Running Wisdom: Lessons From A Running Life

Running wisdom, running lessons

Photo: Phil Hospod

The Staten Island Half-Marathon on October 7, 2012 was my 50th race. In my transformation from loather to lover of running, I have culled a fair amount running wisdom as both a runner and a running reporter.

The running life is like any other life—fraught with pitfalls and challenges, but also rewards and joys. And I’ve experienced them all. Some lessons I learned the hard way and others were pleasant surprises. Some are obvious, but not necessarily if you’re a new runner. Some are humorous and some are serious. But all of them are worth heeding.

I hope to keep adding to my trove of running wisdom over the course of my next 50 races and beyond—which begins with the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 18. But for now, here are a few nuggets from my running wisdom treasure trove, in no particular order.

1) Make goals

2) Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals

3) But also don’t be afraid to go for them

4) Go out slow — slower than you think you need to

5) When all else fails, have fun

6) Run for fun

7) Run in costume

8) Run with friends

9) Run with family

10) Join a team

11) Try a tri

12) Be thankful that you can run

13) Always bring your running shoes on vacation. When you don’t, run anyway.

14) When you’re heartbroken, go for a run. When you’re happy, go for a run.

15) Give a running streak a try

16) Knowing better is one thing. Doing better is another.

17) Run in the rain on a hot day. Stay in bed on a cold one.

18) Cheer on runners at a race you’re not doing

19) Acknowledge that training actually works

20) Run tune-up races before your big event

21) Run hills, even if you hate them

22) Read a book about running, whether it’s fiction, memoir, humor or how-to

23) Bad runs, like bad things, happen to good people.

24) When bad runs happen, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.

25) Smile for the camera

26) Run for charity at least once

27) Train with music, but don’t be afraid to leave it at home on race day

28) Don’t try new food on race morning. Also don’t drink a milkshake before a speed workout.

29) Don’t go for a personal best in your first Disney race

30) Don’t wear cotton socks

31) Don’t bother wondering, “What If?”

32) Listen to people who know better than you

What are some of the lessons you have learned as a runner? Please share your running wisdom in the comments below!

Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runner’s weekly lifestyle web show about running. She has completed four marathons, two triathlons and trains with the New York Harriers. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.


10 2012