10 Miserable Experiences That Will Haunt You Forever As A Beginning Runner.
The running world can be deeply unpleasant and hurtful place if you’re new to the sport. Here are 10 experiences that they don’t prepare you for in Men’s Health.
- Getting abuse in the street for the first time – It cut me to the bone when a car full of frat boys roared with laughter at one of my first proper attempts at running in January 2011. I waved at them politely to try to pretend that I wasn’t hurt. Inside I was seething. I had a mental image of donning a Marilyn Monroe wig and dinner dress combo, blowing them a kiss and watching them crash head on into a 20-ton-truck, as everything around them exploded like something out of a Final Destination movie.
- Missing out on a personal best in a race for the first time – The greatest challenge with your first race is completing it. The real pressure is on your 2nd outing as you have a personal time to beat. If you fail to record a better time it can be a real blow, particularly if you’re new to running. The truth is that you can’t always better yourself and sometimes it can just be fun to run and finish.
- Having to stop to walk from fatigue – I guess this only really applies if you don’t follow a run-walk-run strategy. For my first few months whenever I stopped running I reset my watch and just gave up. The first time I gave up was at mile 11 of a 14 mile long run and I remember thinking that my little stint as a runner was now over. I was fucking devastated. Now I know that stopping because of fatigue isn’t the end of the world. It’s better to stop for a rest and to continue afterwards than to stop altogether.
- Walking into a running shop for the first time – Boy these guys know how to fleece you. The independent running stores can instantly recognise that you’re new by the little wobble in your ass when you walk in the door. If you’re naive and have plenty of spending money they’ll have you on their treadmill analysing your ass and recommending 500 dollar barefoot trainers to correct the fact that you run like a horny heron on Ecstasy.
- Realising that running just the once won’t make you fit – Before I started running I thought that walking twice a month was enough for me to maintain a reasonable level of fitness. Back then a “reasonable level of fitness” involved me not sweating whilst pleasuring myself to Golden Girls re-runs. If I thought about running a marathon back then, I’d have assumed that it would have made me fit for life. Not a chance. If you’re new to running, then you’ve gotta be patient. If you take your time and run easy but keep it consistent over a period of months, then you’ll see results.
- Knowing that you aren’t the only person in the world apart from the Kenyan men and the English girl who shit herself who wants to run a marathon – When I bought my “Non Runners Guide To Running A Marathon” book I thought I was part of a secret club that few had the bravery/idiocy to enter. Once I actually ran my first marathon I realised that there are many thousands of individuals who care as passionately about running as I do. It was a bit of a let-down in a way at first as I knew I wasn’t so special. Now I think that it’s amazing that they are so many long distance runners out there. The social aspect to the sport is amazing because of this
- Realising just how slow you are for the first time – I always knew I was slow but it wasn’t until I got the Garmin that I discovered how inept I was. An 11 minute mile seems fast until you find out that marathon runners tend to average below a 5 minute mile for 26.2 fucking miles. Now I’ve accepted my circumstances and try to finish in twice the time it takes the elites to win the race. If Mo Farah can run a half marathon in 58 minutes, then if I can do it in 1:56 I’m a happy fucking guy!
Mo, one day I’ll be TWICE as slow as you.
- Discovering that you can’t eat what you want and just run it off – Arguably the biggest draw to running at the beginning for me was thinking that I could eat what I wanted without gaining weight. It took me to run 62 miles and to gain 3lbs in one week to understand that there are natural limits.
- The moment that you get the official email from the race photographer and see how much it will cost you to buy your finishing photo – 1800 Danish crowns for a picture that I can send to Grandma, looking like I’ve just been done up the wrong ‘un with a mop? Fuck. Off.
- Discovering unexpected bodily fluids on your running kit for the first time – For me it was blood from nipple damage after my Larne Half Marathon run. For others it can be much much worse.