Advice for Runners

by Lisa Rosen on October 29, 2010

A few tips, based on my years of experience (and this morning’s run)–

Things you should NOT do:

–plot a 15 mile route that ends a mile from home, thinking, Oh, I won’t mind–it’s only an extra mile>. You will mind, and you will end up hobbling home at a slow stumble, because there’s No. Way. you’re running an extra mile, not even one.

–miscalculate how much fluid you’re going to need and leave home without cash, because you will find yourself sneaking up to refill from the water cooler on the back of the unoccupied utility truck.

–sing and dance your way down the sidewalk on the busiest street in town, during rush hour. Someone you know WILL see you, and will mention it, probably in a public forum. Besides–singing and dancing take too much energy. The occasional fist-pump is acceptable, preferably when you’re alone in the woods.

–try to act cute and charming and nonchalant with the guy behind the counter at the gas station. If you’ve been running up hills for the last two hours, you are definitely not cute. Accept that you look (and smell) like something the cat dragged in, and move along.

–try to leap over the dog poo, especially at the end of a long run. Leaping is not what your muscles are doing right now, and they will rebel. It will hurt. You might actually land in the poo. Better to go around.

–try to run backwards while yelling cheery salutations to that nice fellow from your writer’s group. Running backwards is not graceful.

–worry about the snot/spit/sweat/other unmentionable bodily secretions that are accumulating on your clothing. It’s just sort of unavoidable.

–make funny faces at the cute baby in the fancy jog stroller. It’s not nice to make babies cry.

–put R.E.M.’s Everybody Hurts on your running playlist. It will make you want to lie down on the side of the road and take a nap.

–plot a long run that ends at a restaurant. I don’t care how hungry you are; you’re too gross to sit on someone else’s furniture. (Unless you’re walking the distance, in which case you’re slightly less disgusting, and the dim sum restaurant is a perfectly reasonable place to end that twenty-miler.)

–don’t take up bird-watching while running. That can only lead to trip-and-fall.

–suddenly take up long-distance trail-running if you’re not used to it. See above re: trip-and-fall.

–host a party at your house a few hours after your long run (or, for the same reasons, drive on your kid’s field trip to collect water samples).

Things you SHOULD do:

–pee before you leave the house. I believe I’ve mentioned that before . . .

–carry some cash/lubricant/directions/an extra tampon. I believe I’ve mentioned those before, too . . .

–chat with the folks working on road construction. They think you’re whacked anyway.

–memorize the locations of all pay phones in your town. At some point, you WILL get six or seven miles from home, and remember that you were supposed to pick the kids up early, or call the roofer, or drop off a prescription, and you’ll need to call your spouse. Gas station employees, while happy to sell you a bottled water, are not so happy about letting you sweat all over their telephones.

–take a kid along for a few miles occasionally. They can be surprisingly good entertainment, as long as they don’t accidentally hit the front brakes too hard and flip over their bike handlebars, crashing in the middle of the road and scaring you half to death. On the other hand, the adrenalin can give you a real kick.

–wear cute outfits. Self-explanatory. One should always wear a cute outfit, right?

–if you’re bored with your tunes, try downloading a book from Audible. Caveat: Lee suggests that if you’re out before daylight, walking on a creepy dark trail through the woods, don’t listen to anything scary, like, for instance, Dexter.

–make yourself drink the drinks and eat the gels. They’re not very helpful if all you do is carry them for 15 miles, then take them home and dump them out. Calories and fluids have to actually get into the body to be useful.

–give dogs, even the ones on leashes, a wide berth. A leash, wrapped around your ankle, is a deathtrap–for you, not the dog.

–promise yourself treats at the end. Whatever treats work for you–chocolate, margaritas, a nap, a new pair of shoes. Self-bribery totally works.

–warn your people ahead of time if you expect a run to put you out of commission. That way no one will be surprised when you spend the whole afternoon lying on the couch demanding that they wait on you hand and foot.

–mix it up occasionally, by swimming or riding a bike or doing yoga. Variety is good for your body. Besides–you get more cute outfits that way.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Amelia November 2, 2010 at 7:31 am

I’m curious. When you do your long runs, do you stop at convenient stores or other places? If so, how long are you actually, not running? I don’t have that issue because there are NO convenient stores anywhere near my house, so I have to station food and drink along my course. I’m always wondering how long I should allow for my walk/nutrition/hydration breaks and if I should count them in my total run time. Your thoughts?

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Lisa Rosen November 2, 2010 at 11:51 am

It depends. I know where all the water fountains are, so sometimes I just use those. And I try to carry enough in my fuel belt so that if I do stop at a convenience store, it’s only once. I stop my watch when I do that, but I’m quick in & out. Otherwise, I eat & drink on the move . . .

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