Rules To Run By
The longer I run, the more I find myself repeating the same little rules to myself (and others) over and over.
Some may seem silly (but that doesn’t make them less true). Others are inspirational or aspirational, but all put me in the right headspace for running.
My Running Rules
Starting is the hardest part of nearly every run
Just put on the shoes and head out the door.
Thinking about if you want to run, or about how much you don’t want to run, does you no good.
Money spent on running shoes and a quality jog bra is never wasted
Good shoes made me a runner. A good jog bra kept me a runner.
The price tags can be shocking, but they are worth every penny.
The worst runs make for the best stories.
I’ve told and retold stories of races in the rain and the hail over and over (and over…).
Runs in perfect weather may be great in the moment, but they make for terrible stories.
It’s easier to stay in shape than to get in shape
Taking a few weeks or months off from running can do wonders physically and mentally, but if you don’t stay in shape somehow, you’ll lose fitness shockingly fast.
Never pass up the opportunity to use an open and unoccupied bathroom
Even if you aren’t sure if you need it.
Regardless of what Instagram says, no one looks good hours into a long run
The running communities on social media are amazing (#runnersorinstagram, #runnergram), but they are entertainment, not a tool for comparison.
It’s not supposed to be easy. That’s what makes it rewarding
There are no shortcuts in running.
There is no way to make training for a marathon easy.
Always thank the volunteers
Without volunteers, there would be no races.
They likely woke up earlier on race day than you, just so they could fill up little cups of water to help you make your race dreams come true.
The least you can do is say thanks.
Fast is relative. ‘PRs’ are personal for a reason
Your pace is irrelevant to your value or your worth as a runner.
Do your thing, and do your best.
How it compares to anyone else’s best is irrelevant.
You may not always love running, but you’ll always love having run
Some runs will suck. But you’ll always be glad you did it.
Respect rest days
Both the body and the mind need days off.
Give it to them.
If you have to ask, assume that driver doesn’t see you
Drivers are distracted. Bikers are distracted.
If you wonder if they see you, if you have to ask yourself if they see you, chances are they don’t. Pedestrians may have the right of way, but if there is ever a collision, the human body will lose.
Stay visible and make doubly sure that car sees you.
Ignore the brain and listen to the body
The brain will tell you to quit long before you need to.
Your body will tell you if you are pushing too hard (Note: you can do much more than you think, it’s pretty rare that the body has to stop).
When running with a group, no topics of conversation are off-limits
I’ve shared more with my running group than I have my best (non-running) friends.
I often don’t even know the last names of my running friends, and yet we trust each other with our deepest, darkest secrets.
There is an intimacy in running groups that is unmatched anywhere.
You are many things in life. Being a runner is just one of those things
Keep it all in perspective.
Not everyone knows about or cares about running
It is not my duty or responsibility to explain to the non-runners in my life that not all races are ‘marathons’ and that no, running is not, in fact, bad for my knees.
It is not worth my time and energy to correct them all.
Don’t start a run injured
You aren’t magically going to heal yourself by going for a run with an injured (fill in the blank of injury here).
You aren’t made of sugar, you aren’t going to melt
Run in the rain and jump in the puddles.
But wait until the end of your run – wet shoes are heavy.
Bail on a run if you must, but give it at least a mile
There is little to be gained by pushing through a run if things really aren’t going well. But make sure it isn’t your brain lying to you about how much you can do.
Go (at least) a half mile past the point where you want to quit. The idea will usually pass.
There are no prerequisites or requirements to being a runner
Pace, racing, or doing a particular distance are irrelevant.
Know what is important to you and work toward that. To hell with what anyone else says is important.
Feel free to ignore what others say you ‘should’ care about.
All running and no play make Jack a dull boy
Have balance in life and in running. Always do some fitness activities other than running.
Strength workouts, yoga, and whatever other workouts fancy your interest, will expand your fitness horizons and will usually make you a better runner.