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About the Club:
Where are you located?
The club meets at various locations around Loudoun County according to a schedule that is published quarterly. It is available in the club newsletter as well as on the club web site. See Club Calendar
How long have you been around?
The club was formed in 1992.
Are you affiliated with any other local or national groups?
We are affiliated with the Road Runners Club of America, a nationwide organization of over 700 running clubs and 175,000 members.
Does membership get me any discounts at local running stores?
Club members are offered a discount at both Potomac River Running in Ashburn and the Athletic House in Leesburg.
Do you have a lot of members?
We have about 100 members, although at weekend runs you'll typically see as many as 10 to 20.
Can anyone join the club?
Anyone is welcome to join the club regardless of age, gender, athletic inclination, and goals. No matter what your goals or abilities are, you will be able to find like-minded runners to keep you company and encourage you.
Can I join on line?
Yes! What are you waiting for? Sign-up HERE
Do I have to join the club to come out and run?
No, you don't. Membership has some benefits including the newsletter and various social gatherings during the year, but if you just want to come out and see what a club run is like, you are both invited and welcome.
I want to get (or get back) into running—what should I do first?
That depends on your current health and fitness. Any way you look at it, running is a strenuous activity. As is true before embarking on any exercise or fitness program that will represent a significant change in your level of activity, you may want to consult your family doctor. This is especially true if you take any sort of medicine regularly.
After paying attention to obvious health matters, go get a good pair of running shoes. Athletic House, Potomac River Running, Footsteps of Reston, Metro Run & Walk—all these stores can fit you in a good quality running shoe that will be comfy on your feet.
Where does the club meet during bad weather?
We meet, rain or shine, at whatever starting point is listed on the schedule for a given day. Unless the weather has made roads impassable, you'll always find someone ready to run.
Do I have to come to all the runs?
You are welcome to participate as often or as seldom as your own schedule and lifestyle permit. We'll always be glad to see you.
Do I have to be fast to run with the Loudoun Road Runners?
No! You don't have to be anything to run with us, except present. Our club isn't about pressure or performance or PRs (Personal Records). It's about the company; it's about the scenery; it's about having fun. We do boast our share of amazing runners, but the middle and back of the pack people will feel right at home too.
I'm a beginning runner. Which runs would be good for me?
Check out the run descriptions HERE. Each run is rated on hill difficulty and type of surface. The easier courses are noted as good runs for beginners. Some of the more gentle options include Starbucks, Tuscarora Creek, and Market Station.
I'm a new runner. Will I run alone?
We will make every effort to ensure this doesn't happen. If you are particularly concerned about this, contact a board member before the run to arrange for a running buddy. If you're new, someone will probably ask if you'd like company, but don't be shy about asking, too.
Can I bring my kids?
Everyone is welcome. That little bundle in a jog stroller could be the captain of the cross-country team one day. From a practical point of view, jog strollers are fine. We wouldn't recommend that children younger than high-school age run, though following on a bike on the W&OD would be fine. Some courses follow or cross roads that would be inappropriate for jog strollers. Many are not suitable for kids on bikes. Check out the run descriptions before attempting a run with children in tow.
Am I too old to run?
Can my husband/wife/child/S.O./POOSSLQ/partner/pet also participate?
Yes. All are welcome. Many couples participate. Some of our members will bring will bring Canine-American friends with them, too.
What kind of running shoes should I get?
A good quality running shoe will cost around $100. Some are a little more; some are a little less. What is best for you will depend on your stride and how your foot lands on the ground. Employees in a good running store will have you run in several types of shoe and watch carefully. (Some stores will actually videotape this for you.) The goal is to fit you with the optimal combination of cushion and support for your body mechanics.
What sort of running gear should I consider?
Proper running clothes are almost all made out of special synthetics called technical fabrics. The name you'll hear most often is "CoolMax". These materials overcome the biggest problem of natural fibers—absorbency. When your clothing gets soaked with sweat (or rain), it gets heavy as well as interfering with your body's ability to cool or warm itself. Technical fabrics are light, comfortable, and allow moisture to escape and evaporate quickly. This means they keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Running bras are available in the same material. Whatever you buy, bright colors are better than dark colors—they make you more visible. In the world of running fashion, loud colors that clash are good!
Won't I get too cold in the winter unless I bundle up in cotton sweats and a woolen scarf?
Winter running gear is pretty simple. Pants or leggings, gloves, hat, and jacket over long sleeve shirt are about all that you need as long as everything is made of CoolMax or similar material. It doesn't sound like enough, but here's why it works: your body warms up pretty quickly during exercise and begins to perspire. That moisture needs to evaporate. In warm weather, CoolMax helps moisture evaporate through the material so you stay cooler. In cold weather, CoolMax helps moisture evaporate so that it doesn't stay in your clothes, where it just gets cold and makes you colder. That's why running in cotton or other natural fabrics is especially miserable in the winter. When you're wearing proper gear, you'll notice frost forming on the outside of your clothes—a good sign. It means that the moisture getting to the cold air instead of chilling you.
What's the best portable music player to run with?
Your memory and imagination. A key part of running safely anywhere is situational awareness, so ditching the iPod is usually a good idea. Keeping your ears open helps you better assess things as you run along. A loose dog that's having an aggressive moment will often not make a lot of sound just prior to contact. Hybrid cars can also be remarkably quiet until they are right on top of you. Most races either discourage or outright ban portable music players for safety reasons. Finally, you don't want to miss all the really excellent conversation that we have on our club runs . . .
I ran in the rain and soaked my shoes. How do I dry them out?
Decent running shoes are pretty delicate, so sending them on a trip through the wash or a for a tumble in the dryer is really hard on them and shortens their useful life. ("Useful" is the cushion, protect, and stabilize part of their design, not the look-cool-in-a-colorfully-geeky-way part.) Their delicacy allows them to dry pretty quickly, though, if you follow some simple steps(!).
- Take out the insoles, and wring the water out of them, preferably over a sink, and set them aside where they can air dry without offending the rest of the family
- Assuming your spouse or significant other has finished with the Post, loosely pack each shoe with a couple of sheets of newspaper.
- Let them sit with the paper in them for several hours—for example, till you get home from work or overnight depending on when you got drenched.
- After several hours, remove the newspaper, and let the shoes air dry for about a day.
- Put the dry insoles back in.
- Get up early and go run . . .
Where are the club runs held?
See our calendar for a schedule of upcoming runs. There you will find links to maps and descriptions of each course, as well as driving directions to the start. Our courses vary from easy in-town runs to more challenging courses in hilly western Loudoun County. If you're up for the challenge, you'll be treated to some of Loudoun's most beautiful scenery.
What does a run sponsor do?
The run sponsor commits to showing up (of course) and puts water (and Gatorade if appropriate) out along the route. For some reason, the club consensus is that basic Gatorade—not X-Factor or other brands—seems to be the most palatable of those drinks.
Can I sponsor a run?
You sure can. Let a member of the board know at any of the runs or by phone or e-mail, and your name will be added to the sponsor list. The proposed quarterly schedule will be sent out in advance so that you can okay any runs you've been assigned.
Do I need to carry water with me?
The run sponsor generally puts water out along the course, so you usually don't need to carry any.
Can I suggest a new course to run?
Yes. We're always open to finding new and enjoyable places to run.
Do you ever do trail runs?
Yes, a subset of the club sometimes participates in group trail runs. Refer to the contacts page for information on trail run organizers. You can sign up to be on an email list for notification of these runs.
Do you have or sponsor a program to help me train for a marathon?
While the Loudoun Road Runners does not have a formal "marathon training" program, we are a community of runners who help each other reach our goals. You will find that many of our club members are regular participants in marathons, and we offer many informal training opportunities. Make sure that you mention your goal when you come out to run with us, and you can be sure that you'll have plenty of encouragement and support.
Do you have or sponsor classes to help me with running/fitness?
Not at this time, but you can always get good recommendations from other club members.
Is running a good way to lose weight?
No. Running is an excellent part of an overall health and fitness regime. Healthy and fit people are their right weight. People who want to be healthy and fit will arrive at the right weight over time. (How long is different for each person.) Believe it or not, there are still people who believe that you can sweat off those extra pounds. All you sweat is water and salts, both of which you need to be a healthy, functioning human. If weight control/loss is part of your running ambition, measuring progress on a monthly basis will give you the most accurate picture. Jumping on a scale before and after a run simply tells you how much you were sweating, and if you've lost too much water, you're probably going to get sick.
Should I drink a lot of water when I run?
Hydration is particularly important in warm weather. If you don't drink enough water, you risk injury or illness. A mild state of dehydration will ruin your day, with symptoms like headache, irritability, or nausea. Serious dehydration can send you to the hospital where only an IV can get you enough fluid. Too much water can upset your body chemistry and cause equally serious problems. In warm weather, it's optimal to take some fluids about every thirty minutes. Find the right balance for your level of activity. Some Gatorade or other drink for replenishing electrolytes is good maintenance after running.
How will running affect my diet, and what should I eat?
An important thing to remember is that running is a normal human activity (we're built for it) and that we are still basically the same creatures that we were thousands of years ago. Cars, escalators, and convenience foods haven't undone our evolutionary history (yet), so our bodies are happiest when we eat fresh stuff in moderation--fruits, vegetables, meat/fish/poultry, dairy, whole grains, etc. (Vegetarians please make the normal adaptations.) Food that comes in a box with a picture of the food on it is probably not an ideal choice. Almost everything you need will be around the walls of most supermarkets. If you are training more strenuously, you might need more of certain things like protein and carbohydrates, but like most things the increase will be moderate. You really don't have to give anything up, but a health-centric diet punctuated with occasional treats works much better than the reverse. Don't forget to get enough rest, too.
What's an air hanky?
Delicately placing a finger against one nostril and blowing out the other is a technique for clearing occasional congestion. With the head tilted at the proper angle, no tissue is required. It is rather rude and is discouraged if other runners are likely to be inconvenienced. Oh, and almost everyone does it occasionally, don't be embarrassed.
What's a POOSSLQ?
Person of opposite sex sharing living quarters.
When I'm out running, which side of the road should I be on?
As a general rule, try to run facing traffic. Because a runner is small, slow-moving, and almost invisible compared to a car, you want to be able to see what's coming and deal with it. You do NOT want cars racing up on you from behind. Do not expect to be seen, even if you're wearing your best fluorescent outfit, have made eye contact with a driver, and both of you are waving. When approaching right-turning cars from their right, expect them to pull right out before they see you. (Your expectations will seldom be disappointed.)
I went out for a run, and my shirt chafed my nipples till they started to bleed! What's up with that?
This is more common among men than women, especially over long distance where a shirt or singlet can get damp from rain or perspiration. Two easy solutions are "Nip Guards", which you can buy at any running store, or NuSkin, which you can get at any drug store. Applied appropriately, either of these products will protect you.
I went out for a run, and [some part of my body] got chafed. How can I prevent that?
The most popular product among runners is called "Body Glide". It comes packaged something like a deodorant stick. It protects the skin from chafing, and because its more waxy than Vaseline, it usually stays where it needs to and doesn't mess up your clothing.
I went out for a run and got blisters on my feet. How can I prevent that?
Your running shoes should be a half to a whole size larger than your street shoes. If they aren't, getting the right size should help. Good socks as well as a little Body Glide can also help prevent or reduce blisters. Injinji toe socks are popular with some long distance runners. If they work for you, you can expect miles and miles of comfy running with nary a chafe. Sometimes you're just going to get a blister, though. Sorry.
I've been feeling a little like I've been run over by a truck. What's wrong?
This could be a sign of overtraining or trying to do too much too soon if you are a beginning runner. A general guideline for increasing your mileage is to limit increases to 10% per week. Listen to your body and do not try to "run through the pain" as more serious injuries can occur. Many runners swear by therapeutic massage as a way to work out some of the tightness and tenderness that comes with an active lifestyle. You'll have to decide what you think will work best for you, but asking around the club will guide you to various options.