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7 simple lessons for running to save you from learning the hard way

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

May 5, 2017 10:00:00 AM


7 simple lessons for running to save you from learning the hard way

I have run three marathons so far finishing in 3:58, 4:04 and 4:14. From 2013 to 2015 I was quite active and learned a lot running the Dublin race series and marathons in Frankfurt, Dublin and Vienna. Below you find some of the lessons I learned the hard to make it easier for you. If you have any questions please pop it into the comments section and I will gladly come back to you. 

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Bring a disposable sweater to a marathon

Being cold sucks. Being cold before a race starts sucks even more. There might be one person who loves the cold, the iceman Wim Hof, check him out. You and me are only mere mortals and most who classify as this prefer the warmth. When you start out as a runner you overlook this little fact and have no feeling for how long you must wait until the race will start. Some organisers take care of this by having some warm ups on display, but you never know what you will find on the day and where you will be waiting for the signal. To prepare for the scenario bring an old, stinky, raggedy sweater that you want to get rid off anyway. If you like, wash it before the race so it does not stink. Once the race starts, aim for the next container and throw away the sweater. This keeps you warm and avoids that you start the race annoyed and in sub-optimal condition.

Get running shoes from a special shop

Once you start running a lot, get yourself assessed in a shop and get the shoes which will be recommended by the specialists. First, go to a running club and ask where they get their shoes from to pinpoint a good, credible establishment in which the owner preferably is a long-distance runner himself/herself. My first serious pair of runners was from Mizuno and it was the best I ever got so far. I got it in a shop from a sturdy mountain goat of a man in Munich and the trip there was sponsored by a good friend of mine.

Take care of your blisters

I am not a doctor and take no responsibility for any harm that might come to you if you follow my tips. The common wisdom around blisters is to not touch them and let them take care of themselves. This is sound advice if you do not run more than 10km a week. If you happen to be a person who runs more than 30km a week with one long run on the weekends this might not work that well. For me leaving my blisters unattended when I ran 100km+ a month led to them bleeding and getting infected in some instances. This was painful, nasty and unnecessary, but I also did not want to stop my training. Here is what I did to prevent this from happening again:

  1. Check the blister. If it is small and has little to no liquid in it leave it alone
  2. Make sure the liquid is white and not blood. Once you have a blood blister leave it alone, take a break and make an appointment with a doctor to get treatment to avoid infection
  3. If it is a big, filled blister with only white liquid in it follow the next steps to keep training without making it worse
  4. Get a sterile, very thin needle
  5. Pop the blister and use a sterile cloth to push out all the liquid carefully through the hole you made. It is important that you pay attention to leave the remaining skin intact as much as you can to not expose the raw flesh underneath
  6. Once done put a plaster over the blister
  7. Fix the plaster to your foot with leukotape (avoid to put the leukotape directly on the blister. Once you remove it you will rip off the tender blister skin with it)
  8. Go out and train!

Train your heart rate for long distance or go at the same pace for longer

For long distance running, I found the most effective tool for improvement is to be running for longer times at the same heart rate or the same pace. You can achieve that by either getting a heart rate monitor and I personally use the equipment from Garmin which I am very happy with. The Heart rate method is best if you are serious about running. If you only run occasionally use your phone with a free running app to measure your pace. Stay on the same pace for the entire run. A good tip here is to run that fast that you can still speak to someone who is running with you comfortably. Once you master this pace go for longer distance or up the ante on the pace a little for the next month. Rinse and repeat accordingly.

Use negative splits

For runners who do runs which take them more than an hour to complete on the weekend (for some this might be a 6k for others 10 – 16k depending on fitness levels) use negative splits. Keep the first half of the run slightly lower than your desired pace and run the second half at a faster, desired race pace. Make this one of your mantras and you will become a faster long-distance runner.

Ignore the weather

You cannot influence the weather on race day so don’t let it be an excuse while you train. Do you want to not show up when it rains on race day or be not prepared if this scenario arises? I don’t think so. Get out there in all weathers.

Run in the mornings

I tried everything and the best time to run is when everyone else is asleep. No one is there will ask you for a favour, you will not will like an asshole for saying that you would rather go out for a run, there will be no in your way when you run. The only thing you might need is some good gear with reflection so that the few cars that are out can see you properly.

Run with someone on the same level

While running with others is nice and can be a lot of fun take care that you ran the same distance with someone who can do it in the same time as you. If you happen to run with someone who is a lot slower it will only be frustrating for the two of you. Especially if your significant other as way less fit than you I found a good solution to run different routes, one longer, one shorter, and plan to arrive back at the starting point for breakfast at the same time. Lesser fights and better training done this way.

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Topics: Run Faster