- Listen to your body. - It's not a sign of weakness to skip a workout when you are sick or injure. It's the smart thing to do. Running when you are truly ill won't help you recover. Nor will running on an injury. Many times it makes it worse. Take a few days off and let your body recover, it's worth it in the long term.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! - All year round, and especially in the summer, it is important to stay hydrated. Athlete's lose hydration when they sweat. It's important to replace those fluids (and salt) otherwise you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, fainting, puking, or muscle cramping. Trust me, it's not fun.
- Track the miles on your shoes - When I first started running, I figured a pair of running shoes should last a year. Sure, it made sense to me back then, but shoes don't break down based on time, they break down based on mileage. Running on worn out shoes leads to injury. I like to change mine out at about 400 miles, but that depends on the shoe.
- Socks matter - When I started running, I ran in loose cotton socks. This led to blisters. I've learned that running in the correct socks is important. You don't need to spend a lot on socks (I've been very happy with socks found at Target), but you do need to wear some made from a wicking material (I like coolmax) that fit your feet snugly. I've also found that I'm fond of injinji socks when cycling.
- Be comfortable when you run - A few ladies have asked me which is better for summer: Shorts, Skirts, or tri shorts? Tank tops, t-shirts, or athletic tops? And my running friend who is beginning to train for triathlon wants to know what's best to wear to the pool. The answer is "you tell me!" When I started on this journey, I thought there was one right answer. I saw a lot of women in form fitting athletic tops and running shorts, so that's what I wore. Over time I've learned that whatever is most comfortable for each individual is the right answer. And I've learned that for me, the better answer is loose tank tops and skirts.
Those are just a few things that I've learned the hard way over the years. What would you add to the list?