10 Things I wish I knew as a NEW runner!

January 29, 2013

I saw THIS article the other day and loved the idea behind it so much that I wanted to do it on the blog!  I started running when I was 12 but didn’t start running races until I was 23 and over the years I have learned some things about running.     

Here is a list of some of the things that I wish I would have known as a new runner and a few of them I took directly from the article because they were perfect for me.  PS let’s be honest… some of them I am still learning and working on. 

1.   Every race is not going to be a PR.  This one was hard for me to learn because my first three marathons were ALL PERSONAL RECORDS.  After that I had a bunch of races that I did not do so hot in and I finally realized that it is NORMAL to not always have a good race.  There are so many factors that go into having a good race that don’t always go right (weather, stomach issues, injury, sleep, sickness etc).   Sometimes you should just go into a race to have fun.  I learned to not take running so seriously.  

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2.  Take in fuel during your long runs and races.  I was so confused when I saw all of the runners around me EATING while they were running during my first marathon.  I knew that I was supposed to drink water and gatorade but I had no idea that to preform your best you should take in actual calories!  Lesson learned when I hit the wall hard.   Now I know that skittles, swedish fish and candy corn make the best fuel ever but this is still something I am still working on.

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3.  Do more than just run.  I thought that the only thing you needed to do to become a better runner was to run!

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4.  Let your body recover.   For a few years I would work out 7 days a week.   I was crazy, I know.  For some people that works but for my body, I NEED time to recover properly.  I thought that the more I ran, the faster I would be but in reality it just meant getting injured more often.

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(Cheering my sis on from the sidelines at a race that I was supposed to race but couldn’t because of injury)

5.  Save your racing for the race…. don’t kill yourself off in your workouts.

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6.  EASY RUNS are so so important.  I used to go out and think that every run needed to be the same pace or faster than the day before.  I had no idea that you were supposed to actually include days running a much slower pace.

7.  I learned this lesson over the last few weeks:  

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8.  Take a day off when something really hurts.  This was a hard lesson for me to finally learn.  As a new runner/racer I pushed through the pain more than I should have and ended up with some serious injuries. Taking a few days off from running because something is hurting is A LOT better than running through the pain and ending up taking a few MONTHS off due to injury.

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9.  Run with other people.  I was always too intimated to run with other people when I first started running but over the years I have learned that running with other people is one of my most favorite things ever.  It makes me happy and when you run with faster people then you get faster too.  

10.  Running takes time!   It takes months to train for races, a heck of a lot of time to build up endurance and years to train for your really big goals.  It takes consistency and dedication.  There aren’t any shortcuts. It is so worth it. 


What are some of the things that you wish you knew as a new runner!?!?

What running related injuries have you gone through?

To go along with #3… what else do you do besides running to make you a better runner?

How long have you been running?

Elizabeth @ My Neon Running Shoes January 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I’ve been running for 15 years… Over half my life! Two things I wish I knew were
1. It gets soooo much easier over time.
2. Don’t limit yourself! Your body is amazing and can do things you never dreamed!


Potatoes and Pilates January 29, 2013 at 2:09 pm

To be honest, the first time I heard about “fuel” was on Hungry Runner Girl:)

Love that picture of you and your Skittle stash!

Thanks for sharing these tips!

P.S. No Brooke pictures!?


The Hungry Runner Girl January 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

AHHHH I will make up for the Brooke pics in the next post:) Glad you learned about fuel from the blog! have an amazing day!


Melissa January 29, 2013 at 2:11 pm

#4 is one I really should have paid more attention to. I haven’t injured myself much persay, but now I have stupid adrenal fatigue. Likely from running marathons too close together, 3 years in a row :-(
Now I can’t run


The Hungry Runner Girl January 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Melissa! That is so sad! I am truly so sorry!


Lol April 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Adrenal fatigue isn’t a real thing! Google it…


Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution January 29, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I’ve only been running for a few years, so I AM a new runner compared to you and some of your readers, so it’s awesome to read these things. The one thing I like that you’ve mentioned a few times is to run easy sometimes. I used to do every run at a super fast pace, thinking I was making myself a stronger runner, but really I ended up hurting my IT band and having to take 4 weeks off completely from running! It was terrible!

I’ve recently started weight training hardcore, to be honest, to begin with it was because my upper body needed to catch up with my legs, but now I just love it. I’m even doing some Crossfit lately and it’s helping with my endurance.


Leah January 29, 2013 at 2:11 pm

1. Get off the treadmill! Outdoor running is so much more rewarding! You can do it!
2. Find a running community because soon you’ll start to get obsessed and your non-running friends DO NOT CARE about your dead toenails, your favorite gel, or your life-changing Garmin. Your running friends, on the other hand, will talk to you about this stuff for days.


kim@hungryhealthygirl January 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Great info. Running definitely takes time, but if you put in the time and the effort, you will see results. I think crosstraining is really important for runners…it keeps your endurance up while allowing your body to recover.


Ranae January 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm

What a great topic!I really need to work on fueling properly!


Jade January 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I have been running since I was 12 as well…sadly I took ages 20-26 mostly off, that is a long time to not do something you love! I ran my first couple years of college and new NOTHING about running. I just ran hard all the time, didn’t eat much so I would be lighter and run faster (dumb!) and then got injured and sick! I am sure I still have lots to learn, but you are right that you really do learn a lot over the years from experience :)


AmandaC January 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Love the theme – how about a post about things you wish someone had told you pregnancy/running while pregnant?


The Hungry Runner Girl January 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm

That is an awesome idea! Thank you Amanda!


Alina January 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I wish I knew that cross-training was the way to go! I’m in better shape now that I lift weights and try to other things like yoga or cycling. When I was just running–I would always get injured. I really like doing some sort of exercise everyday (even if it’s just a hike). But running everyday is just crazy!! So now I can give by body a chance to rest by doing yoga or something low impact.


Randi January 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I loved this!! I make mistakes…a lot and learn from them. I am constantly learning from runners like you, my physical therapist, and trail and error. Thanks!!!


Erin January 29, 2013 at 2:21 pm

I’ve been running seriously for about 2 years (ran my first marathon last year and qualified for Boston). However, this post came at a perfect time because after one of my runs last week I developed a pretty bad pain on the side of my foot. It went away enough for me to do my long run this weekend (16 miles) but now I haven’t run since Saturday and I am really scared that it’s a stress fracture :( I’m going to see a doctor this week. It will break my heart because I may not be able to run Boston this year but I know that in the long run, taking some time off now will be much better than years of time off later. Thanks for this post :)


The Hungry Runner Girl January 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm

AHHHHHH ERIN!!!! I am so worried about your foot. Please let me know what the doctor says… I’ll be thinking about you!


Holly January 30, 2013 at 7:28 am

Is the pain on the outside of your foot, across from your arch? If so, it may be your cuboid. Have you gotten new shoes recently or are you rotating a few pairs or maybe worn down your normal go to pair? I find my cuboid to be extremely tender when I try different brands-I’m a Brooks only kinda gal. I find rolling with a golf ball and ice to be super helpful and always a new pair if shoes. It’s never worth the pain to make a shoe work for you. I’m hoping you’ve been fit for a running shoe that is designed with your gait in mind, but if not, head to your local running shop, the local-no chains attached- are full of everyday passionate runners who want to see you run, not sell everything under the moon, and have a wealth of running injury knowledge usually from personal experience. Good luck and keep thinking positive, you have 2.5 months to get everything sorted out =)


Erin January 30, 2013 at 9:33 am

Thank you so much for this advice! I actually have been rotating shoes. I just recently bought the Brooks Pureflows. I’m in LOVE with them and wear them all the time but I was thinking now maybe I should wear them more for just fast runs and races and rotate with others with a bit more support for long and easy runs. I have never actually been fitted for running shoes by a professional so I am going today to do that AND buy a foam roller (never used one of those either. Ah! I’m terrible.) I’m seeing a podiatrist tomorrow as well to get it checked out! Thanks again!


Beth @ Miles and Trials January 29, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Great tips. I wished I would have followed #8, instead I did a long run on Saturday with super sore calves going into it and now I have a pulled calf muscle. It is so hard to learn what niggles I can run through and what needs rest and time off.


The Hungry Runner Girl January 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Beth, BOOOO to your pulled calf muscle. It really is tough trying to figure out if it is truly an injury or if something is just tight and you can still run on it!


Amanda @ .running with spoons. January 29, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Absolutely love this list – thanks for sharing, Janae! #10 is one that especially applies to me. I’ve tried getting into running more times than I can count but I always get discouraged over how difficult it is and end up giving up because I convince myself that I’m just not a natural runner. I look at someone like you, for example, and think to myself… it must just come so easy for her… so it’s nice to know that even you need to work on it a bit :)


Rebecca January 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I have not been running NEARLY as long as others (even though I am nearing that “old lady” range) but I had to learn that bad runs happen…doesn’t mean you suck. I would really beat myself up if I wouldn’t do as good one day as I did the last.


michelle kim January 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I definitely think keeping expectations in a realm of reality is important. Plus, we need to know that for races, there are conditions that are completely out of our hands (such as the weather). In that case, we have to let go and look forward to the next race.
I also think running around without a watch or timer from time to time is nice. It reminds us of everything we love about running and how it makes us feel.


Brooke @ Running In Heels January 29, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Love this!! A lot of these were really hard for me to learn, especially listening to your body but I’m so happy that I did!


Traci January 29, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Great advice for a new wanna be runner, like myself!


Andra January 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I’ve had soooo many injuries and I couldnt agree more with these tips! I’ve had to learn to run less and cross train more in order to avoid having IT band issues, tendonitis, etc.
I think changing my form to not heel striking has also helped me loads…shin splints are not a problem anymore :)
Wish I knew about heel striking and how it is BAD and about what shoes to wear. I started out wearing the WRONG shoes. I love the brooks pure flows btw :) Never going back to another shoe!


Carolee January 29, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I have been running for about 10 years! A foam roller is a MUST after dealing with IT band problems! Love my trail runs most of all.


Katie January 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm

@ Erin- Definitely rest your foot. One mistake I had was to “run through the pain”. I had gotten seen by a ortho and by the ER for severe foot pain. They told me it was nothing. Ran through the pain and ended up in a boot for six months!!! One year later and I am just getting back, and getting back is way harder than you think it will be. You have to start from scratch again! Better to rest up now rather than have to take months off!


Deana January 29, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I have learned you can’t go from a 3-4 mile to 7-8 miles overnight. Ease into longer run distances and make sure you fuel. Saving ‘calories’ by not fueling, will do you no good.

I got injuried on my first 11 mile run by not slowing my pace down. I was racing for time against myself and stressed my knee out. Caused me to miss last 4-5 wks of half marathon training.

Still need to remind myself to slow down a bit.


dana a. January 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm

oh perfect timing for this article! i really needed to read these.

What are some of the things that you wish you knew as a new runner!?!?
Don’t run everyday! I did and developed shin splints.

What running related injuries have you gone through?
just shin splints so far:)

To go along with #3… what else do you do besides running to make you a better runner?
take a rest day, eat healthy and have fun! you will have bad runs and runs that make you feel incredible!

How long have you been running?
since august 2011 but in the last year i have really tried a lot harder to be more consistent and am now training for a 1/2 marathon!


Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I’ve always wanted to be a runner but I don’t think I have the dedication to do it. I should start, though, because my building has a gym right across from it that we can use. There’s really no reason not to do it!


Andrea @ mainerunnergirl January 29, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I’ve been running since I was 12 and have always loved it. It definitely was a hard lesson to learn that not every race will be a PR and I’ve been I quite a rut lately!!! I also learned that you need to eat and drink and its ok to stop and stretch during long runs! And running with people will always be my favorite way to get to know someone!


Tiffany January 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I’ve been running for 4-5 years, but just started trying races 2-3 years ago. I have made so many of these mistakes even if I read not to do these things! Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way LOL.

No injuries yet, praise the heavens, I think it is mainly from yoga. I have had shin splints before, but it’s usually from not replacing shoes soon enough. I need to stop relearning that mistake.


Rachel @ Operation Rosebud January 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Started running regularly when I was in ROTC in 2001 and had someone give me HORRIBLE advice on my running. Basically, told me to lengthen my stride, which turned me into a heel striker and led to MANY injuries. Longest injury was Plantar fasciitis for 2 years! I kept running through the pain– bad idea! Best cross training– YOGA!! It’s kept me injury free as I’ve trained for this latest 15mile race!


Dana January 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I think I already know what you’re going to say, but if you have a day where you are ‘taking it more easy’, do you ever power walk on the treadmill? Or just walk at a moderate pace? :-)

Just curious, thanks!


The Hungry Runner Girl January 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I don’t do power walks or walking on the treadmill but on my easy days I slow down my pace 1-2 minutes per mile!


Rachel January 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I also used to be intimidated to run with other people too! I started running with my friend Heather about a year ago and I actually hate doing runs without her now. I’ve been running for just about 4 years.


Michelle January 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm

This was so helpful you cannot believe. I started running last January and ended up getting injured around early October. I just recently started running again and this made me smile because it’s been a hard time trying to get back into running. I look at you and see what I can become. Thank You!


Sabrina January 29, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Number 10 is my favorite. Though all my races and injuries I want running to be easy RIGHT NOW. I’m learning it doesn’t work that way.


HollieisFueledByLOLZ January 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm

My two favorites: Not every race will be a PR and do not race your workouts. So many newer runners think they must PR every single run they do and it only leads to injury. Also I don’t get injured when I add cross training to the mix. I don’t know I think it’s certainly a key component.


Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I wish I knew how important foam rolling and stretching were! Yoga is great as a form of cross training!


Nicole@TheKidlessKronicles January 29, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I wish I had known to not push my pace too fast. And to that end, I ended up with a stress fracture. And now this quad/it band/knee thing. I am being patient.

The Kidless Kronicles


penny@herworldlypleasures January 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I have been running only since 2010 and was a couch potato until then so I can consider myself a fairly new runner.

I wish I had known to warm my body up every time I run and how important foam rolling is. My last race taught me that 50% of my success comes from efficient fuelling. I notice a world of difference since I know all these little things. Run and learn.


sMiles From Callie January 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Great list! One of the things I did when I first started running was read running blogs! They (including yours) inspired me to see what I could become if I stayed dedicated. My pace seemed to plateau about a year ago and I noticed that doing HIIT runs on the treadmill, spin classes and Body Pump all really helped me become SO much faster. For example, running 8:50 used to be fast, but now I can push myself to 7:50s during a 5k. That’s what I love about running…it only gets better!


The Hungry Runner Girl January 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm

THAT IS AWESOME! You are so right… it just gets better and better!


Sarah @pickyrunner January 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

I love these tips!! Especially the first time. I don’t consider myself a new runner since I’ve been competing for quite a few years now but I still struggle with that first one. I always get so frustrated when I don’t pr or when my body is just not feeling it. A lot of times it definitely has to do with overtraining. I think some of these tips are beneficial to everyone, not just newbies :)


Kristine January 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I’ve been running for over 12 years. Strength training is soo important. I am learning this the hard way – coming back from my first real injury which sidelined me for 2.5 months. Oh yes, and be patient…building an aerobic base takes time. When I first started running, there is no way I could have imagined I would be running the distances and times that I am now. It tooks years of solid running, patience, trial and error, and hiccups along the one. Most importantly have fun! Most of us are not Olympians except in our minds:)


Renae @ Missfit Mixed Chick January 29, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Thanks so much for this post right now. I just got back from a 5 mile run that I pushed to hard in. I was constantly looking at my pace and trying to run faster that I didn’t even get to enjoy it. I should have taken it easy. I felt miserable and came home and threw up. I did learn to listen to your body. I should have not pushed it that hard, I wasn’t ready for it just yet


Amy N. January 29, 2013 at 3:21 pm

I love this list! There are things that I’m still working on too, I have a hard time not being dissapointed when I don’t get a PR every race. I also can get too tied up in the time or speed on my watch and ignore my body. I’m trying to get better at listening to what pace my body wants to run.


Jamie January 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Thanks for sharing! I love reading all of your stuff and have learned a lot :) I have been running for almost 2 years. I used to feel like you…workout everyday, push harder during every run. Now I see the importance of easy runs and off days. I completed my first half in Oct and ended up with a strained peroneal tendon…never heard of that before!!! Had a to wear a big walking boot for 2 weeks. Luckily the pain started when I was finished and not during. Lots of rest and thankfully I was good to go!

As far as other workouts, I do strength training 2-3x’s a week and pilates :)

PS ~ I do not know how on earth you run for long periods of time on the treadmill!!!


Jazz January 29, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Humm, I’ve been running for about 5 years..

Things I have learned : go outside! (Especially if you’re racing outside.. why didn’t I think of that?)
– push yourself ! I used to just do 20 mins and be exhausted in high school, but when I started actually trying to go longer, it was easy!


Erica January 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Lesson learned: If you have a genuine love for running it will remain. Do not fear lack of motivation for a workout or a running slump it always comes back around tomorrow.


Danica @ It's Progression January 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Oh I love this list….I only started running 2 years ago, and last year I ran my first (and second) half marathon…even through this short amount of time I’ve learned SO incredibly much through running!
The toughest lesson for me to learn (I’m still struggling with it) is that mental competitiveness I get–similar to what you mentioned–fighting off the mentality that every run and race has to be better and faster than the last. When I think that way my runs are so much less enjoyable!


Beth January 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I love your first point. I actually find that I enjoy the races that I’m just running for fun more than my races in which I’m trying to PR. When I’m aiming for my PR I’m all focused on my pace and my breathing and what I need to do in order to PR, but when I’m runing a race for fun and just to finish, I take time to enjoy the scenery and just enjoy being in the race. I love the feeling at the finish line when I PR, but sometimes it’s nice to step back and just focus on enjoying the run.


Lauren January 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I started running when I was a junior in high school. As you know, I got surgery in June 2011 and have been having knee troubles/surgeries ever since… I kinda sorta think my running days were over. What did I learn? Eat. Runners must eat and cross train. The BEST cross-training I’ve found since then is swimming. That shit is HARD. I wish I would have read more as a novice because I have learned so much since this all happened!


Jesica @rUnladylike January 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm

These are such great tips for a new runner. I agree with all of them. I especially agree with saving your races for the actual race. I’ve made that mistake in the past … running too hard on a long run too close to a marathon and performing better in training than in a race. Live and learn :) Excellent list!


Lauren January 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm

PS. Don’t ever ice yourelf with ice cream! The deliciousness melts! Use peas instead!


Jessica January 29, 2013 at 3:33 pm

For me, Ive learned that i need more than 1 rest day a week, and i can only run a few times a week. I know you’ve posted about it before, but I’m looking for a plan for my first marathon in June, and was wondering if you could suggest some? I need one that isn’t very time intensive with the baby, so I’m looking around to decide something that works for me. Thanks!


Kurt Lindboom-Broberg January 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I certainly learned each of those in turn! What memories!! haha

Things I would add to your list…
11. Running shoes need to be 1.0 size bigger than normal shoes. It took three toenails to figure that one out!
12. Running shoes need not be what is prescribed for you. My first official running shoes were meant to correct my pronation and caused me to get Plantars, putting me out of running for nearly two months. Once I put on a neutral shoe, I was fine. Test a variety of shoes!! Trust the experts, but be skeptical and listen to your feet!
13. Pace yourself! I STILL haven’t figured out how to hold myself back adequately at races. However, my first few longer distance races were horrible on the back half because I went hard when I felt good early on. It’s taken a few years to realize that I need to save my energy.


Megan January 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I love this post. In the spirit of how much I love this post I want to answer ALL of your questions!
1)What are some of the things that you wish you knew as a new runner!?!? – I wish some one told me how expensive races were and that once you started racing you probably would never stop…
2)What running related injuries have you gone through? – thankfully just blisters galore and a mild case of plantars fasciitis for 2 weeks
3) What else do you do besides running to make you a better runner? – I do yoga once a week and crossfit / circuit training 3x a week!
4) How long have you been running? – I ran occasionally in college (3-5 miles at a time) I started running in February of 2012 and had my first race in March! 10 miler!


Amanda January 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm

This is a perfect post for me! I just signed up for my first half marathon and didn’t really understand the importance of fueling my body during a race. Also, it has always been hard for me to not be the best at every race. Reading this made me realize it’s okay if my pace isn’t faster during every run/race.


Amanda Davis January 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I wish I had known how important the right shoes were. I just picked out the cheapest shoes I could find and hit the road…did not end well.


Tonya @ Will Run For Yoga January 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I love this post! I have been running for 4 years and in that time have completed 11 half marathons and 2 fulls. In the beginning I did nothing but run and after my second full I ended up in physical therapy for a hip/ lower back injury. Now I strength train, practice yoga, and spin to keep myself strong and injury free.


Breanna January 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

In addition to absolutely everything listed above I would add: Don’t compare yourself to other runners!!!! Everyone begins at a different place and just because you can’t run a billion miles per week at a 6 min pace doesn’t make you any less of a runner. All that matters is YOU! And I would also say that your mind will give up a lot faster than your body will. If you told me a few years ago that I would run the distances that I do, I would have said you were crazy but we are capable of so much more than we think.

I tore my lateral collateral ligament and that was the worst injury for me. It kept me off training for over a month but I was able to still complete the TinkerBell half marathon and I’m doing great now.

I need to get better about strength training. But you have converted me to love spin so I’ve been doing that as another form of exercise.

I ran in high school on the track team, but I didn’t start doing races and longer distances until last year.


The Hungry Runner Girl January 29, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I love your comment so much. It is perfect! I hope it is okay if I share it on tomorrow’s post!


Breanna January 29, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Of course it is! I’m so glad and flattered that you would want to share it!


Kathee January 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I’ve been running about 7 years and have seemed to learn everything the hard way. 2 stress fractures and PF x 2. Very frustrating. The best thing I ever did for my running was core work and long slow runs. I still haven’t run a marathon, but that is the most awesome thing about running – your never too old and constantly learning!


Jessica R @ fromthekitchentotheroad January 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm

I ran for fitness for a few years. Only at the gym and only for 30 minutes. I started running to become an actual runner November of 2011. The only injury I have had was ITBS. I blame a poor shoe on that. No matter what strength workouts, stretching, or amount of time I took off fixed it. Once I finally decided it might be the shoes and got a new pair the problem magically went away.


Kim January 29, 2013 at 4:20 pm

I love this post and it’s so perfectly timed for me -I hurt my foot last week while running too far for my current endurance. Ive been doing my best to hobble through each day, but I told my husband today that I am going to take advantage of warm weather predicted for tomorrow and go for a run. He reminded me that i cant really walk and i respnded by reminding him that he can’t tell me what to do :) Thanks for the reminder that it’s ok NOT to run when injured.
Anyway, I wish someone had told me more about the importance of hydration ( not just waiting till the day of the run or during a run, but really drinking enough on a regular basis to be hydrated. now I wish someone would talk a bit more more about good hydration options during a run. I really don’t like my fuel belt.


Allison January 29, 2013 at 4:22 pm

This is all great advice! I’ve been running for about 5 years and wish I knew about number 10 right away. I got so frustrated because I couldn’t go very far, but now I understand what a difficult sport it can be and that endurance really needs to be built up.


Jennifer V. January 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Great advice! You make me want to take up running. Almost.

Ramblings of a Suburban Mom


Ashley January 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm

This was such a great post, thanks for writing it! Even though I’m a runner, I don’t take in calories during my run because of terrible gastrointestinal issues. Trying to figure out what will not make my stomach upset during a race.

There needed to be some Brooke pictures! Missed seeing her sweet face in this post :-)


Holly KN January 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Been running for 12 years. When I started, I wish someone had told me about Body Glide. :)

Injuries..hmm…I busted up an ankle pretty badly (warning – possible side effect of trail running!), and while hopping around in a cast, I broke a metatarsal in my other foot. It healed crooked, and metatarsals have been the bane of my existence since. Phooey. But, they’re my feet, and they carry me far, so I try to love them. :)

I also swim, spin, and yoga. I think yoga is a great thing for runners – yes, it improves flexibility and strength, but I also think it increases someone’s awareness of his/her body. And the foam roller. Does foam rolling count as cross-training? :)


Anne January 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I had no idea you didn’t start racing until 23!
I love hearing that becuase I have not been a huge racer until this past year when I found the value of #9, run with others. They pushed me to get faster!
Unfortunately at the same time, I figured out # 8 as well and suffered from a stress fracture I am just now recovering from.


Nerri January 29, 2013 at 5:39 pm

I’ve been running for 10+ years (ack!) and I wish I’d known to start out slowly so I wouldn’t feel like I was dying right away and want to quit running forever!

Things I do other than running: SPINNING! My favorite and I’m convinced it’s making me a better/faster runner :)

I’m on the recovery end (hopefully) of some pretty bad foot/calf pain that I think was tendonitis. Taking it easy and taking a break is the HARDEST thing ever.


Colleen January 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I’ve been racing since I was 17. I haven’t done a marathon in years b/c I’ve become addicted to adventure races. A 20 miles adventure race is just so much more fun than a 26.2 “plain” run–IMO. I have learned two man things from my running experience…both are very selective to me. 1) I do not perform well with carbohydrates as fuel. Healthy fats and iron rich meat make me insanely fast. 2) plyometrics and calisthenics are key to strengthening joints. I do killer p and c workouts 5x a week.
I missed seeing Brooke in tha post!


Rene Hall January 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm

I’ve been running for 2 1/2 years. I still have a hard time fueling during long runs and races. I feel nauseous no matter what I try. I am really good at cross training. I do weights at least twice a week, pilates once or twice and usuallly a boot camp type class. Luckily I’ve avoided injury (so far).


Monica L January 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Great article Janae! I’m a new runner so this was all GREAT advice! I just started resistance weight training and then on cross training days I do the elliptical or bike. Do you really fuel with candy? Because I would much prefer that to those nasty gels/gu thingys. I’ve been running for 6 months and was a MAJOR couch potato before that. I’m very proud how far I’ve come since then. My shins hurt all the time now-does that make me a true runner or do I have to lose a toenail for that? WHERE IS THE PICTURE OF BROOKE????? :)


Holly KN January 29, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Awesome work, Monica! As for your shins…If you don’t already, may I suggest…calf sleeves! Love those things, both during and after workouts. They actually help quite a lot of people with persistent shin issues.

Also, strengthening exercises: roll ankles, point/flex, toe raises – all will help with the calf/shin/ankle/foot areas! Good luck. :)


Monica L January 29, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Thanks so much for the advice Holly. I just got back from a run, so I’m doing all your suggested exercises right now-literally. I do have compression sleeves, but I don’t wear them all the time to run, usually I put them on to recover. I may try wearing them on my next run-thanks again!


breeoxd January 29, 2013 at 9:27 pm

If your shins hurt all the time it might be time to scale back the mileage. Hurt should not be the normal


Julie @ Sweetly Balanced January 29, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I just love this!! Especially since I’m still a new runner, any tips I find helps!! THanks!!


Kristen @ notsodomesticated January 29, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Great tips, girl! I love seeing some of your old running pics! ;)


Lindsay January 29, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I still consider myself in the beginner stage of running, and since I’m in the middle of training for my first marathon, I’m definitely learning as I go. My biggest realization is that I can’t compare myself to others – and strength training!


Rebecca@Running.Food.Baby. January 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Totally LOLing at your picture with you on the treadmill with a big bag of skittles. You are too funny :-D


Kattrina January 29, 2013 at 6:44 pm

I have been running on and off for almost 15 years and I’m still learning stuff every day. Some of the things I’ve learned over the years are:
1) Buy good shoes.
2) New running clothes always make me want to go for a run.
3) If I’m going for a long run and it’s cold outside, it’s still important to hydrate. Just because I’m not sweating buckets doesn’t meant I don’t need to drink.
4) I enjoy running so much more when I don’t time myself and just run how I feel (this doesn’t work for everyone, but it really helped me become less number-obsessed).

I guess those are my main lessons.
Great post!


robyn January 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm

you are so right-good tips.
but just now- i am reveling in the fact i got a pb for my marathon


Natalie @ Twenty-Something Talk January 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Love this post! You are so honest about how most of these things are hard to do when you’ve got that “one track runner mind.” It’s nice to know I’m not alone in some of those common struggles! I’m really feeling the power of a good rest day these days.


Amy @ Sweaty & Sweet January 29, 2013 at 7:11 pm

I started running when I was 13 years old (well unless you count my first race when I was 3!) Wow I can’t believe it’s been 14 years now!
To help make me a stronger runner I cross train like crazy…triathlons are another one of my passions! Swimming, biking, weight lifting, yoga and Pilates are weekly staples on my workout schedule. =)


Cynthia January 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Janae, I love that first picture you posted of you running the NYC Marathon! One, because you are smiling like crazy (showing how happy you are when you run!) and two, because it’s the picture I took when my sister and I went crazy when you ran by! So glad to still be reading your blog! Brooke is beautiful and best of luck with your new trail running adventures. Check out my blog if you have a chance! xo, Cynthia


Kay January 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm

This is a great list, thank you for sharing!!


Annette@FitnessPerks January 29, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Great post!! I too love the skittles/refueling pic. Awesomesauce.

Right now I’ve not been running too much–but I agree with having to build a nice base first AND getting into the weight room. duh. ;)


Tildy08 January 29, 2013 at 7:38 pm

I suffered/still suffer from shin splints when I increase my distance too quickly. I also try to swim for my cross-training. I’ve only been running consistently for about 2 years though. Still a newbie!


Khushboo January 29, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Even though I’m not a racer like you, I couldn’t agree more with all of the above…especially about PRs! More than races, that even applies to general runs- I used to feel that every run had to be faster than the last otherwise I wasn’t trying hard enough….er WHAT!


Erin Runs January 29, 2013 at 8:04 pm

DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS! I learned this the hard way, tried to run too fast (too soon), and got injured. Booo!!


Blakely January 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I might be able to be a good runner- I eat lots of candy!!! ha ha jk.
Fun blog, I just found it and enjoy your posts.


siu January 29, 2013 at 8:37 pm

I wish I knew how important stretching your muscles is.

I’ve been suffering from a ITB syndrome over two years and it won’t heel normally because there is some nerve damage with it.

Today I can’t run as often or as far as I wished but at least I can run! And luckily I can do other stuff like cross country skiing :) My dream is still to run a marathon someday.


Ruth@FacetiousFarang January 29, 2013 at 8:38 pm

I had bad shinsplints for two months, and after they healed, I upped the mileage too fast. Result: a YEAR of Achilles problems (and they still haven’t totally healed).


breeoxd January 29, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Been running a couple of years. Wish I knew that:
Sunblock is always a must, even when cloudy.
Body glide is beautiful.
Foam rolling really is a good idea, even if (especially if) it hurts real bad.
I have a niggling calf injury that I think I tore during a spartan race. Never quite been the same after that.
I love me some hip flexor/abductor weight exercises, Zumba, HIIT with body rock and Zuzana on YouTube, rowing machine and stair stepper to get that butt in hill shape! Great post!


Jean January 29, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I LOVE that you’re icing with ice cream in that picture. I always use hiking as a nice addition to my running!


Kari Burghardt January 29, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Thank you for doing this post!! Totally relatable. Learning to not be so competitive with myself for every single training run is a hard lesson to learn! I’ve been running since I was in grade school…started out with the Hershey track meet! Thanks again for sharing!! :)


TorontoRunner January 29, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Number two is what I’m working on right now!! I don’t eat a THING when doing my 1/2 marathon distance, but I’m working up to a full and know I’ll NEED to fuel!
These are fantastic tips I definitely wish I knew earlier!


Charlie (The Runner Beans) January 30, 2013 at 1:47 am

I wish I’d known not to just run my first year of marathon training, I ended up injuring my ITB and missing the marathon. The following year I trained smarter and completed it. Now I am toning my body by including Body Pump and weights, spinning, pilates and running!


Scallywag January 30, 2013 at 1:52 am

11. Footwear is extremely important.

Its the one thing you will have to shell out on. Go get your shoes fitted at a proper running store, have them gait analyse you, tell them everything about you and your running- aims, your weight etc.

Try as many pairs as possible on a treadmill. Take them home, walk about it them for about a week indoors, then if they feel good start running.

If they dont, return them and tell the shop exactly what wasnt right so they can suggest others.

Youre easily paying 100 dollars for shoes, you deserve good treatment so dont be shy!


Amanda January 30, 2013 at 3:27 am

I love this post! All really good points, a few hitting the nail on the head for me. I started running and REALLY fell in love with it a couple years ago, but too many times of pushing through the pain just to get my runs in led to many many MANY injuries and set backs. IT band injury being one that set me back almost 3 months. I have been working on giving myself breaks, not being so hard on myself, and incorperating strength and resistance training. I’m a messy work in progress :) lol LOVE YOUR BLOG!


Karen @ Runner Girl Eats January 30, 2013 at 3:34 am

I am still getting used to ALL of these things. I am awful about not cross training and really beat myself up about other peoples speeds. I am finally accepting that I can’t bust out 7 minute miles yet and that’s ok :)


Caitlin January 30, 2013 at 4:20 am

The first 2 miles are almost always the worst, for me, and to just push through to mile 3 where things become much easier and I reach my groove.

I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t had any major running injuries, other than occasional knee pain I’m pretty injury free. For about 3 years I’ve had a nagging hip, but foam rolling and listening to my body and resting when I need to has helped.

Yoga is currently my only form of “other” or cross training that I do.


Kari @ Running Ricig January 30, 2013 at 5:01 am

I wish I knew not to wear cotton :)


Hann January 30, 2013 at 5:19 am

I know all those things now but I’m still growing to be a wise runner that is putting them into practice. I use to run even when I had some recovery to do now I’m struggling but trying to rest when I suppose to rest.
Day 1 of 4 days of rest…keep your fingers crossed!


Paige @ Miles & Style January 30, 2013 at 5:26 am

Love this post! I did track in high school, but then pretty much quit running from age 18-24, and now here I am at 25 starting back up. I think #10 really hits home for me because I keep expecting myself to be at my high school fitness AND have a marathoner’s endurance….when in reality, it is going to be a longgggg and continuous process of improvement.


Mary January 30, 2013 at 5:48 am

This post could not have come at a better time. #8 specifically is hitting close to home this morning, as I re-injured my lower back doing cleans at my 5 am workout. I’m 3 weeks out from my first marathon, so the thought of skipping tomorrow’s run sounds terrifying…but thanks to your reminder, not nearly as terrifying as not being able to run my race. I’ll rest.

I do a strength/endurance combo (similar to crossfit) 3 days a week and run three days a week. The seventh day I foam roll like crazy and rest.

I’m new to your site and I have to say – I love it! What a great mix of fitness, running, health and life stuff! Thanks for sharing and being an inspiration!


Laura January 30, 2013 at 6:11 am

I am not a fan of the gym so #3 is a tough one for me. I found yoga is a good supplement to running and can be a full body workout. When motivated (so never) I swim too.


Why would you walk when you can run? January 30, 2013 at 6:26 am

I love this! Thanks so much for posting this!!!! :)


Joy January 30, 2013 at 6:29 am

Even though I’m not even close to being a new runner, these are fabulous tips and I thank you for posting them. Such good advice!!


Becky January 30, 2013 at 6:34 am

Love this! I’ve only been running (consistantly) for 2 years and am guilty of not following many of these. I should print it out as a reminder!


Raychel January 30, 2013 at 7:43 am

Yay I’m so glad you did this post as a new runner (about a year now)! Thank you!!

I need to find some trails in my area – are separate trail shoes absolutely necessary?


Nina March 2, 2013 at 5:17 am

Absolutely necessary, no, as long as your shoes are in decent shape and give you good support. However, I’ve always found trail running is more comfortable and easier on the knees with trail running shoes–in the same way that shoes designed for a specific purpose or surface (barefoot shoes, cross-trainers, spikes, even cleats) are the best for that activity.


Jenn @BeYOUatBeMe January 30, 2013 at 8:00 am

Love the one about rest days. It is so important to REST. Also, there are many running blogs out there that are sharing their long runs (15 miles and over) and stating clearly that they do NOT fuel during those. Why is this? I always thought it was best to fuel throughout our runs, especially long ones!


Katie January 30, 2013 at 8:09 am

I wish I knew how to stretch correctly as a new runner. When I was training for my first race (half marathon), I had a lot of issues with my knee hurting. It wasn’t till the end that I discovered it was just my IT band, and I hadn’t been stretching it well. Now I make sure I stretch lots so I don’t have any injuries that can easily be prevented.


Blaire @ Just Been Running January 30, 2013 at 8:24 am

I love this post because it’s so true! I did so many of those things you talked about and ended up with IT band injuries, frustration when I didn’t PR, self doubt, the list goes on and on. Lately, I’ve just realized that I don’t need to take it so seriously and do it for fun because that’s all that really matters anyways!

Great post Janae!


Liana@RunToMunch January 30, 2013 at 10:43 am

Running takes time – I read somewhere that it takes 6-8 years to reach your peak no matter what age you start running =). Something to think about when setting long long term goals =)


Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) January 30, 2013 at 11:05 am

I LOVE this! As a new runner (well, I’ve been a new runner for a couple years now), I still get way too nervous to run with other people and never feel like I’m going fast enough. I don’t actually even call myself a runner because I feel like I’m faking it, but I sure do enjoy it :)


Megan January 30, 2013 at 11:34 am

I absolutely love this list!! Thank you for posting it :)


Sharsti@theblondehairblueeyedrunner January 30, 2013 at 11:52 am

I love all of these tips, this is exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks for sharing!


Alyssa January 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm

This kind of encompasses a few of the points, but I think one thing that is really important is to learn to listen to your body. Whether it’s hurting and needs a rest day or tired and you need to sleep more, your body is always telling you how it’s doing. One thing I have learned is that my body really does not like when I drink soda. So I don’t anymore (although I used to LOVE diet dr pepper!). I have noticed that when I’m trying to train for something and have soda with a meal, I swear it puts me back a week in my work outs. I feel so weak! Water is definitely my best friend :)


Tammy January 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm

That whole list was awesome. I’m not even a year in so I will take your advice about road running. I do almost 100% of the time on the pavement and I’ll try the trails.


Brennan @ Yum Run January 30, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Amazing advice. Thank you!


Leigh January 30, 2013 at 7:32 pm

LOVE this article! Also I DEFINITELY have that pillow in the background of your ice packs/ice cream picture! IKEA?


MILF Runner January 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I’m planning on copycatting your copycatting. This theme is too good to pass up! I’ve been running off and on since 1981. I think I remember having shin splints once and a metatarsal stress fracture. Too long ago to be sure. Lately dealing with some pelvic weirdness. All soft tissue, fortunately. Supplement running with cardio machines, biking, walking, weight/strength training. Lucky for me, I was not obsessed early on – in fact, I HATED running. As a new runner, I wish I had known how fun it could be.


Carla Diane January 31, 2013 at 10:44 am

Great list! I’m a relatively new runner, couple years into it now, but was able to finish my first marathon Dec. 1 at age 55. I wish I would’ve read this before I started. Keep up the good work.


Jacque February 1, 2013 at 8:37 am

I can’t tell you how much I (as a new runner) appreciate this post!! I’m a very new runner (I’m doing my own version of c25k – making it work for me and my abilities….) but it’s something I hope to make a life-long habit! So I’m thrilled to read things like this.


The Hungry Runner Girl February 1, 2013 at 8:50 am

That makes me so happy!!! You’re got this girl!


The Hungry Runner Girl February 1, 2013 at 8:50 am



Chiara February 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

This is a great post! Thank you! I just started running, I kid you not, two weeks ago. It is my first time, and this is certainly something I needed to see. This is one thing no one has mentioned to me yet, and I really will start reminding myself that I need to go at my own pace. Come check out my blog if you have a chance! Just started last week. :-)


Sam February 1, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Great post! I’ve learnt that sometimes my running improves the most if I take a little time off or back off on the intensity/mileage for a week or so. The first time this happened I was stunned — I came back from patellofemeral (sp?) injury a better runner than I left off! Perhaps I’ve been on the edge of overtraining when this has happened.
I’ve also learnt that I improve the most when my mileage is lower but I’m still cross training. If I bump up my mileage too much I get injured or worn out. I guess this means I’ll never be able to run a marathon but I’m fine with that as I’m certain I’d fall prey to the Female Athlete Triad if I did.
Cross training for me: pilates, strength training and 1 x cardio class at the gym.


Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom February 1, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I wish I would have known that your head gives out before your legs give out! I used to hit a wall at a certain distance until someone told me to just set a goal in my head and don’t stop until I reached that girl. That changed the way I looked at running and now anytime I think about quitting, I evaluate whether it’s my head or my body telling me to quit. 9 times out of 10 its my head.


Spencer February 3, 2013 at 11:45 pm

I really like this post. I am a new runner. Last time I ran was six years ago in track. I never liked running. Ever. This year I am really getting into cardio exercises more instead of just weights and I am starting to run again. Going really short distances is annoying but I know I will get better with time. I am taking the minimalist approach and trying to use a more barefoot running style. I love your blog and I have gone back and read a whole bunch. Its just so fun! Brooke is sooo cute too!


Jami February 4, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Thank you, thank you for this post. I am a new blogger (2 weeks old) and a new runner-was a sprinter all through school and now learning the fine art of road racing/distance running (hope I’m still welcome) and got serious about it in Aug 2012 when I became an assistant girls high school cross country coach(don’t worry, I wasn’t making up the workouts the other coaches were). I have a hard time with not running every run on the roads because I have a huge fear of wildlife ha ha, I know, I know, I want to run on trails but no-can-do. Oh and in my first race (it was a 2 miler) I tried to grab a water cup, not because I needed it but because that’s what everyone else was doing and I almost drown myself trying to run and drink at the same time. It’s ok you can laugh, I do every time I think about it. Anyway, thanks a ton for the tips, I love your blog!


Miranda April 30, 2013 at 1:21 am

I think reading #8 may have saved me from an injury. I’m a very new runner, been running for 8 months now and have just bought myself my first commitment present (Violet Forerunner 10, which is actually how I found your blog). I’m very bad at just ignoring pains and carrying on, but last night in the gym, I was getting a pain in my knee but I carried on running until I was limping (bad idea I know) so I thought I’d better stop. I walked for about 2 mins and because the pain had gone away, I ran the rest of my 5k I said I was going to run… I’ll see how it is on Thursday but how long should you leave a pain before you go to the Doctors?


manuel May 29, 2013 at 10:50 am

First, great list and great blog! #8 is very important but I always feel like I’m ruining my training when “tapering”. Love the photo!

If you have a little time, here is a video of everything you need to run a Marathon! Let me now what you think!




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Michelle @ Running More Than Errands September 4, 2013 at 4:24 pm

This is such a fantastic post! I just started running and am training for my very first race, a 5k in December in Phoenix. I’m really excited but it’s so helpful to read tips like these from a runner like you!


John Ledford September 10, 2013 at 11:11 am

Great post and good advice overall. You web site is well done.

Some additions that I might make from my personal experience:

Ditch running shoes after the mid-soles begin to give way (200-400 miles?). This would have saved med from a pile of minor injuries.

Find a good training plan and follow it to best meet your goal. I was also working out 7 days a week. Rest is important and the training plans usually incorporate rest.

Eat and drink when you run (similar to your comment). We used to drink Gatorade, but skittles sound like much more fun. I am a fan of Gu, though the expresso one makes me ill. Eating and running is a trial and error process (mostly error for me).

Avoid excessive heat, run early in the day. Injuries can follow overworking in extremely high temperatures.

Cross train to protect your knees (similar to your comment). Lunge, Lunge, Lunge and hit the weights. You don’t need heavy weights, but strength training has really helped my badly abused knees. One has already been scoped and the other is creaky. I hope to avoid another surgery.

I like your comment about running on soft surfaces. I have switched my long runs to dirt trails and my knees are much happier. It can be hard on the shoes, though.

A torn meniscus does not mean the end. I am running reasonably well again after knee surgery.


Todd September 12, 2013 at 11:03 am

Thanks for the great tips! I wish I knew these things before I started running too. Something I still have to work on. Keep up the good work!


Kelly T. December 21, 2013 at 5:13 am

Hey Janae,

Let me first tell you that yours is my first blog to read ever (..I know weird huh..). I found your blog from one of Women’s Running Magazine fb page and although that I read your posts the last 2/3 weeks I feel like I know you and I can call you a friend of mine. So in case that you ever find yourself in London you can count to at least one friend ;) (a Greek friend though not an English one although that I am sure that doesn’t make a difference)

I know that you may never read my comment since this is an old post of yours but I just wanted to thank you because as a new runner (only 6 months old) I find all these tips so helpful and hopefully by following your advice I will not get injured and I will keep running my whole life!!

Thanks Janae you are the best :)


The Hungry Runner Girl December 21, 2013 at 10:12 am

Kelly! Your comment made my morning! Thank you so much and keep running!!!


Dona January 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm

One of the best blogs on running! It really encouraged me! I just started running in the fall of last year! I over did it, and suffered runners knee injury! I have since learned to pace myself! I have been running again for a few weeks. Some days are faster then others. Thanks again! A VERY HELPFUL BLOG! Tomorrow I start running with a group to prepare for a 5k . Very excited to be running with some friends. Thanks again!


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