2 Running Lessons I Should Have Learned A Long Time Ago

I had a great run this Saturday! 6.25 miles, which I think is the longest I’ve run since this injury started. I was nervous going into it because I’ve been doing so well lately and would have been crushed if any pains popped up. My doctor said I can run as long as nothing hurts, so I  decided to try again while, of course, being cautious.

It's "too cold" outside according to everyone here. IT'S 58 DEGREES.

It’s “too cold” outside according to everyone here. IT’S 58 DEGREES.

For now, I’m still continuing on as normal for the NYC Half. I’m not doing speedwork though. I have zero time goals. Since this will just be a fun race in my favorite city, there’s no pressure. Without all the pressure, I have time to relax and think, which turned into a minor revelation that I shared in a Snapchat story from the beach. On this particular run, there were two things I finally learned as a runner…two very basic lessons I should have learned a LONG time ago. (Shamless plug: follow me on Snapchat: KaraRuns729!)

For new runners or runners returning from injury, here are two things I’m learning to embrace.

Walk breaks are beneficial.

I used to basically consider a run a failure if I stopped to walk. I looked at walking as though it meant defeat. Now, I’ve reframed it in my head as more of a self-love and preservation thing. My mind knows where I once was, what my PRs are and what I can accomplish when I put the effort in. But I can’t keep pretending like I’m in that position now. I can run 6 miles if I toss in some rejuvenating walk breaks. No, it’s not exactly what I WANT to be doing…but my mind knows it’s better for me in the long run (no pun intended! LOLZ.) I can’t keep looking at it on the surface, I need to think of it as investing in my body for the future.

wedding photos

SEE? WALKING IS FUN. Also fun: looking at wedding photos over and over.

Running slower isn’t a bad thing.

I have similar feelings about slowing the pace. Just because you could once run a consistent 8:45 mile in a long run, doesn’t mean you’re in shape to do that now. Be honest with yourself: what’s your benchmark right now? Again, running easy doesn’t mean defeat. To me, it means I’m taking care of myself – both the current me and the future me. Eventually we can get back to where we were if we practice patience now. (#ImGrowingUp) Plus, easy runs are crucial for a quicker recovery, whether you’re returning from injury, had a tough training week, or even if you’re just tense from a stressful day in general. If you’re addicted to checking your pace (like me!) or if seeing slower paces makes you feel unneccesarily horrible (like me sometimes, I admit it!), leave the Garmin or whatever GPS you have at home for now, or at least switch the settings so you’re only shown distance while running – not pace. Take it easy and ENJOY it…because that’s OKAY! You’re taking care of yourself.

This isn’t groundbreaking stuff; I don’t know why it took me so long to TRULY embrace these lessons. (Let’s just hope I remember them the next time I’m seriously training for a race!) As long as you’re not using them as excuses to be lazy, I think they’re great ways to take care of yourself and continue along as a healthy runner.

forrest gump tired

What basic lessons took you a long time to ACTUALLY learn?

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!


  1. February 1, 2016 / 5:28 pm

    These are both new lessons for me too. Coming back from an injury after an AMAZING year of running has been so tough!! I’m doing intervals and running slower than I have ever….BUT, I’m running again!!! I’ve really trying to embrace that as I move forward and just enjoy the moments!

  2. February 1, 2016 / 5:38 pm

    Yes and yes. These are such great tips that are so difficult to get sometimes!

  3. February 2, 2016 / 4:40 pm

    first time visitor here (thx for finding my blog!) — so envious that you got into the NYC Half! i ran it 2 years ago but haven’t gotten in (via lottery) the past 2 years. hope you have a great, fun race and feel good running it. hopefully i’ll be here that weekend cheering people on. it runs right near my apartment. :)

    • February 2, 2016 / 4:49 pm

      Thanks for reading, Shawna! I actually never got into the NYC Half until I moved away from New York, haha. (I’m living in California now.) I actually did the 5 borough challenge or whatever it was a few years ago and got in, but ended up getting injured, ugh! Anyway, thanks so much for the kind words. Maybe I’ll see you on the course :)

  4. February 3, 2016 / 6:02 pm

    Better to learn the lessons late than never. I just finished my first marathon in Disney and walk breaks are a way of life! Do not be ashamed it allows you to run farther and faster and I’m not the only one who believes that according to how many were doing it.
    To answer your question I think for me it took me way to long to fall in love with the benefits of foam rolling! So there is my lesson learned. Have a great day!

    • February 3, 2016 / 6:27 pm

      CONGRATS on finishing your first marathon! So incredible. I totally agree – I just wish I embraced it sooner. I also need to get better at embracing foam rolling :) Thanks so much for reading!

  5. February 7, 2016 / 4:59 am

    Totally hear you on leaving Garmin at home to enjoy a run or race! I actually PRed without using a Garmin as well- I get in my head about it !