40+ Years of Running – What I have learned

cropped-bennie-me-running.jpgI started running back in 1971 and over the years my running waxed and waned according to what was going on in something called life.

Which also means I have seen a few things over the years and maybe even picked up a couple of nuggets to pass on to anyone who cares.

So here goes:

  • Fads come and go. Keeping it simple and real, is easier said than done sometimes.
  • You will wax and wane as a runner. Some years you will have injuries, work will interfere, children come first – that thing called life gets in the way of your running. Then other years it all comes together and you run great.
  • Your running style/form/technique is yours. You can improve it and make it more efficient. Often the more you run, the more your body figures out what works best for it, with a few tweaks here or there to help it along.
  • Chaffing sucks, compression shorts or vaseline (lubrication) are your friend.
  • Shoes do not make the runner, although the wrong shoes can sure screw things up.
  • There is no such thing as a magic shoe, there are only comfortable to run in shoes, shoes that hurt your feet when running or shoes you just deal with and run in them anyway.

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  • Be mindful to the sizing of your shoes – length AND width. Sizing up is not always the right choice or the only answer, sometimes a B, D, EE or 4E width is the correct choice.
  • As a runner you will be crude, rude and socially unacceptable by farting, burping, sweating, stinking, blowing nose rockets and sooner or later peeing/pooping in semi public places.  Just remember leaves of three, leave them be, otherwise it sucks to be thee.
  • Technology is great, until technology doesn’t work – usually at the worst time possible.

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  • GPS is nice, but not mandatory. However, it does make computing your distance a lot easier and let’s you just explore, instead of worrying about how far you ran. Although GPS and the treadmill…well it could be more accurate.
  • I like to support specialty running stores, but…there are none in the local area and for a cheap old guy, their premium prices bring a lot of sticker shock to the running gear shopping experience.
  • Shopping online is cheaper, but cheaper is not always better.
  • The best training plan is – the one that works for you and your goals, not somebody else.
  • The best running coach is probably the one you can’t afford or is located too far from where you are. It is better to find one that sees you in person, takes time to actually see you run, is honest about your ability and how much work it will take to achieve your goals.
  • Running with a dog is almost like have a professional coach, except all they want you to do is interval work.
  • Running is a simple sport, but it can get complicated and expensive pretty quickly and then after a while you get back to keeping things simple.
  • Racing can be fun, but…expensive and daunting if you are hyper-competitive.
  • Most other runners are really decent, yeah you get a few butt heads, but for the most part runners are the people I prefer to be around – they tend to be a little more earthy, have a sense of humor, and don’t put on too many airs (except the aroma of stinking running clothes).
  • Running clubs are the backbone of local running communities. Join one – you will be glad you did, if you find the right one for you.
  • Yes, you can run outside year-round, but sometimes the treadmill is safer and you will get a better workout versus running in survival mode.
  • No, you don’t have to blog about being a runner, but for some of us it is a part of our running and a part that we enjoy.
  • Running is what you make it to be and your running will be different from anyone else’s.

These are just a few of the nuggets I have gained in those 40+ years of running. Some of them are common sense, some were learned the hard way and some I learned from other runners.

What are some of the things you have learned as a runner?

 

5 thoughts on “40+ Years of Running – What I have learned

  1. Congrats on so many years … last month I entered my 29th year of running – and it has been an amazing journey with so many of the things you say!

    A few thoughts I have:
    – Tech items such as GPS watches, fitness trackers, heart-rate monitors and so on are entirely unnecessary … but can be useful in providing metrics for hitting goals. But beware of giving them too much power over you!
    – Thank GOODNESS for tech fabrics … when I compare what I wear in terms of layers and how much stink it can handle and wash away to what I wore three decades ago it is staggering …
    – Racing is entirely optional and completely unnecessary. Sure it is fun, but as you note it can be expensive and time-consuming.
    – More is NOT better – I run a lot of miles, but that doesn’t make me a better runner than someone who runs fewer *smarter* miles. I just like running a lot.
    – If you find ‘training for something’ to be motivational, great. There is no right or wrong about why you are going for a run.
    – Unless it is your job, when you start sacrificing entire segments of your life for a run … you need to do some serious introspection.

    Happy sub-zero Saturday!

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  2. “Just remember leaves of three, leave them be, otherwise it sucks to be thee.” and dogs only want you to do intervals. Sage advice, my friend. 🙂 Thanks!
    And KISS is the best rule, ever.

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