Whether you just started running or have been doing it for decades, sooner or later we all come to realize that there are things we were never told about running.
1. Running sucks sometimes. Not every run will be enjoyable or even possible. Some days, whole weeks and entire months will be frustrating, difficult and perhaps painful. Injuries, illness, setbacks and obstacles will often prevent us from doing or achieving what we aim for. It’s essential we think about the long-term and what we hope to achieve over many years and decades and not just this week or season.
2. Running isn’t free or even cheap. All you might need are a pair of shoes and some apparel, but shoes wear out and apparel costs money. Race fees quickly add up and so too do the visits to the physio, chiro and masseuse not to mention any trips to destination events. Gadgets, gizmos and gear will inevitably be needed as will a surprising amount of energy bars, gels and chews.
3. Running is simple but it sure ain’t easy. “Left foot, right foot, repeat” may suggest otherwise but wisdom and experience will eventually show that running, training and racing well requires constant attention, discipline and commitment.
4. There is no finish line. Literally and physically there are thousands of them but in a metaphorical sense, running has no endpoint or final destination. The journey is what matters most and your goals, ambitions and desires will constantly change and evolve over time.
5. There is no best/right/proper way to do anything. No training plan is perfect. No brand or model of shoe will prevent injury. No gel, bar or chew is superior to the rest. We are all different in many ways and our running must reflect that and should be tailored to our individual needs and goals.
6. You will get injured (seriously, you will). For something we do to improve our health and fitness, running sure seems to cause a lot of problems. From stiffness and soreness to shin splints and stress fractures, a repetitive, weight-bearing activity such as running will eventually take a toll on the body which usually means taking time off from running. Luckily, the benefits gained in the long run will all be worth it.
7. You can become hooked. This can be both a good or bad thing. Saying someone’s addicted or dependent on running might be taking it too far, but it’s definitely true that some people can develop an unhealthy relationship with their running. Most people, however, use running as a way to improve and enhance their lives which is why it becomes such an essential part of their regular routine.
8. Running isn’t for everyone. While we should encourage everyone and anyone to try running, there are some people who simply won’t like and enjoy it. Whether it’s the monotony of doing the same thing over and over; the occasional pain and discomfort it creates; or the time and energy needed to commit, some people just may be better suited for something else.
9. It’s important to take breaks. Running longer, faster and more frequently may be the best ways to improve and succeed as a runner in the long-term, but rest, recovery and time spent not running are equally essential. The body and mind need time to physically and mentally refresh, repair and recover which is why taking time off should be a key part of any running and training routine.
10. Running is rewarding in so many ways. Maybe you started to lose weight or raise money for a charity. Or perhaps to complete a ‘bucket list’ race or compete in a local event. Regardless of why we started to run, most of us continue by finding new reasons to run, new goals to achieve and new ways to enjoy and benefit from running. And every one of them is definitely worth it!