You’re just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the run of your life!
Lance, tell us about your background in running!
I started really running in 2012 after my Uncle Roy passed away because I was determined to run the NYC marathon in his memory. But I was always a solid runner. I ran a bunch of 5k’s for fun and did some tough mudders and spartan races when they were first introduced. I like the self competition the most, like how you can run the same distance on different courses and it’s a completely different race. I was always trying to beat my own times and push myself to the next mile marker or the next lower minute. It always always helped that I was the fastest kid I knew. That helped keep my interest 🙂
What is some advice you would give someone that is a beginner and thinking about starting to do some long distance running?
It’s almost annoying for beginners to hear from someone who has run in a 50 mile race but literally the way you start is to just start. Everyone can run, you just have to find if you actually want to do it. And the want can be either out of need or frustration. What I mean by that is some people need to run and work out for health so they will do it to get or stay fit. And then there are those who decide I’m done not hitting myself goals and starting now, I am doing what it takes. I was that second group. I always wanted to run a marathon but would come up with excuses. Then I decided enough is enough and I’m going to do it. I went out for that first long run and it was terrible and exhausting and I could taste blood I was so tired. But I realized I was in a new place that I’ve never been. I was a distance runner – not a good one yet – but I knew I could do it.
What advice would you give beginner runners who think that they are too old, out of shape, or “not built” for running?
I would say to someone who says one of those excuses that unless running causes you pain that would hurt you over the long term, then all the other things are just excuses. God built us to run.
Any of those excuses are because they are comparing themselves to other people. The only person you should ever compare yourself to is yourself last week. I bet if you train this week, you’ll be a better version of yourself next week.
What is some advice you would give a beginner who has just started their running training?
Do not confuse being in pain and an injury. Injuries are one thing and if you have one, you stop running and recover. But pain, pain is something you feel when you are pushing yourself beyond what you are currently capable of. Pain is something you can push through and be better on the other side. Weak people stop when they feel the slightest bit of pain and it’s a mistake.
What sneakers, clothing, or accessories do you recommend beginner runners purchase to help in their running journey?
The main thing is train in whatever you are going to race in. It’s almost cute when a beginning runner will try something new on race day. It’s like “Oh no, that time has passed.” Don’t do anything new on race day. You’re training your running habits along with your legs and lungs. For purchases, I like running shorts with a lining and pockets. I always use the pocket for my phone. It’s just easier than fumbling with a runner belt for the phone, when you use it to change songs or select the next podcast. But in the longer runs I do wear a runners belt for the gels and snacks. I like to bring along pretzels and gummy bears. You can use money on performance snacks but if you look up the active ingredients, the same stuff is in rold gold pretzels and haribo gummy bears. And personally I choose Asics. Always Asics.
What are some good stretches or exercises that you do to help your body perform well on runs and prevent injury?
For me I have to make sure my achilles are being taken care of. After longer runs they feel almost crunchy which is as painful as it is gross sounding. And oddly enough I found my shoulders can get tired on runs so I like to make sure I move them a lot before and then while running relax them every few miles so they don’t tighten up.
How would you advise beginner runners to set goals or milestones to track their journey?
Find out what motivates you. If it’s time or miles or weight lose or beating someone else’s time, then do that. Don’t try to motivate you by someone else’s standards, that’s not fun and won’t get you excited. But if you choose it and get excited by it then you will keep wanting to go out and pursue it.
What foods do you recommend runners incorporate in their diet for optimal running?
Chia Seeds. Those things are amazing. They retain water in your body. And water is no joke, it’s so important. I put chia seeds in smoothies mostly. Also, it’s actually way more important the things you don’t eat than the things you do eat. If you can eliminate something potentially bad from your diet and don’t really miss it then do it that way. I’ve found that has helped me more than adding things that I know could be good for me. Like get rid of things that are obviously bad for you like soda and bacon, and then limit the things you really want to small portions like french fries and ice cream. Unless you’re training for an ultra, then you can eat pretty much anything. I’ve eating pizza while training for an ultra as I was running. There’s a saying, “If you run the engine hot enough, it will burn anything.” But again that’s at high miles over hours.
What advice would you give beginner runners who feel discouraged in their progress or running outcomes?
Running is something to be enjoyed so find ways to enjoy it. You’re most likely discouraged because you set an unrealistic goal for yourself and missed it. Setting small reasonable goals, although may not seem as exciting, are way better for you mentally. There’s something about being able to celebrate an accomplishment, that will keep you going for longer. Also, find a running mate. Someone to go on runs with and/or talk about running with. Some of my favorite training runs are the shorter ones where the goal is to talk the whole time, which works the lungs and gets you used to being uncomfortable and happy at the same time.