Over the years I have come up with a list of my personal running rules. Some of them are silly, some of them are legit and some of them are especially random. I wanted to share some of the things that I have found help me to enjoy my running even more.
To think big picture. When I think long term about my running, I make intelligent decisions. I train smarter, focus on doing all of the little things that pay off in a big way later on down the road and don’t get upset about little setbacks that happen along the way.
When I start playing the comparison game, I stop right away. Whether I am stuck comparing myself to the runners around me or the speed demons on Instagram, I just stop. A lot of times I compare myself to ‘faster days’ in the past. However I have made it my running rule to just stop whenever I do this because nothing good comes of it. I end up feeling defeated every time I play the comparison game. I have learned to focus on where I am in the moment and what I need to do in the future to reach my goals.
To be okay with the fact that there is a time and a season for everything, including running. Sometimes running is one of my top priorities and sometimes it isn’t. Pregnancy, injuries, illness, family stuff, work stress and more put running on the back burner at times and that is okay. Running will always be there for me when I am ready to come back to it.
To never, ever forget my sunglasses when I’m running outside and it’s sunny. I will go back home and get them if I need to. Otherwise I will be kicking myself the entire time.
When something hurts, I take time off now to heal. It is better than running through it and making it a million times worse, which forces weeks or even months away from running. This rule is the hardest for me to keep but probably the most important.
To remember that my brain tells me to quit long before my body actually needs to. Just remembering that it is my mind telling me to stop or slow down and not my body helps me push through those really hard miles.
To smile and thank the volunteers. Wave and soak in the crowds. Take in each mile of a race because they really are simply the celebrations of all of our hard work during training.
Fiber is a big “no” for me for the two days leading up to a race. The simpler my foods are the two days before a race, the happier my stomach is on race day. I’ve also made the rule of no peanut butter the morning of a race because without fail, it makes my stomach hurt when I run.
To remember that everybody has bad races, workouts that don’t get checked off on the training plan and days where our legs feel like they are filled with lead. It’s normal. It is nothing to get upset about. The bad runs always mean that there are some really great ones up ahead.
Leave the electronics at home every now and then. It’s always nice to ditch the GPS and music so I can hear myself breathe and run according to feel rather than pace.
To always take one (and sometimes two) rest days a week from all exercise. This rule is probably different for everybody but I have found that this helps me avoid physical and mental burnout.
To spend money on a quality sports bra. I have learned this rule the hard way far too many times. I have plenty of chaffing to prove it.
Change things up. Try a different route. Explore a new trail. Play around with my fuel. I am a creature of habit but I find that whenever I get out of my comfort zone to try something new, I end up really loving it!
To double knot my shoes for any and every race. For some reason, races make my shoelaces just magically come untied, even though throughout training they never do. That is why the double knot is crucial on race day.
I would absolutely love to hear some of the running rules that work for you and your running.