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.
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?
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. – @jxa
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. – @kulwap
3) Time on trails is more important than speed. Build that distance foundation mileage and then you can add from there. – @mntgmry
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. – @
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. – @daswarehaus
8) Listen to your body! – Submitted by both @
10) Nothing beats consistency in training – @
11) [Build a] “rock” solid base. – @
12) Eat well after each workout. Build distance slowly. Eat during workouts. Do speed work. Sleep as much as possible. – @vk922
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 – @wkeong70
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. – @
18) Take it slow and learn how to eat. – @
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! – @decap512
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! – @
28) In the first half [of your race] don’t be an idiot. In the second half don’t be a wimp. – @EricAshleyNJ
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. – @MarklKennedy
30) Fuel for your pace! Identify a sustainable pace, understand your metabolic rate at that pace, eat & drink to match. – @mapleworkscoach
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! – @
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. – @
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.