Newbie 101: Too Much, Too Soon

It feels good to finish a 3K. Or may be a 5K. How much more if it’s a 10K. Or, other distances. I know. I’ve been there. I was once a newbie, too. So I know how it feels. What I’ve achieved didn’t happen overnight. It took me quite sometime to do a 21K even after finishing quite a number of 10Ks. It suffices to say that I was conservative to moving up from one level to another for health reasons.

Over time, you’ll know it once you’re ready. One day you’ll just find yourself signing up for a 15K. A 16K. A 21K. More 21Ks. A full marathon or may be a multisport. Wow! Amazing, right?

Gunning for a faster time can be addictive. We do have that streak of competitiveness in us. That’s why some go fast and take a shortcut. For what? Bragging rights. Being proud. Feeling good. Pressure from friends. Hello?!

And, ended up sidelined for days, weeks or months due to an injury.

Running a 21K then was quite daunting. There were not too many 21K races back then. In fact, the longest was either a ten-miler (16K) by Yakult or the 25K by New Balance. Lately, I’ve noticed that the number of runners has grown considerably. Mostly are into 5Ks and 10Ks. Or, even 21Ks. At the recently staged Milo Marathon there was also a good showing of 42K runners. This is good news.

OK, going back to running short distances like 3K, 5K, etc. Many runners, especially, those who are new to running commit one of the running mistakes, doing too much, too soon. It means doing too much mileage so soon thinking that more mileage is better. A mistake buddy. I wouldn’t be surprised if you suddenly experience pains or injuries like runner’s knee, illiotibial band syndrome commonly known to most runners as ITB, and shin splint.

If you love running, then learn to listen to your body. Be conservative with your mileage. Increase of weekly mileage shouldn’t be more than 10%. You need to remember that every runner is different. Some are really fast. Some are slow but eventually improve in due time with proper training.

Training means following a good program which includes base mileage, speed work, hill training, long slow distance or commonly known as long run, drills, core exercises, and many more. Basically, it’s also good if you take time out to read literature about running. Attend running clinics. Be a member of a running club. Or, better yet, hire a running coach.

Do you wonder why elite runners run so fast? It all boils down to religiously following a training program, being disciplined, and putting one’s heart into the sport.

It’s important to think of a goal. Goals may change. When you’re done with your first, think of another one. And the process goes on and on. In this way, you’ll be motivated and you learn to love running more. But there are limitations. Employ a day to rest within your weekly training program. If you know how to break in your body, then learn also to rest. It is something that most runners forget.

I chanced upon a book on running which says, “it takes ten years for one to become good in running.”

The road is long. Just enjoy the run and have fun.

So, why hurry?