Charlie Williams can’t get enough of running. Working at Super Jock ‘n Jill, he spends a lot of time focused on the art of running and giving great advice to other runners, encouraging them to take it easy. But he doesn’t always follow his own advice; he’s too driven and passionate about the sport. He’s often pushed himself to the point of injury even though he knows better, because he just can’t stop himself, a feeling most runners are quite familiar with. An aspiring physical therapist Williams grew up in Gig Harbor, WA, and developed his love for running during high school.
How long have you been running?
I have been running over ten years. I started with cross-country my freshman year of high school because my mom told me I had to do an after school activity. It was cross-country or football, and I was small and afraid of getting hit, so the choice was easy.
Why do you run?
I run to stay fit and healthy, and because it helps me unwind. But, the biggest reason I run is for the competition. Racing and training and when you think about it, there’s no reason to suffer other than a desire to be faster than your opponents and reach your potential. I love feeling fast. I love doing workouts on the track or the trail. I love winning. I run because I don’t know how good I can be, and I want to see if I am tough enough to find out. If you run a fast time, it was because you worked hard and earned it. There is nothing more satisfying than that.
What are your best times?
How have injuries effected your racing?
My biggest challenge has been with injury. I have spent years injured with fractures, tendonitis and muscle strains. Having to take time off, do rehab, and regain fitness was always a slow and tedious process. The one positive thing that came from being injured is that it reaffirmed my desire to continue training, racing, and improving.
Do you have any tips or secrets for recovering?
I could talk for hours about tips to help with running, but my favorite is to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to recover from your runs and get enough sleep at night. If you are doing any sort of running that makes you sore, make sure your next day’s run is really easy so that your muscles, tendons and bones can recover. If you run hard every day, your body will eventually break down and you will get an injury. Take it from me: I’ve done it more times that I care to admit.
Where is your favorite place to run?
The Redmond Watershed. The trails offer a soft alternative to running on the roads, and there are miles of them. It is a great place for a long run because you can almost get lost every time, and in the process explore and discover new places to run.
Advice for beginners?
If you are just getting into running, learn to have fun. The first two to four weeks always feel bad, but once your body gets used going for runs it gets much better. After that, keep it interesting. Find new places and races to run. Explore different workouts to keep your mind from getting bored. It is no fun to do the same thing over and over again, but, if you stick to a general routine, you are going to see improvements in the way you look and feel, not to mention see big jumps in how fast you can run.
Learn to listen to your body. If something hurts, pay attention. Soreness is expected and okay, but sharp, chronic pains are not. If something is giving you trouble, give it a little attention with ice, massage, foam roller and rest until it feels better. If that doesn’t help, look at your shoes to see if you need a new pair. If that isn’t a problem, see a physical therapist.
Find a group to keep you accountable. It is really hard to run by yourself, so having a group of people or even one running buddy can make it more enjoyable both from a physical and mental standpoint. Also, there is nothing like knowing your buddy expects you to meet them even though it is early or raining to get you out.
What are some common mistakes beginners make?
Doing too much mileage too quick. Start small and add no more than 5 miles to your total mileage each week.
Running too long in old shoes. You won’t poke holes in the fabric of the upper part of a shoe that fits well, and the tread is usually the last piece of the shoe to wear out. However, the white foam is the part of the shoe that absorbs the impact from running and helps support you. This piece only lasts 300-500 miles; so keep track of how long you have had them. The most common thing I’ve seen in people who get injured is that their shoes look fine aesthetically but are way past the 500-mile mark for the foam.
Why should new runners come to Super Jock ‘n Jill?
The most important tool a runner has is a good pair of running shoes, and the staff at the store is trained to get you the best pair of shoes for your individual running needs. We are trained to watch someone run and, based on how that person’s body responds to running forces, bring out the most appropriately supported shoes for that person’s gait and foot shape. Our goal isn’t to sell you a shoe, but rather to help teach you how to buy a shoe that will allow you to be successful with your running goals.