Thursday, 29 December 2011

Running for non runners

I know many people who don't run think that running is just putting one foot in front of the other. Actually there's also some very good runners who will say running is just about putting one foot in front of the other but that is because they are very zen and awesome runners. Anyway this post is for non-runners to appreciate just how much you have to think about if you're an aspiring distance runner like me, but not very good at it and therefore have to try very hard and concentrate a lot.

Eating and drinking: or fueling as we like to call it. Distance runners have to be conscious of what and when they eat(carbs 1-3 days before, protein after), what not to eat (anyone run 26 miles on a curry?!), how to eat when being a really slow runner (5 hours without food?), what to drink (sometimes water isn't enough) and how to get it all right when you have back-to-back long runs.

Social life: Your struggling distance runner will also contemplate if they should be having a big night out - after all a long run is looming on the weekend. It's also likely that they get smashed on two pints - I certainly seem to have trouble getting home on this level of alcohol now that my body is a slow moving temple. Also if you're planning a long run in the morning, is it safe to meet friends for lunch or is that just putting pressure on yourself to finish 13 miles under two hours, stretch, change and be social?

What you wear: Running into work? Then have two of everything or a wardrobe that can commute. If you run into work and have an offsite meeting first thing, your weekly schedule can change. In winter you need shoes and jackets at both ends. If you're going to stay overnight, or run somewhere and then shower and commute home, then these all require perfect logistics so you don't walk home without a vital bit of wardrobe. And high heels? After the first marathon I donated all my heels to charity; my feet deserve respect. Runners who go minimal will find that most of their other shoes feel like torture devices after running in bare foot style shoes. Or at best, your old shoes just won't fit anymore.

It's all in the head: struggling distance runners need a lot of mental toughness. After all, most of it's in the head. So what if you have a row, a hard day at work, or your best friend is on Oprah? All of this can effect a run. I also find when I train a lot and my whole body is weary, my ability to be grumpy and emotional increases in alarming measures.

If you're a non runner, don't let this put you off getting started. But if you are supporting a struggling runner like me, consider these potential things that keep your runner awake at night. And give them a little hug for still trying.

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