This is the time of year that us veteran runners get to see all sorts of new faces out there on the trail and streets. Welcome newbies we hope you stay! Also this past year I helped two people discover running and they did in fact stick with it, cool beans! Lately, I’ve been thinking about my own transformation as a runner I used to be a 3 mile this is efficient exercise but I hate it sort of runner, but now I’m a ‘sure I’ll do a half with you’ type runner and I enjoy it so much more. I wish I could go back and tell younger me the dozens of tiny little things I know now. So I decided to share them all on here. Yes, there are a ton of little tips and tricks veteran runners know that they’re not telling you that makes it suck so much less. It’s not that we’re meanies though it’s that they are so, so little that they don’t usually bear mentioning on running blogs, that is until now. So here are my itty bitty things that might make your running life better.
Tucked vs untucked is better than zipped vs unzipped
For controlling your temperature tucking or untucking your shirt into your pants works way better than zipping or unzipping your jacket or shirt. In fact, the zipper has never made much of a difference for me but I start most runs in the winter tucked and then untuck everything as I warm up.
Carry water it’s worth it
I resisted this for years because I thought it would be too hard for some reason. This more than anything else changed how much I like running. Most runners like the hydration belt option there are also handheld and vest options.
Get some good gear
A pair of synthetic running pants (not yoga pants) are great but its more important that you get a couple of moisture-wicking shirts. You don’t have to spend a whole lot and you can find lots used. Also, not every running shirt is awesome so it might take some trial and error. I started running in cotton boxers and a tee nothing could be a worse choice. Avoid cotton for all layers at all cost.
Sometimes you need bonus gear
Depending on your body and climate you might need some bonus purpose made for you and running. That expensive running stuff can be worth it for some. Here’s a Cheat sheet:
- Blisters = socks
- Chafing (thighs) = pants and maybe body glide
- Downtown issues = underwear and this post
- Back and shoulder pain = better sports bra
- Cold hands or hate all your music when you’re running = running gloves
Running gear worth investing in
T-shirts have no real purpose for running
If you think about runners they’re always wearing a t-shirt right so that’s your go to option. For me at least t-shirts serve no real purpose when running. Think about it, what need are they serving that a tank or long sleeves can’t? Its just weird extra fabric where your arms are moving most. Maybe you’ll love them, I don’t.
Headband vs hat
When a hat seems like the best option usually a headband is where you’ll want to end up. I’m talking winter here for the most part. Hats don’t really serve a purpose that a headband can’t. But they are nice to have when you’re warming up. Headbands can be thin and light just holding your hair back or thick and keep your ears and head pretty freaking warm. Also headbands do just as good at cushioning a headlamp for night running. I usually wear a headband under my hat then I have the best of both worlds available to me. If it’s really cold enough for a hat then I like to wear both especially if I’m wearing a headlamp. Hat’s however are great for avoiding sunburns though so I’ll give them that.
A ponytail isn’t the best hair option
Just like t-shirts are a go-to stereotypical running option ponytails are too. However, they are not the best option available for most. You get the dreaded slide down your head, a headache and lose flyaways around your face. French braids suffer almost as many issues as well. Pigtails work well except for making you look like a grown-up. But there is no better style for standing on your head at yoga. I really like the jasmine style pony but a jasmine braid would work well too. It’s all about that additional elastic (or two) holding the shorties around your face in.
Races aren’t what you think they are
It’s like the Olympics right just a tad slower? Nope not at all. Before I started running races I thought it was all super fast, super pretty, super fit people that legit deserve the #fitspo hashtag. Not even close. There are all speeds, shapes and ages of runners. I can almost guarantee that you won’t be the oldest, slowest or fattest runner there. Signing up for a race is a great way to fall in love or at least stay motivated while the date looms on the calendar.
Why you should sign up for a race and what to expect
Download some tunes
Just do it. Doesn’t have to be 180 beats per minute at all, starting out or not racing that’s probably too fast for a lot of runners. Some people say it makes you weak those people are masochists. Also when you start it’s normal to hate all the songs you downloaded, it gets better.
What makes a good running song a points system to help you decide
When we first started we couldn’t run for a minute at a time either
No runner out there could run for a full minute or a full mile when they started either. I like to tell people that I couldn’t run from lamppost to lamppost because I couldn’t. Check out a coach to 5k app which asks just 30 seconds at a time when you start. Seasoned runners know that 30 seconds is a big ask when your starting so go easier on yourself.
Internet clothes picker
How did I get dressed without this. Previous to discovering this I bounced between 2 extremes only wanting to wear a cute skirt and bra combo and being cold in the summer and wearing all my running clothes in the winter at the same time and being too hot. Seriously I don’t get dressed without it and when I make my own choice I regret it right away. I use this one and it’s getting close to a religious text for me.
New runner = wear less
When you start it’s a lot harder and you should wear a few less clothes. Sure try the easy run option on the clothes picker above and see how that goes. You might find the hard workout or cool feel gives you a better idea of what you should wear at the start.
Now I know there are literally dozens more things that us seasoned folks don’t even think to tell you. I know I had at least one more when I was driving the other day but I forget now so check back for edits. If you can think of something I forgot please share and help a newbie out!
I remembered what it was… I think at least I remembered something else. When you’re running in snow even for a few steps and your path clears or in my case you return to the road take it easy for the first few steps. The treads on your sneakers will be full and you might slip. I usually drag my feet for a few steps to get it out sooner. Ok now I can sleep!
Totally understand about signing up for races as a way to motivate myself! I signed up for three half marathons this year, with another one more coming up!