Five running tips I didn’t learn from a magazine.

(We are excited to share more running tips from friend of Sixty Feet, Tim Dreyfus. Tim ran with Team Sixty Feet last year in Nashville, and today is sharing tips the running mags don’t talk about.)

My friend Bernard has been a trainer for a major college track team for 15 years. He’s worked with several coaches and a whole lot of track athletes. Trying to gain some insight, I asked him what they did at practice. He told me track is pretty simple. You start running and then you make a left turn, another left turn, another left turn and so on until you reach the finish.

When you think about it, running is pretty simple. To run, all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and keep going until you get to the finish. However, we (runners) won’t stand for that. We need more information. There has to be some trick to help us run longer or faster. So we devour running magazines and websites looking for the latest tip.

I’ve found that they all pretty much say the same thing. They’ll give you a training plan, tips on the best clothing and shoes, and motivational advice on “pushing yourself.” But as Bernard would tell you, it’s really just “left turn, left turn, left turn….”.

Experience will teach you stuff they won’t put in the magazines and websites. So rather than making you learn it yourself, you can just learn from me.

1. Never have your shoes come untied again

    Nothing will kill a good run, like having to stop and tie your shoe. I can’t explain it, but it’s really painful to bend down and tie them when you are in the middle of a run. It’s also annoying to your running partner if they have to stop and wait for you to tie your shoe.

    This happened to me several years ago, and my friend (frustrated because he had to wait on me) told me I should tuck my laces.

    shoelacesTD

    My other friend said, why don’t you just double knot your laces and they won’t come untied. To which “Tuck your laces” guy responded, “You could do that, but what if you are in a situation where you need to get your shoes off in a hurry? And you can’t because they are double knotted!”

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been to a funeral in which they said “Uncle James was a good man, if only his shoes hadn’t been double knotted. He might have made it.” But I will say this, I’ve double knotted my shoes and they’ve still come untied. They have never come untied when I tucked my laces. So tuck your laces and never worry about your shoes coming untied again.

    You should also know that we spent the remainder of that run coming up with mock scenarios in which bad things happened to people because their shoes were double knotted.

2. You can be a Dog Whisperer Too

    I usually run on the University of Alabama campus or on the streets surrounding it. But occasionally I’ve strayed out into the countryside for a run. Several years ago, I met one of my friends for a run out in the country. There were very few cars and houses around. While we were talking on the run, out of nowhere a dog came running at us. My friend, in the middle of our conversation, never broke stride. He simply waited until the dog got close and then in the loudest voice I’ve ever heard he said “GO HOME!!!!” The dog whimpered and ran away.

    Once I realized I wasn’t going to die (or get rabies from a rabid dog) I started laughing. I thought
    that dog was going to eat my face off and my friend simply told it to “GO HOME!!!” and it did.
    The best part? My friend just continued his story as if nothing had ever happened.

    Several years later I was running through a neighborhood and encountered another dog. Same situation, except, I was by myself this time. Since I figured I had nothing to lose at this point, I used the “GO HOME!!!” method. Surprisingly it worked.

    And since it has worked two times it should work every time, right? Anytime a dog comes after you, just follow the “GO HOME!!!” method.

    Also, I recommend running in areas where dogs aren’t roaming freely.

3. Nipple Chaffing is Real…but there is a cure

    I’m sure when people saw this scene in The Office several years ago, they thought it was an exaggeration. Sadly, it’s real, effecting thousands of runners every year across the US. I’ve had a couple of guys (tormented by this awful affliction) approach me ashamed and confused. The conversation usually goes something like this..

    Them: Hey… umm have you ever started bleeding around your nipples while running?
    Me: Ewww.. No that’s gross.
    Them: (Embarrassed) I mean, me neither I was just asking for a friend.
    Me: Ha! I’ve never bleed, but I do know what you are talking about.

    Nothing is worse than getting home from a long run and looking forward to the refreshing feeling of a shower, only to be interrupted by the feeling that you have been stabbed in the chest as the water hits the chaffed area.

    There is an easy solution. All you have to do is go to the store and buy the circle band-aids. You can usually get 100 for less than 5 bucks. Apply them in the correct area and you will be good to go. You are welcome. (Oh…and lose the cotton t-shirts.)

4. The Minimalist Method works

    A couple of years ago, a friend of mine encouraged several of us to buy a Sweat GUTR. The Sweat GUTR is a band that wraps around your head and acts as a gutter so sweat does not get into your eyes. Remember “Tuck your Laces” guy? Second only to his “Tuck your laces” theory, he believes strongly in the Sweat GUTR. He still wears his today. (Although I secretly think he just does it to embarrass his wife, his three daughters aged 16, 14 and 11, and all of humanity!) I can’t argue with him, because it works.

    GUTR

    There are so many accessories we can now use to make our running experience more enjoyable. GPS Watches, Heart Rate Monitors, Fuel Belts, Compression socks, IPODS and the list goes on and on. And while each of these can be good for your run, when you add them all together it’s a little too much.

    If it takes you longer to gear up than it does to complete your run, then you’ve gone too far. And if you are reading this and thinking “I wonder if he’s talking about me?” “Are my GPS watch, compression socks and IPOD too much?” The answer is an emphatic “Yes.”

    You can choose between the camelback backpack , compression socks, and heart rate monitor, just don’t choose all of the above.

    Speaking of going overboard…

5. Let’s Talk Carb Loading

    Most people I know eat plenty of carbs on a daily basis. If that’s you (Yes, I’m talking about you. The person that just had a biggie fry for lunch) then there really is no need to eat extra carbs before your 2 mile run. Carb loading was really meant for those folks that eat nothing but protein and figs and are about to run a marathon.

    I talk with people all the time that take up running to lose weight and it doesn’t happen. So they quit running when running wasn’t the problem in the first place. Some people run so they can eat what they want, that’s cool too. But don’t be surprised if you aren’t losing weight when you are throwing down several slices of pizza before a run.

    If you don’t eat many carbs (and let’s be honest, I’m only talking to a few people here), you can add a few carbs before a long run. Or consume one of the gels (like a GU) during your run.

    When training for a marathon or half-marathon, the gels are a great source of energy. However, just don’t do what we saw a lady do several years ago at the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis.

    She had at least 20 gels attached to her fuel belt. I bet she’s the first person ever to consume more calories than she burned during a marathon.

So there you have it. Those are just a few tips that you won’t find in the running magazines. Good luck with all your running and I really hope you’ll be running a race for Sixty Feet soon. (You can find out about all of their upcoming races here)

One last thing, when I discussed this list with my wife (who runs some as well), she gave me one more tip for the ladies…

If you are a woman and you’ve had a baby, (or multiple babies) wear dark shorts.

I’m not sure what that is all about, I’m not even going to ask, but she assures me that the moms will know what she is talking about.

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