As beginners, we all get so overwhelmed with the notion that, simply put.... I'LL DIE TO MAKE MYSELF AN EXPERIENCED RUNNER IF I HAVE TO! We get so wound up in our training we tend to forget that, we are just that. Beginners. When learning something new, one must always be patient with themselves. Now, I've been running awhile now. I however recently decided I am still a n00b. I decided, to start my training from scratch and while doing so I've had every beginner thought/mistake in the book. (I probably invented some new ones along the way as well)
1) Dehydration and vomiting in the bushes. Yep, that has sure happened! Dehydration, probably more than I realize; but only once have I been so dehydrated I actually threw up. It was actually, just this past weekend. I was in Maryland and committed to the idea that, just because I was on vacation, did not mean my training was! So, my second day there -- I slept in due to the wine consumed the night before and the snuggles occurring in the wee hours of the morning by a soundly sleeping boyfriend (who can get out of bed at 6am on vacation, when they have a man wrapping them up in a cocoon of snuggles? Not this girl.) I was by no means DRUNK the night before, just warm and bubbly feeling, however, any alcohol is a serious dehydrating substance. Anywho -- This day I was only supposed to run 3 miles, but the trail I found was just GORGEOUS (thank you mapmyrun route search). So, when my phone started alarming me that I had hit my 3 miles, I just laughed (out loud, like a lunatic) and called up Zack and said something along the lines of "don't get too excited for breakfast, this lady is running the last 3 miles of this dang GORGEOUS trail. Meet me where it lets out by the hotel" I started feeling side stitches during the last 3 miles, which is a huge indicator to me that I need water. But, the tiny bottle I took from out hotel mini fridge wasn't cutting it. (Would have for my original 3 miles, I swear!) As I'm pushing through my last 1.5 miles the sun is peeking through the trees that are now further and further apart and since it's creepin' up on the 11oclock hour in sunny Maryland, it's rising in temperature, FAST. I finally make it to the end and jog out of the trail/trees and see Zack. Wide eyed and smiley, waiting to get our grub on... and I just push (literally) him on the shoulder out of my way and just toss every bit of whatever is left in my stomach from the night before. Looking up to say with sobbing breaths (I have a serious vomiting phobia) to apologize to runners/dog walkers passing by as well as Zack for having to witness this.
Bottom line? DEHYDRATION IS DANGEROUS Y'ALL.
2) Comparing yourself to others
This is by far, the most difficult rookie habit for me to kick. I simply may never do it. But, I know how damaging it is to my spirit and my training. I feel realizing it's a bad bad BAD habit, is at least a step in the right direction... right? I mean, the first step to solving anything is admitting there's a problem... Anyways, There are two main people who got me into running. Both of those people are freakin' running gods. I swear by it. The one, picked up running and within such a small time frame was running absurdly fast half marathons. I wanted to cry the first time I saw her post her final half time and mile paces. It took everything I had not to give up then and there (to be honest, I kind of did for awhile. Leading me to where I am now, after having decided to pick it back up last month) But, WE ARE ALL SO DIFFERENT. OUR BODIES ARE MADE DIFFERENTLY. OUR PREVIOUS HISTORY IN RUNNING OR SPORTS OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS SO DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER. My lesson over time has been that, ANYBODY can run. As long as we have the determination ANYONE who has functional legs can run, if they want to, if they dedicate their time and effort into it. The problem is it doesn't happen over night. & as humans, we tend to like immediate gratification.
3) Going out too fast, too soon
This is something I am still working on, however am getting MUCH better at. In high school I was a sprinter. I ran 100m dashes, 75 hurtles, and 200s. So, when it came to transitioning from a speed demon to a distance runner, all hell broke loose. I couldn't help it. When my brain said "run" my body said "FAST". I would barely make it a mile before the side stitches started to occur and I felt like a 5-pack-a-day-since-I-was-7 smoker with my frantic breathing. With time I started doing better and better. finally, I thought I had cured myself of this ailment all together. Wrong-o! Once I got my stride I was ready to take my 5k trainings up a notch. TIME TO GET READY TO BEAT PEOPLE. Why is this my mission? Can't I just be happy finishing? Apparently not. however, as time continues my pace gets more and more reasonable and with it, my breathing feels loads better and my form stays at the top of it's game THE ENTIRE TIME (me? No way!)
4) Lack of support
Until I started dating Zack, I never really discussed my training/running goals with anyone. I just, ran. I made my own training schedule, I ran, I came home, showered, went to work. There was hardly any discussion with anyone about my progress, there was no one to get all excited with when I hit a new personal goal. It really made being excited for myself, that much more difficult. I realized while starting to open up about my goals to Zack when we first began running, it was because I was afraid of disappointing them or looking like a fool when I didn't do as well as I had planned, or if I just quit all together (which isn't going to happen, but at one time I was not of that notion). Which made me realize "wait, that's exactly the reasoning I need TO talk to people. Motivation. If I ever don't feel like doing it for myself, well I just HAVE to prove myself to someone at this point. Because I took the liberty of opening my gosh darn mouth" After all, fear has always been my most powerful motivator. So, I decided it was time to use it for my own benefit. But more than that, knowing you have people supporting you is a great feeling. It's like when I was applying to culinary schools when I had first graduated college. The first question was always "does your family support this decision" that's because..... As much as we love to rebel as a society, we DO want to make the people in our lives proud. But, how can we make them proud if they don't even know we're doing something in the first place?
5) Pushing too hard and tearing every muscle known to man
Well okay, maybe I am pushing the truth a little on that one. You probably wont screw up EVERY muscle... Almost every beginner runner I have ever known has put on too many miles too soon. As a result, we end up hurt. BE WARE OF WARNING SIGNS. ALWAYS LISTEN TO THEM. (Easier said than done, I know) If you are feeling achy, sore, crackly in places you normally aren't... Cool it. Ease yourself. I've once been of the same notion, but I have come to learn that there is NOTHING and I mean nothing wrong with walking during a run if you need to. Walking it out is much better and less damaging to your spirit, training, and body than say....... pushing through and screwing up your knees, or pulling a hamstring. GRADUALLY build your miles (don't do what I did in my #1 story) and when your training calls for a rest day. You shall rest. Or you will be cursing at yourself in 3 different languages later (okay... Maybe that's just me)
There are about 10 million other rookie mistakes out there, but these are the ones that really call to me and just about every runner I've ever met. (Or at least did...when they were n00bz) what were your rookie mistakes? & what ones do you catch yourself still doing (every now and then we are all guilty!)