a few things that have helped me as a runner:
first of all, you've got to be fitted and put into the right shoes if you're going to be serious about running. i used to go to the mall and pick out whatever looked the coolest and i'd run in them for a few years until they were falling off my feet. i was suffering running injuries all along but oblivious to the fact that my shoes were the culprit. i thought that runners got injured sometimes and you can either rest or power through. i usually did the latter. but having decent shoes will make running easier and more enjoyable w/ a lot less injuries. buy new shoes every 500 miles.
2. GPS watch
i know there's a few different ones out there. i use the Garmin 405. it's probably not the best one out there but i love it. it tells me everything i need to know to be able to successfully track my workouts and progression. i will state that i DON'T like the way the battery only lasts about eight hours when using the GPS device b/f having to be recharged. the day after my Garmin came via UPS, i went out for a bike ride that went much longer than eight hours. i was only able to track about 110 miles. but having the watch alone helps to motivate me and go longer on the trails b/c i'm able to track miles, elevation change, heart rate and everything else i need.
i am relatively new to the podcasting world and most of it bores me to tears. but there are a few out there that i've explored that have been interesting. it's nice to hear the training plans and routines of normal runners. i normally scour the internet for my hero's like Tony Krupicka and Dave Goggins. i read about these guys who are running 100-150 miles a week and wondering why i'm such a wuss. why can't i do that? Goggins does it all w/ a full time job! so Dirtdawg and Run Tri Chat have recently helped to put things in perspective for me. i wish i could up w/ Geoff Roes for a month or two of mountain running or run 20 miles a day, lift weights and sleep three hours a night like Goggins, but i'm a real person that gets injured if i push it too hard. it's nice to hear from the real people of the world.
4. local running community
i've always been stubbornly against this one. unlike many other people, i enjoy running alone. i also enjoy running at night. a lot. when running (or biking) it's a different experience each time but most of the time for me it's meditation. meditation in motion. i feel very calm and very human afterwards. i enjoy the experience of going out on a long journey by myself. don't get me wrong, i enjoy experiencing them w/ other people too. talking w/ friends help the miles to fly by quickly. but ever since i was a kid, i went further than most and usually was by myself. when i was 23 i was signing up for century rides but didn't know a single person who was into anything like that. i also rode my bike down Wisconsin and camped along the way, that summer. it took me seven days. more recently, i climbed almost all of the 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado, most of which were by myself. and that's how i prefer my adventure. however, recently, i picked up a part time job at All Season Runner and have participated in a couple of the group runs. now everyone's pace and skill vary widely and everyone has different goals. but everyone enjoys running and triathlons. so regardless--these are my kinda people! everyone is encouraging and supportive. they want to hear about your races and we all feed off of each others energy. everyone has races they're working towards and everyone speaks my language!
again, i like to run alone. i don't feel i need support from others. i don't need encouragement. i like to run by myself, struggle by myself and cross the finish line by myself. that's just how i prefer it. everyone's different. but Dailymile taught me how freaking positive people can be. i've made tons of "friends" who encourage me and keep close tabs on my progress and / or slow times. i've made some real friends there too, some of which i've even ran w/ a few times. i can log my miles, monitor my progress and compare it to others. naturally, i compare myself to all the top mileage dogs of Dailymile and wonder how the hell they are doing it--and it gives me something to shoot for. and most days, i'm shooting for the skies.
running and endurance sports are important to me and i don't just want to be okay at them. i want to get better. i want to run a hundred mile mountain race sometime next year. that is the goal at this point. these are a few of the tools i've used to get me to the point i'm at...