Things I wish I knew Before I Started Running.

With seven years of experience under my belt, it’s safe to say I’ve learned a thing or two about running. I’ll be the first to admit, as a seasoned runner, I sometimes forget that I wasn’t always runner savvy. I’m here to talk about things I wish I would’ve known before I started running in hopes they might be helpful tips for you.

OMG, SHOES!

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I can’t stress enough the importance of a good pair of running shoes. When I first started running, I got a pair of shoes from Marshalls for less than $30. I’m not saying you need to sell your soul for a pair of soles (#dadjoke), but it’s important to find a proper fitting shoe that also works with your biomechanics.

My first pair of running shoes were a size too small because I went with my usual shoe size. A good rule of thumb is to purchase a half size to full size larger than your everyday shoe because your feet will expand as you run. If your shoes are too small, you put yourself at risk for black toenails, blisters and foot pain.

I also recommend heading to a local running store for a free gait analysis. Staring blankly at a big wall of shoes can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming, but don’t worry. The specialists will spend time with you to get you in the correct pair of shoes.

WINTER RUNNING.

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There are questions I get asked by non-runners, especially this time of year. A frequent one is, “Don’t you get cold in the winter?” When I was a novice runner, I didn’t want to go outside if the weather wasn’t in my favor. I hate being cold! When I trained for my first marathon in 2012, however, I didn’t have a choice. I had to get out there and put in the work if I wanted to see results.

My first training run with the Steel City Road Runners was in a snowstorm. Not only did I survive, I also made a friend I now view as a brother. I didn’t need to dress like Randy from A Christmas Story during that run and neither do you. If you’re not sure what to wear, Runner’s World has a great tool! Also, I often tell people to dress for the finish and not the start.

Yes, there are going to be times when the treadmill is necessary due to unsafe conditions (i.e. ice, negative wind chill). However, for me at least, I usually opt outside. That’s why we train. You will become stronger from these character building runs – not only physically, but mentally as well. Plus, you never know what can happen on race day. If you live in Pittsburgh, you know that we can sometimes experience every season in a week’s time.

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Race Day Tips!

For those of us training for Pittsburgh, you’re probably more than half way done with your program or close to it. Regardless, I’m here to discuss race day tips/advice to help you get to the finish line. But how exciting is it that we’re less than 2 months away from the big event?! If you have yet to register for one of their Sunday races and have been thinking about doing so, you still have time! You can use code CROUCHDSGPM18 to receive $10 off of registration for the relay, half or full! Code expires on 3/31!

NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY:

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I can’t stress this enough! It’s going to be very tempting to go to the expo, purchase something and then want to wear or use it on race day. NO! NO! NO! Save it for another time. This is part of the reason why we do long runs. These runs are essentially dress rehearsals for multiple components (clothing, gear, nutrition etc.). There’s nothing worse than racing only to realize that your new clothes are causing chaffing or your new nutrition is causing GI distress. Unfortunately, running gear can sometimes be a gamble, so be sure to question return policies. For instance, I’ve purchased a hydration belt and quickly figured out how much I disliked it due to excessive bouncing, etc. Now, I only run with either a handheld bottle or a hydration pack. It’s all about trial and error, and race day is not the time for such thing.

LAY YOUR STUFF OUT THE NIGHT BEFORE:

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Please, please, please do this! There’s nothing worse than scrambling around your house in the morning, half asleep, only to realize you can’t find an item as simple as the pair of socks you planned on wearing. It’s even worse when nerves and excitement are already occupying your mind. Something like this shouldn’t be a reason for derailing your entire morning, but imagine forgetting your nutrition, phone or something even more important. And well…if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably still forget a key piece of gear. I forgot my running watch for my first marathon (facepalm). I had a huge meltdown in the parking garage (yes, it took me that long to notice). However, it ended up being a blessing because I didn’t have the option to stress about the numbers on my watch face. BUT, I don’t want this happening to you if it doesn’t have to! Now, I lay my stuff out and triple check everything to make sure nothing is missing!

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Gift Idea for your Runner Friends Whom Are Expecting!

Hello! Do you have special people in your lives whom are expecting a baby? Do they also happen to be runners? Not sure what to get them? Well, you’re in luck! I’m here to show you something that I recently put together for 2 very close friends of mine! They absolutely adored it!

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Top left: I purchased this adorable personalized race bib onesie from a seller on Etsy. The number I chose has meaning behind it. A while back, I asked dad-to-be what his favorite numbers were (didn’t say why I was asking), and then I combined them into one number.

Top right: Dad is a marathoner, so I had to purchase this onesie from Gone For A Run. They have the best gifts!

Bottom left: I also got this shirt from Gone For A Run! They had awesome deals at the time. Plus, what runner doesn’t love a fresh change of clothes?

Bottom right: Obviously, the most important thing a runner-to-be should own is a good pair of shoes! Saucony has the cutest little baby shoes!

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Next, I thought about some important items that runners use and/or need. I then translated them into baby world, and here’s what I came up with!

Top left: Baby Blanket (HEAT SHEET after a race).

Top middle: Sunglasses (for those sunny runs and to keep bugs from flying into your eyes).

Top right: Waffle Teether (carb loading is a common thing for distance runners).

Middle left: Boogie Wipes (to control those snot rockets).

Middle: Gerber Banana Puffs (we all know that runners love bananas – a staple at races).

Middle right: Baby Socks (next to shoes, socks are crucial).

Bottom left: Butt Paste (one word: chaffing).

Bottom middle: Baby Bottle (runners need to stay hydrated).

Bottom right: Rattles (celebrate every moment).

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I put everything into a basket that can be reused (P is for their last name). And I purchased a custom running medal from eBay, which replaced the need for a bow or ribbon. I thought it would be a cute touch to the theme of the gift!

So, there you have it! A perfect gift for the little runner-to-be in your life!