying to run. I remember watching runners, who were calm and carefree, cruise down streets and trails with ease. They looked graceful and athletic. I didn’t think of myself as possessing either quality. I felt a twinge of jealousy. How could I compete with their mileage? I knew that there was no way I would ever be that fast.
Finally, I asked myself another question. What if I tried? I knew that I wanted to give the sport a test run, so to speak. Maybe I’d learn that I loved it. Maybe I would hate it. I’d never know if I didn’t lace up those shoes and hit the road with a training plan in place. The rest, as they say, is history.
It comes as no surprise that I wish I had started my running career earlier in life. So, to my younger running self or a new runner, here is some advice.
What kind of runner could you have been? Maybe you would have been able to run longer distances at faster paces. There definitely would have been more races and additional bling! Encourage your non-running friends to start ASAP!
There will be runners with better form, but there will also be runners who need guidance. There will be faster runners and runners with a slower pace. None of that matters. Only compete with yourself. Stop worrying about what others may think. It’s your run.
This sport is full of people with compassion and kindness. Runners genuinely want to help others reach their goals. The faster runners are happy to share training techniques with beginners. There are no dumb questions. You don’t get this type of support in every sport, so take advantage of it. Watch and listen. Learn from others and share any bits of knowledge gained along the way.
Even if you have to walk most of your first 5K, register and go for it. There’s nothing like the wave of enthusiasm you will experience at a race. It can be surprising and even overwhelming to hear the cheers of encouragement shouted from spectators and volunteers. Talk about a great incentive to continue your training!
Make running a priority in your life. Train yourself to be the best that you can be physically, but remember that it is also about mental endurance. Want it! Own it! Put everything you have into it! This is about health, fitness, and overall happiness. Set running goals and make a plan to achieve them, even if it means working with a running group, a coach, or a friend who laces up her shoes along with you.
Hindsight is 20/20. While I really wish my younger running self had put those shoes to the pavement, we should all remember that it’s never too late to start!
What advice would you give to your younger self or a new runner?