25 November 2003

You've decided to aim to be a professional runner!

This is an admirable decision, and to ensure you are taking the right steps, I've decided to give you some practical advice. See a doctor or a coach for any specific advice.

1. I hate to break it to you, but you will probably will never achieve professional fame. It is extremely hard. Also, despite common belief, pro runners are not celebrities, and do not associate with such people. Have you ever looked a runner during a race? Yup, that's why. Spit and snot all over our faces does not prove a photo op.

2. Making a committment. Some people find this the hardest part. Finding a training partner or joining a track group is probably the best way. Figure out a time for you when you won't slack; I prefer morning. You get more energy for the day, plus you get the added bonus of really understanding the weather for the day. ("Ahh...so I really can't wear my miniskirt today. I need snow pants!") You also get to know your neighborhood, another plus, when there aren't as many cars and people out. (Unless you run DURING rush hour...ouch.) Stick to it. Get pumped!

3. Attire. Make sure you remember this: In running magazines and advertisements--that's for rich runners. You are probably not a rich runner. You can of course buy nice running clothes (do it on sale) but you probably won't. I have clothes that I literally wore when I was twelve--wear it till it falls apart. You are running, not in a fashion show. Make sure you don't get chafing or have any other uncomfortable problems.

4. Attire, feet. Wear good socks or no socks--what your preference is you will soon discover. But a pair of sneakers that fit well and are durable is a must. Everyone has different feet, so although I love Saucony, they may feel awkward. Go to a sneaker store when it's not crowded, and run around in the different sneakers. If you can't decide, buy several pairs and wear them for a night in you house and see which is the best.

5. Before running, try to get something in you. I can't eat, but I know people who'd eat double-stuff oreos on the starting line of a race. I prefer two or three bites of a power bar, and a few sips of water.

6. Don't bring headphones or a cell phone. Amatuer! You are exercising, not socializing. Besides, it's hard to hear the cars and other noises that may save your life.

7. Be aware. Listen and look.

7. If you will be encountering cars on your runs, hang out with some sailors first. Then apply their language to the cars you encounter on the road. Remember, you can always shout the old, "Pedestrians always have the right of way."

8. Wear a watch. You will get lost, if you are like me and Crista.

9. Dress according to the weather, please.

10. If it is raining and you want to go running, remember: you will not melt. I use sunglasses as my windshields. Then you can see.

11. If you think you are incredible, run a road race. That's always fun, especially when someone forty years old (or younger) than you beats you.

12. Some dogs are good companions,- but cats are not. Trust me.

13. You will never look like Oprah. Keep running.

14. Eat well, treat your body good, get a lot of sleep, hydrate yourself, and shower so those around you don't have to get that close to your running. And now you are a runner!

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