FitNess: Cardinal Rules of Running

I set off this year with one main fitness goal: complete in one race.
(It could be anything from 5k to a half marathon- which isn’t a stretch at all!)
In March, I ran in the Shamrock Shuffle, 8k (49:55).
 I did not train with a program. I simply went to the gym 3-4x a week and ran 4/5 miles.Let’s not even get into the fact my shoes were well past their expiration date and I wore, well, cotton on a hot, sunny day.  
Next, I completed my first Half Marathon in September (2:24). 
By now, I understood the importance of supportive running shoes
I spent my weekends in the gym I followed a training plan, worked on proper form, and began investing in proper clothing. I relied heavily on fitness blogs, articles, and forums. 
Now that we are in November (seriously?!), I tackled the Hot Chocolate 15k (1:37). 
Let’s face it, everyone is bound to make those mistakes we read about in other blogs or forums. It is just a matter of time and a way we continue to learn to become a better runner. I broke one of the cardinal rules of running- knowingly- and paid the price.  
Don’t let the smile fool you… These brand-new pants had no intention of finishing the race with me. They wanted off the second I crossed Start. 
Rule #1: NEVER wear anything new on race day. You just never know. Yes, this includes that cool new shirt you just paid $75 for. 
Rule #2: On that note, use your training to experiment. Does your Ipod work while you run? (Laugh all you want, but I’ve had issues every time!) What drinks/snacks give you the most energy? Most importantly, be mindful of your clothing. What works for you? What doesn’t? *This includes picking your, ahem, underwear. I don’t recommend lace of any kind. 
Rule #3: Understand what weather conditions you will be running in. The reason I bought new pants? I panicked about running in 39 degrees. This would not have happened if I had followed Rule #2. 
Rule #4: Put everything out the night before. That way, you are not scrambling to get everything done. Don’t forget the small details, like sunglasses or sunblock. 
Rule #5: Rookie mistake- Don’t start out too fast. Proper training teaches you how to pace yourself. For that reason, I have never walked in a race and do not intend to. 
Rule #6: Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. I always take Gatorade at the first few stations of a race. However, while training, I only reserve it for 7+ mile runs. (Hello sugar!)
Rule #7: I didn’t learn about experimenting with Gu or gels until very near to my half marathon. I take a Cranberry Apple Running Gu around mile 7 and then every 2-3 miles afterward. I take it with water to help dilute the solution. 
Again, see #2. 
Rule #8: Food plays an equally important role to keeping up your energy. I prefer to eat a bagel, peanut butter, and a banana before a race. 
Rule #9: Carbo-loading does not mean gorging yourself at the all-you-can-eat pasta bar. However, your intake of carbs should increase during the days leading up to your race. 
Rule #10: Plan the details of your race day thoroughly. Know how you are getting there, where you are going, and where to park. Are you checking your bag or giving it to a friend? Where is your meeting spot? I cannot tell you how crafty I’ve become at hunting down friends. These are all small details that will make your day run smoothly. 
I am by no means an expert. I have learned from others’ mistakes and am getting to the point I can start sharing my own. This list will continue to grow and expand, but thankfully, that just means I’ve kept on going.  
 FitNess is here to help you reach your fitness potential!