I had no idea what I was doing. My first marathon was a total disaster and I used to wear *gasp* cotton! But never fear FNGs because we’ve all been there. We have all gotten silly little blisters and chafed in new, unforeseen holy-crap-why-did-this-happen places. And I’d like today to be the day we share some tips with all the FNGs. I, of course, being the list master that I am have put together some tips for things that I didn’t know about as an FNG when I started.
Everyone else please share your tips in the comments. I’m sure all the newbies will appreciate it. Hang in there new guys and keep at it. It gets easier, I promise.
1. Test out the toe socks. Sure they make your toes look like individually wrapped Vienna sausages, but it could save you a toenail or two.
2. Try an ice bath after a long run. It’s absolutely, ridiculously cold, but your legs will thank you. Just make sure you get in the tub first and then fill it with ice because attempting to step into freezing cold water is very difficult.
3. When you feel like you can’t breathe try taking a couple of deep inhales. This always helps me slow down my heart rate. Don’t worry if you can’t just yet, you’ll get there. The cardio can sometimes take a while to build up if you are just getting started.
3. Don’t worry about your speed! Trust me, I used to worry about getting faster constantly. But if you get the miles in first, the speed will follow. That turtle knew what was up. Slow and steady wins the race as they say.
4. Ice anything that hurts. Seriously. If you feel a twinge or a pang anywhere, ice it. I’m pretty sure ice falls is the runners best friend after Body Glide of course.
5. Speaking of Body Glide, go buy some. You will chafe. You can be 95 pounds or 195 pounds, it doesn’t matter. You will chafe. And Body Glide will save the day.
6. Get a massage! I know this is not an astounding tip and you are thrilled to oblige me, but I’m serious here. The massage is a wonderful way to treat yourself for a job well done and get some healing to sore muscles in the process.
7. Sign up for a race or set a definite goal. If I wasn’t constantly signed up for races I don’t know how much I’d run. Even if you say to yourself, today I’m going to get to 5 miles, then do it! These goals no matter the size, help keep you motivated.
FNGs you can do it! There is no magic trick to getting stronger and being a better runner. All it takes is persistence and dedication. You sometimes gotta be like Nemo…just keep running…just keep running…
I need the folks in the comments to add tips please. I’m sure we could learn a thing or two from each other, especially the FNGs.
Happy Friday! May your weekends be long and your runs be fun. Deuces.
Do NOT eat spicy Mexican the night before a long run. Unless you want to be blowing up every bathroom along your route!
In a related note: runners are gross. Get used to it.
Running doesn't have to be an expensive sport, but I would definitely recommend invensting in two things: 1. A good pair of shoes. Visit a store that can measure your gait and fit you to a shoe that is right for you. It will prevent painful injuries down the road and you will be more comfortable. I used to get black toe until I found out I was wearing the wrong size. 2. A heart rate monitor. Running is a cardiovascular activity. It trains your heart. Your heart pumps blood through your body. A result of proper exercise is that your heart will be able to pump more blood through your body with every heart beat. So it will need less beats to do the same amount of work for you. A monitor will help you keep track of where your heart rate is and how it will improve with running. You don't need a $400 GPS one, but the entry level ones start around $50. Lastly, this tip is free, but KEEP A RUNNING LOG! Absolutely, must do. For many runners, keeping a running log is an excellent way to keep track of their progress. In a running log you enter basic information about your runs. Track your distance, time and type of workout. You can also be more comprehensive and regularly put in your weight and pulse. Add in your races and PRs. It is extremely motivating to see your mileage increase and your weight and pulse decrease as your running program progresses! Try running-log.com for a free log. My own running coach uses it.
1. All marathons are 26.2 miles. However, if you sign up for one, someone is bound to ask you, how far is THAT marathon? Practice answering this question with grace. Trust me.
2. If you are a runner, you are crazy. The terms are redundant, so there is really no need to say crazy runner.
3. Your friends don't even drive as far as you run.
4. If you start running, everyone in your office and all of your friends who do not run will automatically see you as the running expert. You can have a lot of fun with this one.
5. On a more serious note, remember to enjoy the run. Sometimes you need to just step out the door with no watch and just run because it feels good.
#2 – OR – you could follow the Chi Running Philosphy and take a hot bath (jacuzzi/hot tub are also options).
I'm a HUGE fan of toe socks. Just got them in grey so that I can wear them with some of my work shoes. Shhhhhh. don't tell.
Snot rockets, nuff said……………
Great post! LOL!
I concur with all suggestions so far. I will add however that if you are weary of porta-potties you need to get over that fast, same goes for going outside. It happens. And socks can be used in absence of TP. Not that I know this personally but I've heard through the grapevine and I like to share the wealth.
Also, if you weren't OCD before, you will be by the time you get knee deep into training. Welcome to the dark side.
Practice snot rocketing. Don't wait for race day.
TNTCoach is DEAD ON! Live with it and don't complain about it because it isn't stopping. Farts also happen, just keep running.
It will hurt one day and it will be glorious the next. Don't try to figure it out. Just keep doing it.
Smile while you do it. It takes away the pain and makes the people around you look at you like you are crazy, which you are b/c you are a runner.
You will feel the need to attempt a triathlon. Do it.
Don't run in the same areas over and over and don't run at the same times over and over. Running is the best travel guide. You see different areas of where you live before the sun rises, during the sun rise and when the sun sets and each of them is glorious.
Find a healthy relationship with food because it is no longer there to scarf down but is going to be fuel for your fire.
What a great list.
I wish toe socks didn't hurt my toes. They're so CUTE!
Thanks for all the good advise! Just learned some things I didn't know.
I fully agree with Casey and the good shoes. This is so important. Another good thing to have – for woman at least – is a good sports bra. It makes my runs so much nicer!
Your gear doesn't have to be expensive. I got a lot of $7 tech shirts from TJ Maxx and Marshalls. They are as good as expensive ones.
If you run in the dark, invest in some safety gear. Cars won't see you unless you wear some lights/saftey vests. With a good head light you can see where you are running – that can avoid twisted ankles because of uneven surfaces.
Ask questions and listen to the answers – that's the way to learn. 🙂
Jess, you just made me laugh with the marathon question. Thanks.
Be patient…I've been running for almost five years now. I still can't do snot rockets…I run with a wrist guard for this reason. Although I am willing to blow my nose into my shirt too. (see Harold's comment above)
Learn what the PC's are and what you can do to prevent them (as much as you can).
Water is your friend. Not only is it tasty and keeps your skin clear, it helps to cushion the joints. You should always drink and run (with water, of course…just thought I'd throw that in!).
Great post, B.o.B.! Three things I wish I'd known:
1. Double layer socks. Even technical fabric running socks can leave you with blisters if they are single layer.
2. Set the incline on the dreadmill to 0.5% or 1% for EVERY run on it. It does a better job mimicking outdoor running and will help to save your shins.
3. The first two weeks will hurt like hell–this is normal. Your shins are probably not splintering in to. Almost everyone gets shin splints at first. It WILL pass. But you might always feel like a member of fight club mornings after a long run or speed work.
I'm an FNG and almost gave up because of my shins feeling like they were exploding. I'm getting slightly better, but I still sound like a humpback whale as I gasp for breath. I'm really, really out of shape and have a loooong way to go. It was interesting to read these tips. The farting and snot rockets made me LOL. One question – is wearing cotton bad because it stays wet and feels heavy? Also (ok, it's more than 1 question) – what's a good brand of sports bra?
Hi Erin! I didn't see an email on your blog so I hope you get this. First things first, starting out sucks, but stick with it! It will get easier.
The shins splints seem to happen to all FNGs, so keep at it. Rest and ice as needed of course.
Cotton sucks because it gets wet and doesn't breathe. Thus you were correct on it feeling heavy and hot!!!
I wear the Champion sports bras as Target. My sister who is on the opposite end of the boob spectrum, as in, she has them, wears them too! They are affordable and come in 1 million different colors.
OMG, I'm cracking up at all the O(old)FG's comments! too funny.
I remember when you were a FNG….glad to see you are still out there! Cheers
Erin, I am wearing a Nike Sports Bra (bought it at a outlet for a good price). I saw the discussion of good sports bras on Dailymile the other day. I am not sure if you can access the links without a account but it's worth a try. http://www.dailymile.com/forums/anything-goes/topics/8900-for-women-to-answer
And on the Runners World website they have an article about sport bras as well. http://www.runnersworld.com/article/1,7124,s6-238-275–12015-0,00.html
Always take along a napkin or two. They ALWAYS come in handy. Do not use paper towels, they are too abrasive.
Also, buy some gels and eat one every 45 minutes.
Hydrate, at least 20 ounces every hour, while you run.
Those are great tips, great post.
Thanks for the tips and the suggestion to look at Target – this was fun to read. Thanks for the encouragement. I'm looking forward to the day when this is more fun than painful. Haha 🙂
All fabulous tips! It has taken me nearly a year a half of running before I had chafing. Holy cow! Now if only some place in my town sold Body Glide! I'm seriously going to invest in it, even if it is only one skirt that I own that causes the chafe!