Lessons Learned from Running

I’ve been running for about a decade now. There have been many lessons I’ve learned from running. I’m not a professional; I’m not an expert, and I’m certainly not a coach. Throughout my decade of running and seven years working in running specialty, I’ve learned several lessons both the easy way and the hard way.  Lately, I’ve had time to reflect on a few lessons learned from running.

lessons learned from running

Here are a few lessons learned from running:

The most important rule:

Get the right shoes.

Compared to many other sports, running is not an expensive sport.

However, your shoes will be the most expensive. The majority of people do not need inserts, nor is it necessary for a 200 dollar shoe. When being fitted, you should expect to pay between 120-150 for a pair.

For your first pair of shoes, it’s important to get a quick and painless gait analysis. This is one of the most important lessons learned from running. Almost any local running store can do it. From there, they will determine the most appropriate shoes for you. If you look for the cheapest option online, and they don’t work for you, you are not going to be running.

Lessons learned from running
There’s a shoe for that…

On the same line, there is a shoe for everyone. For example, some people can get away running in Nike Frees. 99.9% of us can’t. The biggest and most important lesson from running is to get fitted for the right shoes.

Start Easy

Before I ran, I was a swimmer. Swimming puts a lot less pressure on your bones, joints, and body in general. Collegiate swimming had us in the pool every day from 2-4 hours. If you run 4 hours daily, you would end up with multiple stress fractures and injuries. One of the most important lessons learned from running and one I learned the hard way is to start easy. You don’t need to go from zero to one hundred.

Technical Fabric:

If you can run in cotton and not chafe, this does not apply to you. One lesson learned from running the hard way was cotton is rotten, and you can and will chafe. Certain fabrics prevent blisters, chafing, and being uncomfortable. These days there are windproof jackets, jackets that light up and glow in the dark, and jackets that allow you to run in -30. None of these things you need, but if they make you happy…go for it.

So much winter technology...
So much winter technology…

Set small goals and keep a training log:

Reaching smaller goals keeps your motivation strong. If you feel as though you’ve been chasing the same larger goals for months or years…maybe it’s time to set a smaller goal. Similarly, you don’t know what is working if you aren’t recording it.  You cannot make it to the top of the mountain in one step; you have to take a series of steps. Another lesson learned from running is to stop comparing yourself to others and appreciate your own journey.

My goal ladder during my first stress fracture.
My goal ladder during my first stress fracture.

Finally: The most important! 

Everyone is a runner. I recently wrote about it here. Whether you are running 4-minute miles or running your first mile ever. You are a runner, whether you like it or not.

Runners everywhere!
Runners everywhere!

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Question for you: What are some lessons you have learned from running?