Rookie Mistakes (for your Turkey Trot)

A Beautiful Work In Progress, Chapters 16-20

Posted on Nov. 24th, 2021

Do you ever get one mile into a long run only to realize that your sock is sinking and beginning to bunch up in your shoe? This used to be one of my biggest pet peeves on a run when I had just gotten a new pair of running socks. Nowadays I always keep an extra pair of my most reliable socks in my running bag at all times and am sure to warm-up in new socks to make sure they won't sink before taking off on a run in them. Rookie mistakes am I right?

As we dive back into Valerio's racing experiences through these chapters while she moves up from half-marathons to marathons and eventually ultras, I appreciate that she shares more of the physical struggle and some of the first timer mistakes she made during the preparation and racing throughout her transition upward in distance (so we don't have to make the same mistakes!).

In her first 18-mile run in preparation for her first marathon, she decides not to eat before hand and rely on gels (of which she did not pack enough). By 9 miles she had conked out and needed to stop for food to make it the next 9 miles back to her car. The lesson? Always eat something before a long run. She could get away with it if she started her run early enough when doing 10 miles or even 12 miles to prepare for her half marathons, but 18 was way too far. She started making toast with peanut butter a staple before runs after that.

Another thing she discussed was chafing on long runs. She had experienced it before, but only in races so she figured that she would be ok in training. However, in that same 18-mile training run, she experienced that worst chafing of her life that stung badly in the shower. The lesson? Use lubricant on long training runs if this is an issue for you. I'll add to this, also don't wear a cotton shirt for a long run. I have made this mistake and ended with a serious rug burn on my back.

Lastly, as she left the roads and started doing more trail running and trail ultras, she talked about experiencing plantar fasciitis on longer runs in her feet. It has been said that it's not the mountains that wear you out, but the little pebble in your shoe (paraphrased from a Muhammed Ali quote) and plantar fasciitis pain in the arch of your foot definitely falls into the pebble category. It can be persistent and chronically painful. The lesson? Find the right shoes. Valerio eventually invests in a pair of good trail-running shoes that help ease the foot pain. I'll also add that stretching and rolling your feet on a lacrosse ball during the warm-up go a long way as well.

So, as we all prepare for our turkey trots tomorrow, whether you are an experienced runner or a first timer, 5k runner or a marathoner, please drop your best advice in the comments so we can all avoid making rookie mistakes.

Discussion Questions:

1. What rookie mistakes have you made when first tackling new distances in running and walking? How have you since solved them?

2. What is your advice to the many first time or infrequent runners who will be lining up for tomorrow's turkey trots?

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