My last post covered ten of my running etiquette “rules” and as promised, here are the rest. I hope you find them useful!
Here we go, picking up at number 11:
- (#11) The road or trail doesn’t care about you. Potholes, rocks, lose gravel and the weather are indifferent about what you’re doing. Wildlife doesn’t respect you or your good intentions either. Don’t let the routine, the ordinary, or your experience lull you into a false sense of security. Be prepared for the things that don’t usually bite you, literally and figuratively. Hope for the best but have a reasonable plan for the worst.
- (#12) Have a plan. In the spirit of the previous rule, let folks know your plan and carry some form of identification. Whenever possible I let my wife know where I intend to run and how far/long I expect to go. I’m also a huge fan of Road ID. Let’s face it, we’ve all set out to run a certain route and/or distance, along the way you change the plan for any number of reasons and suddenly you’re not where you said you’d be. Then you find yourself needing help. Back to Road ID--pure figurative gold and very affordable. No matter what, if someone finds you, they have the info they need to render aid and contact someone you’ve designated on your behalf. If you’re an outdoor athlete, whether you run, walk, bike, ride horses, etc., get yourself a Road ID. Hopefully the worst never happens, but if it does, make it easy for someone else to help you. If Road ID isn’t your thing, that’s fine. Just find a way to ensure others can find out who you are and render aid to you in the event you’re unable to ask for their help.
- (#13) Hygiene matters. If you’re an early morning runner it seems in most cases the shower understandably happens after the run. Fine, but no matter what time of day you run, brush your teeth before you hit the pavement or trail, especially if you’re going to run with someone else. We runners love our air and when we run we sure move a lot of it in and out of our lungs. When you’re running with others, minty fresh (or even mediciny) breath always wins over last night’s egg salad or the kimchi you ate at lunch. Trust me. Your clothes matter too. You might not notice or mind the clothes you’ve repeatedly run in for the last week, but your running buddy will. Being frugal is one thing, but consider how often you probably ought to swap your shorts and tech tee for a fresh set. Ditto for your body. I didn’t forget what I said at the start of this rule, but knowing you’ll get a little “aromatic” when you log the next several miles isn’t a good reason to put off the shower that you probably already needed yesterday. Last thing on this topic: if you run in Vibram Five Fingers, please throw those things in the washer every now and then. Yes, you can do that! They’ll hold up just fine and we won’t have to smell your feet even when you’re still 25 yards away.
- (#14) Running is a journey. I’m talking about a lifestyle or even a lifetime and of running, but just about every individual runs contain a little piece of that journey. This one probably warrants a separate, dedicated post as well. You hear runners talk about facets of this all the time when they say things like “listen to your body.” When you run, you have time to strip away the usual daily grind at the office or at home. It’s you, your body and your thoughts. If you run regularly, you’ll inevitably find yourself noticing things about your body that you’ve never noticed before. You’ll have the chance to work through issues mentally ranging from how your body is managing the physical stresses, pains and achievements of the run, to matters that the “normal” day doesn’t afford you the chance to dedicate thought to. You can daydream, or listen to music or books. You can actually enjoy an uninterrupted conversation with a friend who runs with you. You’ll see the world around you differently. You see things you’ve never noticed on the road you normally drive down. The trail in the woods you never see other than to drive by becomes a beautiful adventure and a world all its own. Over time all those runs add up and the time spent running makes you a better person: physically and mentally. Others may or may not notice, but you will. That’s why I say running is therapy for the body and mind.
- (#15) Run for fun! I’m concluding by circling back to some of the thoughts in the earlier rules. Don’t get all wrapped up in the gear. Get yourself a good pair of shoes and get going--alone or with a friend. Old shorts and a t-shirt are just fine. Buy other stuff when and if you decide you need it. Don’t let other people or someone else’s running attire become your excuse for not hitting the road or trail. Generally speaking I don’t look like a runner, and quite often I don’t wear what some might consider the “right” clothes. Whatever. Enter races if you want, and if you do, have fun. As Nike says, “just do it.” Brookes says, “run happy.” There are dozens of other appropriate slogans out there. Pick one and take it to heart!
If you’re not a runner and this has encouraged you, let me know if you decide to get out there! If we live near each other I’ll gladly run with you If not, I’ll gladly be your virtual running buddy.
As always, it’s great to be a dad!
DISCLOSURE: Road ID did not ask me to review, support or recommend their product. I don't have a relationship with them other than as a happy customer. I've not been compensated in any way. The opinion expressed here is completely my own.