Thursday, January 24, 2008

Advice for a New Runner

So you’re a beginning runner looking for some sage advice, you’re searching for some tips or guidelines. It’s hardly surprising that your pursuit has led you to Half-Fast as it is widely considered the definitive runner’s how-to. Bookmark the site now as your source for advice, motivation, and training techniques all spilled forth in an honest forthright manner.

Perhaps taking up running was one of your resolutions and you have some questions about races, or training, or running shoes, or how many miles to run, or how many days to run. But stop right there. You're already getting ahead of yourself, let me first give you one universal piece of advice that should be heeded by all new runners: Quit.

That’s right, just quit. Seriously. Just stop before you get addicted. Leave now while you still can. It’s too late for me, heck it’s too late for most of the regulars who read and comment here at Half-Fast, but it’s not too late for you rookie runner with the brand spankin’ new shoes. Save yourself while you still can. You’ll save yourself hundreds of dollars in race fees, technical running gear, cold weather gear, hot weather gear, reflective gear, rain gear not to mention the amount of money you’ll end up spending replacing your running shoes every 400 - 500 miles.

You’ll feel guilty when you skip a run. Your toenails will turn black and fall off, and what’s even worse is that you’ll be happy about it as though it was some sick rite of passage. Your grocery budget will be consumed by gels and Gatorade. You’ll get so obsessive about your mileage, your pace, and your heart rate that you’ll spend hours pouring over your training log. You’ll need to purchase a Garmin (another couple hundred dollars at least) to keep better track of your training runs and to analyze your running in greater depth. People will look at you like you’re crazy because you ARE crazy for thinking about taking up running.

You’ll start reading running blogs, then you’ll start commenting on running blogs, and before you know it you’ll start your own running blog. Your chief worry will be what you’re going to blog about if you don’t run, and you’re going to have to be consistent with your blogging in order to make “blogging running friends.” These folks will be important to you when you keep blowing off your other friends’ invitations to go out for drinks because you have a run scheduled and you’re abstaining from alcohol until after your next race. Oh yeah, and then there’s that whole abstaining from alcohol prior to a race idiocy. Don’t even get me started on that.

You’re thinking “no, it won’t happen to me. I can quit whenever I want to, I won’t fall that deeply into it.” You fool. It already has happened to you. You’re already past the point of no return. Need further proof? You’re still here reading this post aren’t you? Wouldn’t a sensible person have left long ago, somewhere around the missing toenails and the abstaining from alcohol?

Welcome to the club... sucker. Now go start a blog already.

I’m sure that the regulars here can also provide some additional “advice” for you in the comments.

38 comments:

  1. Great advice, but where was it when I started? Dang this sport.

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  2. The worst part about that post is that it's all true. First thing I say to any friends who tell me they're thinking about doing a marathon is "Don't"

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  3. Totally true. It starts with one measly mile and next thing you know you can't stop.
    It's a little like crack.....

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  4. Totally true. It starts with one measly mile and next thing you know you can't stop.
    It's a little like crack.....

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  5. I'm at the point now where I'm happier buying running gear than actual everyday clothes :-X :-X

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  6. Run away. Run away as fast as you can. I'm missing a run today, but I feel like I need to post SOMETHING. Like I said, run away!

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  7. OMG, too funny...so glad no one warned me though.

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  8. Every morning when I wake up, I look to see how much "worse" my toenail has gotten. I am thrilled (THRILLED) to report that it has gone from lilac to a deep purple. I am eagerly awaited the next phase, which I can only hope involves the toenail coming off completely.

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  9. We get excited about who has the nastiest blisters too. In fact we take pictures of blisters and purple toe-nails and put them on our blogs for all runners to see.

    And I'm with Marcy, I'd way rather buy super cute running clothes, than super cute regular clothes. I have a problem.

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  10. Yep, we are a sorry bunch. All those things sounded EXCITING. If they interested you at all, you're already totally screwed.

    I ran in SLEET and SNOW the other day and felt like it was crack.

    We're just sick.

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  11. "Abstaining from alcohol"?! Who the heck is doing that? You need to be drunk to do this running thing all the time!

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  12. I am with Marcy, it is all about the cute clothes..LOL! Great post as usual Vanilla. I am still a toe nail virgin. Looking forward to it like a sicko.

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  13. I laughed because it was funny and I cried because it was true! You've pretty much nailed my downward spiral into this evil, evil addiction. I have an equally addicted friend with whom I compare blackened toe nails on a daily basis. I need help...

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  14. Aaaahhh, it happened so quickly I hadn't noticed... and now I have started my own running blog I guess I have reached the point of no return.

    There's nothing left to do but to surrender to it now. I guess I'm a runner then!

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  15. This is great! Of it's course the first post I read after joinging the Running Blog network ... I'm looking forward to making "Running Blogging friends" and losing my toenails!

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  16. Ugh, and don't forget all the money that you will spend traveling to the *must-run* races...it's a very dangerous obsession.

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  17. Well written... and so true. Totally saw myself in that! ;)

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  18. If I can't drink before a run or sleep in on Sundays, why should anyone else be able to? So what the hell, join the club!

    And after you've got one run under your belt, keep going. It's like having kids. Once you have one, your life is ruined anyways. You might as well have more.

    How's that for inspiring advice?

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  19. My first half-marathon is Sunday. And I just started blogging a little over a month ago. Is there still time for me to get out of this cult? :)

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  20. Having just over one year of running experience and recently run my first marathon, I have to say, I now understand the phrase...

    "Welcome to the dark side..."

    I used to blog about life. Now I blog about running...

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  21. Written by a true addict who will never recover and give it up completely...

    Nanc's comment cracked me up!

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  22. I had my first taste when I was in high school, then in college I kicked the habit and live my life like intended in a mid-western school, by drinking copious amounts of bad vodka and peach schnapps. I thought that I was doing great, then I started to get that crack itch again, I couldn't sit still, and my body ached. Well it didn't take long until I was full-on hooked all over again. I think I need help...

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  23. Abstaining from alcohol to train for marathon: worst. mistake. ever.

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  24. It only becomes a problem when it starts to effect the other areas of your life - like friends, job, relationships, finances. I'm fine. Really. Everything is fine. Just mind your own business. (Slams door and turns on loud rock music)

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  25. You’ll start reading running blogs, then you’ll start commenting on running blogs, and before you know it you’ll start your own running blog. Your chief worry will be what you’re going to blog about if you don’t run, and you’re going to have to be consistent with your blogging in order to make “blogging running friends.”

    Ah yes, this was so me last year. Okay...so it is still so me. Hilarious post Vanilla. You totally hit the nail on the head!

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  26. I'm all about adding up my mileage, buying new clothes, and blogging about my runs and workouts. I even went to see a MOVIE about running this week! I'm totally screwed, aren't I?

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  27. you forgot the part about the endless doctor/ortho/podiatrist/PT visits, the looking up symptoms on dr. google, and the endless injury cycle.

    and NOW YOU TELL ME!

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  28. I've just started running (albeit slowly, but surely!). I think instead of heeding your advice I'll just aspire to be a "complainer" like you one day. :)

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  29. So very true! But I wouldn't give it up for the world! :)

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  30. You don't mention the inevitable injuries, which mean that the newly toned figure you've acquired through running, allowing the purchase of elegant new clothes, can only be shod in Birkenstocks until your tendon injury is healed...

    ... but I wouldn't have it any other way!!

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  31. I wish someone would have told me this 2.5 years ago. :P

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  32. Too late. http://lifestrides.blogspot.com/2008/02/excellent.html

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  33. Gads, what have I gotten myself into.

    What is this about black toenails and blisters? I've yet to experience that. Am I doing something wrong?

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  34. hiya


    Just saying hello while I read through the posts


    hopefully this is just what im looking for looks like i have a lot to read and then a lot to wright

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  35. Great advice! If anyone does want some advice on starting to run, then let me know.

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  36. My first running blog post I'm also past the point of no return and couldn't be happier

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