I started running very casually.  I mean I had no intention to run long distances.  The only thing in the mind as a beginner for me was to run.  I had discovered by trial and error that running is one form of exercise that I was able to do anywhere and anytime. 

It was something that did not require me to join a gym membership.  I did not even require a coach to train me.  And the best of all if I wanted to run, I can just even venture out in my flip flops and enjoy few short strides.  Only later when I started to run long distances that I discovered the running shoes.

I just ran.  I did try to read a lot of information and get it incorporated in my training for a marathon.  But there is one thing that I discovered on my own and I would prescribe this to every beginner AND EVERY RUNNER – Run By Feel!

No matter what you know about running, this is the most important thing to know:

Listen to your body

This is the most important aspect of running that a lot of runners don’t keep in mind once they start to enjoy their runs.  They set their eyes on big long-distance goals.  And these over-ambitious goals may short circuit your love affair with running.

I have always run by feel.  I always listen to my body.


As a beginner, you may be having goals to crush a marathon one day.  But let me tell you why you should not hurry up and keep running by feel as your thumb rule at all times.

 You will always stay safe and injury free: 

As a beginner, your body is not sure what is in store for you in the future.  Therefore, start with gentle runs.  The gentle runs spanning short distances will get your body system acclimatized to running. 

When you begin to play a new sport, it takes the body some time to adjust its body parts to a new form of exercise.  So, if you ran too fast too long or gave yourself long distance targets, your body may just not be in a position to take it all.  And you may end up injuring yourself.

I have managed to keep myself injury-free for the past 2.5 years that I have been running.  And I am glad to tell you that this is the single most reason why I could graduate from short distance running to half marathon and eventually a full marathon.

You may come across the running courses and the coaches promising you to train you and make you marathon ready in less than 6 months.  But, I would rather tell YOU to ask this question to yourself:  “Am I fit enough! Is my body ready?”

While training for marathon, I always would tell this to my self –

To play the game and win the game, I must stay in the game.

So, your first few months should never be focussed on crushing any kind of running goal.  They should be rather used to build your leg muscles, strengthen your lungs and improve your breathing etc.  And of course build your attitude.

You will not force yourself to run:

By listening to your body, you will not force yourself to run.  People do it all the time and then they suffer. 

Run by feel allows you to detect the problems in your body.  You may not exactly know where the problem is but if you stopped then and there the moment you felt the problem, you would be able to address the problem and stop it from becoming severe.

Lots of people suffer from leg injuries.  This could be due to flat feet.  This could be due to not wearing the right type of shoes for running.  The problem could be anything. 

If your running starts to cause any severe pain, you must stop running right away.  Forcing yourself to run in such situations will render your running paralyzed for life.   

 You discover your strengths and weaknesses gradually:

This is the mantra that you may choose to remember if you wish to keep enjoying runs for a long-long time. 

Most of us do not have time to evolve.  And therefore we hire coaches.  We go online to learn as much as we can.  And then strive to implement all the knowledge in the world as soon as possible.  And ultimately want to see the results ASAP.

But, if you did that to your running, you will never discover the real runner in you.  The real running evolves in due course of time.  Allowing yourself to gradually grow lets your strengths and weaknesses come to the fore.

And this is only possible if you ran by feel.  Some days your body will be better prepared to run long distances.  So, you may choose to run longer and faster.  But on other days if you feel your body is not giving you that edge, you should not doubt yourself. 

Our biology keeps changing all the time. There are several factors that come into play.  Like your mental status, how much sleep you had last night, what kind of diet you have been taking etc. 

But, if you keep your running consistent, you will be able to see a long streak in your running adventures and would be able to discover a marathon runner in you.

Though the training calendars are prepared by keeping several factors in mind. They incorporate your training needs. But they can never be totally foolproof. And therefore listening to your body will always be the best bet.

 Run by feel lets you follow your own learning curve

We all have different learning needs.  Even though I started to run at the age of 38 years, my body was still in very good shape.  Reason:  I have never smoked.  Therefore, my lungs gave me good support. 

Someone who is a smoker or is in the process of leaving it may not be as fit at the same age.  The person may probably need to allow time for the lungs to get better in shape. 

Therefore, no two persons can have the same learning curves.  Some will have longer learning curves than others.  But, that’s all right.  Forcing yourself to run as long as your peers may land you in trouble.  You may completely jeopardize your future running. 

By listening to your body and running by feel will always keep you free from any kind of comparison which is so important to discover your own strengths. 

So, overall how you feel is more important than what your coach or running buddy tells you.  Follow your instincts and enjoy the process of running.  As you go along the process and stay regular to the cause of running, you are bound to succeed and find a marathon runner in you.

About sanju 192 Articles
a runner, a fitness enthusiast

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply