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Posts Tagged ‘cross country’

I just got home from running. I don’t know how far I ran, or even the length of time I was running, but I know that it felt good. While running the trails of Breakheart Reservation today I had loads of time to think about running, and the wealth of advice I’ve gotten and observations I’ve made on my own about this incredibly invigorating pastime.

My two most influential sources of running inspiration of late are from very different ends of the spectrum. I recently read “Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness” by Scott Jurek. Jurek has been running crazyass races for around 20 years, most of this time eating a vegan diet. He’s one of the best, the top tier of ultrarunners.

Megan crossing the finish line at her league cross country meet

The other source of running advice has been my 14-year-old daughter Megan. She has been running for a grand total of less than 3 months, since the start of her school’s cross country season, but throughout the course of that season has improved drastically, going from a 39:08 finish on a 2.9 mile course in her first race to a 31:54 finish at her 3.2 ┬ámile league meet. Most importantly, though, she fell in love with running, much as I did almost 2 1/2 years ago.

Based on the influences of these two wonderful runners, with bits of my own observations, I present a list of tips to all who may run, want to run, or like to laugh at those of us who run while sitting at their computers reading about such things.

  1. Time doesn’t matter. Speed doesn’t matter. Distance doesn’t matter. If you find enjoyment in the running, the rest will come.
  2. Run often. As crazy as life can get, find time to run. It improves your energy level, gives you time to think, and brings positive vibes into your life.
  3. Running on flat, paved, small loops is boring, unless your fabulous 11-year-old daughter is riding her bike alongside you the whole way…then it becomes much-treasured bonding time that you wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
  4. Hills break up the monotony and add interest to any run, as well as challenging the runner. Just be careful on the downhill stretches, particularly on trails covered with slippery fallen oak and maple leaves.
  5. Dirt trails are awesome. They’re easier on the knees than pavement, infinitely more interesting, and usually more secluded and peaceful.
  6. Leave the iPod at home and spend time being tuned in to your body, your surroundings, your thoughts, and if you’re running with others, the people you’re with.
  7. Getting lost is sometimes okay. Usually when one runs he is never too terribly far from familiar areas, and getting slightly lost can provide extra exercise value and otherwise overlooked scenery possibilities.
  8. Drink lots of water! Bring a bottle of water with you so that you can hydrate throughout the run.
  9. Baby steps! Keep your stride short in order to lessen the impact on your joints and reduce the risk of injury and muscle strain.
  10. Moms and coaches always tell us to “walk it off” when you roll an ankle and they’re so right. Does a rolled ankle hurt? Of course. But within 2-4 minutes of starting to run on one today, the pain was gone.

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