I was running this afternoon, enjoying the amazing weather the Atlanta area had today, when I realized that I had come a really long way since I began running last year. I was able to run all three miles of my loop around the park - hills included (and there's a couple doozies!) Here's a few things I've learned, and maybe you can learn from my mistakes:
- Speed isn't the end all be all of running. I used to be really concerned about how fast I was running. I still look at time, but my main goal is endurance and distance. If it takes me a few minutes longer to run 3 miles than the next guy or gal, then that's okay. We can't all be star athletes.
- The right gear matters. I used to try to run in whatever I was okay sweating in. Turns out that a little investment in the right clothing and shoes make all the difference. I've found great clothing at Target, Dick's Sporting Goods, and from a variety of brands. Under Armour is good, Nike is also good (and sometimes you have to look at both brands and buy the cheaper of the two...it's the same quality), and Champion at Target is a great bargain.
- No matter what anyone says, the best way to improve performance is to pound the pavement. There's no substitute for just getting out there and running. The most successful runners make their running commitments, not make excuses and wonder why their runs aren't going well.
- Have fun with it. Set reasonable goals and take all the advantages that running gives you. I feel better, lost weight, and now have a whole new passion that enriches my life. Plus it's pretty cheap!
I hope to bring a more in-depth post right after the Peachtree Road Race this July. I'm counting that as my 1 year racing anniversary, and it's going to be my second 10k ever. I never thought I'd be okay with running, much less trying to run 6 miles or more in a single day. Woohoo!!