Readers come to Rock Creek Runner for advice, stories, podcasts, and (I presume) a little entertainment. All of which I love to share.

But aside from the occasional guest interview, nearly all of the information here is from or by me — it’s my experience and knowledge that create the content — and if I’m being honest, I don’t know everything.

Most things, sure, but not everything. 🙂

So today I thought it’d be a fun little experiment to put my own advice aside, and instead crowdsource training advice.

crowd·source
/ˈkroudˌsôrs/
verb
To obtain (information or input into a particular task or project) by enlisting the services of a number of people, typically via the Internet.

After all, what could go wrong when you ask for feedback from the internet?

I reached out to my online network of runners via email, Facebook, and Twitter, and asked a simple question:

What’s the single best piece of advice you would give to someone training for their first endurance race?

It worked! The responses started rolling in, and while certain themes emerged, they were just as varied and fun as the people writing them. The tips cover all the bases, from training and racing, to fueling and even poop.

Without further ado, here are the mostly unedited (I did correct a few typos) responses from 46 endurance athletes.

46 Pieces of Training and Racing Advice for New Runners

1) Push beyond current limits, listen to your body it’ll signal when it needs recovery or when nutrition isn’t adequate. –

2) Don’t over-train but learn that your self imposed limits need to be exposed. What seems hard now probably isn’t hard enough. –

3) Time on trails is more important than speed. Build that distance foundation mileage and then you can add from there. –

4) Don’t obsess over data! It’s easy to get caught up in all the numbers — your pace, your distance, accumulating PRs, etc. But your first race is about making it to the start and finish lines healthy. Your second (and third, and fourth, and fifth) race is for getting faster! – Ali on the Run

5) Always do a cool down exercise to match final session speed (lactic build-up) and reduce injury. – @youngincheshire

6) Relax and enjoy the training journey. The miles are a lot easier if you look at them as something you “get” to do rather than something you “have” to do. – Picky Runner

7) I found endurance more in humility than in hardness; be kind to yourself. –

8) Listen to your body! – Submitted by both @HackneyOneTouch and Vitatrain4Life

9) Train the mind and the body follows. – @BillKenagy and @Voodoo36

10) Nothing beats consistency in training – @run_jonathan

11) [Build a] “rock” solid base. –  @Rusnakrunner

12) Eat well after each workout. Build distance slowly. Eat during workouts. Do speed work. Sleep as much as possible. –

13) Be kind to yourself. You’ll have bad runs. You’ll doubt your ability. You’ll think, “If 5 miles feels hard, how can I possibly do 10 miles, 20 miles?” Don’t worry, you just will. Endurance running teaches patience and perseverance. You’ll be amazed by what you can do. Just keep on plugging! – Run Karla Run

14) RunRestEatRunRestEatRunRestEatRunRestEatRunRestEatRunRestEatRun –

15) Don’t poop yourself…and I am being serious. Watch what you eat and drink that could cause stomach distress. – Ray Jackson Jr.

16) All in or nothing at all…Endurance sports are not only a physical test but a test of passion, soul, and personal perseverance. – Steph Whitmore

17) Be honest with yourself about why you’re doing it, be realistic with goals, study nutrition, utilize recovery resources, smile.@MarcusAHille

18) Take it slow and learn how to eat. – @MrLewis_English

19) Give yourself enough time to train properly for the race (build your mileage, increase your long runs, get stronger, etc.). Far too many runners “rush” their training, resulting in injuries or a poor race so don’t let that happen to you! –  @JasonFitz1

20) The gym is your friend. So are high intensity intervals. –  Justin Van Ness

21) Eat well and be sure to take rest days. Enjoy the experience and run happy. Sugar Stride

22) Train consistently. Be ‘in the moment’ during competition. –  Steve Hunter

23) Live in the mile you are in!! Stop worrying or fretting over the ones to come. – Weight Off My Shoulders

24) Do a little bit more each time out, weather that mean distance, elevation, speed or just something a little tougher than last time, before you know it what used to be a challenge is a little less so down the metaphoric road. – Michael Jimenez

25) Slow down! –

26) Remember to enjoy it – do it because you love it, whether you just love running or because you love the challenge. – Susan Runs

27) Just aim to finish [your race], the 1st race is a massive learning experience! Sort nutrition beforehand! – @jodes_ward

28) In the first half [of your race] don’t be an idiot. In the second half don’t be a wimp. –

29) Don’t worry about time in your first race (do so later) and treat it as a celebration of the hard work you’ve put in. –

30) Fuel for your pace! Identify a sustainable pace, understand your metabolic rate at that pace, eat & drink to match. –

31) Make sure your nutrition plan is solid! – fANNEastic Food

32) Far not fast. –  Bryon Nino

33) Take it one step at a time! If you look at all the miles you need to cover it can be overwhelming but take it bit by bit and suddenly you’ll realize you’re doing things you never thought you could! – Little Fancy Nancy

34) Never trust a fart. – Amanda Yu

35) The mentally tough runs are most important. Push through and learn how to focus on putting one foot in front of the other no matter how bad you want to quit. –  Out Run Your Excuses

36) Don’t let things fester! If you have a small rock in your shoe or your pack doesn’t feel right, hot spot on your foot whatever it may be take care of it right away. You will regret it later if you don’t. – @dkipper1

37) Trust your training and feel confident knowing that you’ve trained as hard as you could. – @alexborsuk

38) In the moments that you want to give up, you find what you’re really made of. Just focus on moving forward, one foot in front of the other. – Rungry Runner

39) On race day, always smile, even if it is forced. Incessantly thank the volunteers. Help another runner in need. Your experience will be much richer, more enjoyable, and more memorable because of your outward positivity. This will likely have a pleasantly surprising impact to your finish time, as well. – Sam Reed

40) Belief! – @GVDance

41) Planning to ‘just go out and have fun’ because you know training/prep fell short is really an oxymoron. Been there and done that – ‘fun’ is not the word that came to mind during or after that 50k. – Karen Clarke

42) Run the first half with your body, the second half with your heart and remember to smile. – @E11iepe11

43) Run your race and have fun. Don’t get caught up in the enthusiasm of the start and go out too fast. You have a long way to go. – Adam Reed

44) Start at the back [of the pack], start slow, and enjoy. Paul Weir

45) Understand that no matter how much you train, there will be a point in the race that sucks. If you can mentally prepare for that, then it’s easy to accept it and move on when that moment hits. Amanda Busher Lane

46) Build an accountability system, and never quit thanking them for the support. – Me (Doug Hay)

Advice is Only as Good as the Action Taken

So there you have it. Training and racing advice from 46 different endurance runners. Runners that have been there, made that mistake, and kept pushing forward. Did they miss anything? I’d love to hear your advice in the comments below.

Now it’s your turn to act … because advice is only as good as the action it facilitates.

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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