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After you have been running for a while, things like protecting your body against chafing, track distances, what “easy miles” means and the importance of the right running shoes are all factors you most likely take for granted. It’s easy for veterans of the sport to forget we had no clue what some of these things were when we first began, and to remember how important they are for continued success in running and racing.
If you’re new to running or if you’ve been running for a long time, here’s a list of everything a newbie runner should know and a veteran should remember:
Running Is Hard
When runners talk about “easy” miles, they just mean running slower–not that the miles are actually easy. Most runners will tell you that the difficulty is part of what makes running great. Embracing the sport will bring so much more to your life if you just stick with it–we promise!
Running Shoes Are Everything
Do yourself a favor and go to a running specialty store to get properly fitted for running shoes. These will be your most important piece of gear for your new hobby.
Chafing Can Be Prevented
When skin rubs against skin (or when a piece of clothing rubs against skin) for any length of time with only sweat between the two, painful chafing will be the result. The red, raw and sometimes bloody awfulness of chafing can be prevented with liberally applied products like Body Glide, Aquafor or Vaseline. Favorite spots to rub down include, thighs, underarms and (if you’re a man) nipples.
Socks Are Very Important
The ability to run well and for a long time basically comes down to how well you take care of your feet. Assuming you have proper running shoes, you should also carefully select the socks that go into them. Moisture wicking materials are best and should have a snug fit, varying in thickness, depending upon the weather.
Clothing Makes A Difference
Sometimes what you’re wearing (or not wearing) on a run can make or break you. As with your socks, the material of your running clothes is most important. Technical, breathable fibers rule and, when in doubt, layer!
Don’t Start Too Fast
This golden rule holds true in training as well as on race day. Always give your body a chance to warm up and, whenever possible, practice pacing during training runs so you know how to hold back on race day. Also, know your limits and what is an appropriate time goal for any run or race and stick to it!
Nothing New On Race Day
Not socks, not clothing (especially not the race shirt!), not fuel, not liquids—nothing! Whatever you wear, eat and drink on race day should be something you have worn, eaten or drank before and tested during your training runs. This is a huge newbie mistake, so don’t be the one to make it. Repeat after us: Nothing new on race day!
Everything You Need To Know About The Track
It’s all in this article. And, if you just want a quickie on the distances:
400 meters = one lap
800 meters = two laps
1,200 meters = three laps
1,600 meters = four laps or 1 mile
The Timing Of Your Food/Drink Matters
Whether you’re heading out for a 5-mile training run or gearing up for 26.2, you need to fuel your body for the undertaking. If you eat and drink too much or too little, you will suffer. Balance is key and knowing how much and when to eat and drink depends on a variety of factors. Once you know how to fuel properly, great things will happen!
It’s All Worth It
Every runner who has ever run a mile has thought about quitting when it became too hard. But most runners also know that running gives so much more than it takes and the benefits can change your life.