The Top 5 Things: I Would Have Wanted to Know When I started Running

July 25, 2016 Posted By: Elise Yanover


When I started running in 1996, there was no such thing that I knew of called the Internet. It may have been around but I certainly wasn’t using it and if it was around, there was no where near the abundance of information that there is today. My sources of info came from big volume running books and the odd magazine article. So here are the top 5 things I would have loved to know or listened to when I started to run!


  1. Take your time to build mileage. If I could say one thing about what I did wrong when I started to run and do triathlon, it was build up my distances too quickly. I ran for a year, then did my first marathon. I did a few sprint tris for a summer, then the next one did my first Ironman. Can you say injury? Not only did I experience my first of many injuries, but I also did not perform to my capabilities at those distances had I given myself more time to build up. I would love to see what I could do now (or before this year when I retired from racing) in a marathon having 20 years of base and wisdom under my shoes!  But unfortunately, circumstances related to crappy foot structure will not let me go long anymore. Bottom Line: build a solid base for a few years before tackling a long distance event.


  1. Listen to your body, you’ve only got one.  Four days before my 2nd marathon (Chicago in 1998), I was out for a run and felt some weird sharp pain in my pubic bone. I rested for two days, then went for a test run even though I couldn’t put full pressure on it. Long story short, I spent that marathon watching my husband run it …from crutches and a wheelchair! I had torn my hamstring tendon and some bone from my pelvis. Yup, listen to your body. Sharp pain is not normal and won’t go away once you “warm up”. Sadly it’s not the first time I haven’t listened, but as each year goes by and injuries come and go, I learn more that time off at first sign is much shorter than time off when you have really done yourself in! My rule of thumb tends to be 72 hrs of rest and if still more than a 6/10 pain grade it likely needs treatment and longer time off to fully heal. Thankfully I have recovered from all major injuries, a little wiser…… but not always L.


  1. 3.    Strength Training is where it’s at.  I think when I started to run I would do a little here and there, but it wasn’t until really last year, yes 20 yrs after my start in running that I took my weight training as seriously as I did my running (that being said, I am not serious about my running anymore, but it sounds good anywayJ. ) The key point is, weight training helps to balance the body out, it helps with power up hills and in sprints, and it is great for the metabolism especially as you age. Not to mention added bone protection. I have found for me, that heavy lifting a few times a week has helped me with all of the above, well except that I don’t sprint anymore! Unless you are at the top of the elite chain, a little added muscle is not going to slow you down significantly enough to outweigh the other positive benefits of strength work.


  1. 4.    Rest days are key.  When I started my first marathon training program, I looked over my log and I did not have one rest day in there! (insert  shame face here). What I have learned since then is that the body builds up when it is resting. Rest doesn’t always mean needing to sit on the couch, although apparently some of that is good tooJ. But active rest is also great. An easy bike ride, a leisurely walk, swim etc. Running or hard workouts day after day does not help the body, or mind to rejuvenate and you will likely find your runs and race efforts affected.


  1. 5.    Don’t make any acute changes.  When I started to run, I thought I was a big pronator. So I bought major stability shoes and ended up with major Ilitotibial Band pain on both sides. When the lightweight barefoot craze came about, I ditched my neutral shoes and orthotics for light weight shoes. This would be just post bunion surgery, which is likely why I am where I am today with my foot issues. Try not to be hung up on trends. Go with what you are used to if things are going well, and if not then get professional opinions from trusted sources. Ease into any changes vs. going cold turkey. Acute changes  will almost always be likely to end in injury and frustration.


So as you can see I have learned a lot in my 20 years of running.. All of these things I wish I had learned and taken more seriously, but as they say life is about learning from your mistakes! Hopefully I have given you some insight into many years of healthy injury free running!


See you on the roads.

Elise-Yanover-Blog-photoElise has been a registered Physiotherapist since 1992. She has her own home based private practice seeing athletes and non athletes alike.  She was a competitive age group triathlete and runner for over 20 years who recently decided to hang up the racing flats and enjoy an active lifestyle which includes running, weight training, cycling, yoga and aerobic cross training. Elise balances her days with work, fitness, and family as a wife, and mother to a nearly teen daughter.

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