Chances are, if you're 16 or older, you own a car. If you're like most car owners, you try to take pretty good care of your car. You know how expensive it is to repair it, so you make sure you keep it maintained and road ready so that you can depend on it daily. Proper car care isn't hard. Oil changes, fuel, water, brakes, tires, etc. And when you don't do these things like you should, you run the risk of damaging the car or having it quit on you when you need it most.
Much like a car, a runner has to have proper shoes (tires), proper food (fuel), plenty of water (water, duh), etc. What happens if you drive your car for extended periods on bad tires? It gets all out of alignment, isn't as safe to drive, doesn't perform as well, and causes other problems. If you are running in shoes that are old and worn, eventually you will experience pain and discomfort. Left unchanged, this will lead to injury. Much like a car, if you break something on it, or injure something on your body, you're out of commission for an undetermined amount of time (depending on the injury). Keep good shoes. Trade them out when they're worn, about every 6 months. Don't risk the complications that running in worn out shoes can and will cause.
The same goes for fuel. You can't put crappy fuel in your car and expect it run well for you, and you can't put crappy food in your body and expect it to run well for you. You will feel sluggish, drained, and slow if you're eating crap and training. This is true no matter what you do. If you eat like crap, you'll feel like crap.
One of the biggest mistakes runners make is not hydrating properly. And when I say "properly" you can't wait until the morning of a long run to start getting your water in and expect to be properly hydrated. And you for sure don't want to hydrate AFTER the fact. Proper hydration is something that you should always be working on. And again, this is true no matter what you do. So many people are trying to function on little to no water and lean to sodas and other sugary drinks for thirst. This is a mistake. You can definitely expect an injury if you are not getting your water intake. Like a car, you will over heat and cause serious illness/injury to yourself without proper hydration. Water is critical. Drink it! Drink LOTS of it!
These are just some simple things to think about as the running season is getting started for many of us. I want to encourage you to get out there and get some miles in, and to take care of your body so that is will be there for you. We need to be able to depend on our cars, and we need to be able to depend on our bodies.
Have a great day everyone!