That was the subject-line of an email I received from a close college friend, but we'll get to that in a moment.
I've been dutifully cranking up my miles; you'd think I'm running in the double-digits based on the amount I'm sweating these days, but it's just the humidity.
This was what the sky looked like - without any editing or effects - before my run. I've never seen clouds like that!
After my run last night, I tried Vega Sport's recovery accelerator drink in Tropical. I really loved the flavor, and I'm definitely less sore this morning than I expected to be based on how I felt post-run. This is probably something I'll try again.
Alright, onto the real topic of today's post. My friend Caryn has just recently gotten into running. She has a certain way with words; after receiving this email from her, I just knew I had to share it with the blogging world. Her questions are in black, and my responses are in purple:
In response to [this blog post]: THINGS I WISH I KNEW NOW, BUT I AM SURE THEY WILL EVENTUALLY COME TO ME IF I JUST KEEP RUNNING Yep. Rule #1 - keep at it, don't give up; it'll all come to you in time.
1. When will I figure out the breathing rhythm? You could actually research HOW to breathe while you run, but counting breaths confuses me. I recommend that when you start to feel your shoulders getting stiff, or if you're hyperventilating and feel winded, take a DEEP, SLOW breath and let it out SLOWLY. Breathe like that until you feel better. Fast steps =/= fast breathing.
2. I am clearly not stretching enough beforehand, but when will everything stop hurting as soon as my running shoes touch the pavement? I am fully aware of the location of the following muscles/tendons: Achilles tendons, vastus medialis, and tibilais anterior. I know their names, because I made Alex teach them to me so that I may swear at them properly when they start to hurt. I am always polite to the body parts I insult. Don't stretch before. Stretching before is 90s gym coach theory and it's just plain wrong. Your muscles are getting accustomed to movement, so some pain is normal. Stretch AFTER a run, to keep yourself loose, and avoid sitting on your ass for hours after a run; move around a normal amount. Take rest days during which you stretch or do some yoga. Don't add too much distance too quickly. (Add about 5 minutes to your workout at a time, and don't add more than 10 minutes to your workout in less than a week's time. Go for time, not distance, when you're just starting out.)
3. Why are hills assholes? One cannot run down a hill comfortably in shoes or uphill without wheezing and straining. Assholes. They're assholes because they love you and want you to be strong. For now, walk hills. As your breathing gets easier, you'll be able to run them without a problem. Some tips: when you run UP, use your arms like you're pulling a rope. When running DOWN, lean forward into the angle of the hill, don't try to lean back.
4. Parking lots are flat, but also exceedingly boring. I must figure out a way to make them entertaining. Why the hell are you running in parking lots?! No wonder running is so painful. Talk about boring. Go park at a library or other public building that has some nice sidewalks and run there. Use google maps to figure out your route before you go.
5. Dogs under the age of five judge you on your pace. Dogs are assholes.
6. Running with your firefighter boyfriend is not a good way to determine a decent pace. Especially when he is 6'4" and you are 5'7". (ok, fine 5'6.5") An "easy" run should be at a pace that you can talk during. A "hard" run means you can only get a few words out and you're annoyed to be talking. Also, consider doing intervals. Run for a minute, walk for a minute, etc, for 30 minutes total. That way you're not expecting your body to just know how to run out of the blue. Intervals are freaking life savers.
7. Letting said boyfriend tell you that he will match your pace and believing him, because honestly, he is going to look like an injured gazelle, still graceful, yet obviously stinted by something, that something being you, and you will most likely end up feeling like a stubby-legged warthog, trying to escape a pride of lions; out of breath, sweaty, smelly, and suddenly aware that you could be dying at any second. (See above breathing rhythm issues, thus feeling of dying.) One day you'll be able to run with him. I like running with Matt because our paces are similar even if our strides aren't. I take two steps for his every one. Give it time; you'll get there. For now, maybe don't run with him because it's discouraging. Maybe he could bike or skateboard while you run, and he can go out ahead and come back a bit, etc.
8. Why can I walk correctly at a 20-inch step, and then when I start running, cannot expand past what feels like a choppy jog, a fully reduced stride? Again, I shall refer to this as a warthog run. Proper form means you shouldn't be LEAPING. You want your steps to be small but quick. If you're listening to a metronome (go download an app pronto), a "normal" runner runs at 160 BPM. An efficient runner runs at 180. Small steps, fast cadence.
9. Dirty rap songs are motivating in a disturbing way. While I do not agree with how you treat your bitches and hoes (hos?), your deep bass and caustic rhyming keep me going, until my lungs refuse. DMX Party Up is like, my favorite running song. Other weird music habits: sad 90s ballads and musicals. If you know ALL the lyrics and can sing along and zone out, the run is a lot more fun.
10. Remember death metal is scary at night. DO NOT LISTEN TO IT ANYMORE FUTURE SELF. Only in car rides. While holding hands. During the day. Also no scary audiobooks.
11. When can I qualify myself as a runner? The minute you decided to try, put shoes on, and got out the door. Opinions differ on this, but I think I considered myself a runner when it became something I NEEDED in my life in order to feel fulfilled and complete.
12. Will you be my fairy"running"godmother? Is that too forward of an awkward question? I'm honored and humbled to accept this awkward and forward request. Do I get a wand?
What was your biggest obstacle when you first began running?
Why did you become a runner?
What words of wisdom would you offer Caryn, and other newbies?