A lot of you recently have asked me recently on here (like my girl @mesohongry. I adore her and she is hilarious! Please check out her blog Ah...Me So Hongry!) and via Twitter how I started running. Well that’s an easy answer…
Just put one foot in front of the other and keep doing that over and over at a faster pace than you would if were walking. DUH!!
Um yeah….NOT so much.
Let me give you a little history of my “running background”. In grade school, I couldn’t even run the dreaded “mile” they made you do. I was lucky if I made it a 1/4 way through the track. And if I did make it that far, I was usually crying and hyper-ventilating. I tried *everything* in my willpower to get me out of running that mile each year, and most of the time I was successful. The funny part is, I was skinny then! Actually some years I was grossly skinny (I dealt with depression most of my life and during my teen years I just chose not to eat a lot. I was by no means healthy.). Asking me to run was like asking me to put my body through a meat grinder…no thanks!
So you are probably wondering why I run now huh?? Well even though I compared the actually physical part of running to pain and torture, I always envied the way runners looked…and I don’t mean their bodies. Watching people run looked so beautiful. It almost seemed graceful to me in a way. It looked like fun and like a killer workout. In my mind, putting on some headphones and running away sounded like pure bliss. So one day I decided that I wanted to be that “runner”.
I first started with the C25K program (that's the ‘couch to 5K’ for those who are not already familiar). I enjoyed it, and I really do believe that if it wasn't for that program I probably would have never kept trying to run. With that said, please know that I never even went all the way through with week 3…possibly not even week 2. It’s not that the program isn’t great because really, it is. It just seems for me, training programs like that bore me and if I don’t succeed at them, I quit. But again, I never would have tried to run 30 seconds if it wasn't for that regime. It was my starting point you could definitely say.
Ok…so that's how I started. The thing is, I can’t tell any of you *how* to run. I guess I can only tell you things that I did that have worked for me. So here is some of my advise:
- Take it *slow*!! This is probably the hardest thing to do. You always want to run faster and you always want to run longer. But the biggest truth in running is that the #1 way to injure yourself is to do too much too soon. I have been a victim to this many times and believe me, it sucks. Set mini goals, like running for a minute straight, or running a 1/4 mile straight and build onto that. Try not to build on any more than 10% of what you can already do.
- Not every run will be as good as the last. You will always get that one *great* run, usually followed by a not so great run. Do not let this discourage you. Just because you ran 3 miles one day and can barely get through 1 the next or the day after does not mean you are not making progress. You will probably have just as many shitty runs and as you will awesome runs. Don’t let these get you down.
- Speaking of things not getting you down…don’t set goals that are too crazy. You are pretty much just setting yourself up for disappointment. If you know you can only handle running 3 miles right now, don't sign up for a 1/2 marathon that's happening next month. Be realistic! I signed up for a 1/2 marathon after I had ran 6 and my 1/2 is 6 months away. It was 9 months when I signed up for it and it has given me an awesome goal to work towards in a realistic amount of time without hurting myself.
- Rest, rest, rest. Sure, now that you are running you may think that you are ready to get out there and run 5 x’s a week but at first, that's probably not the case. There will be times where you don't run just because you don’t want to, and that's ok. But in time you will know the difference between your mind telling you not to run and your body. Be attentive and if its just your mind…make yourself put your sneakers on at least…tell yourself you’ll just 1/2 a mile, or a mile. You’ll be amazed at how happy you are that you started and might even be more surprised to see how far you go!
- Spend money! One of the things that gets me really excited about running is getting new running gear! And no, I don't have the $$ to go and buy all the crazy high tech gear…it’s amazing what you can find at Target or Marshalls. ;-) Maybe a new pair of running Capri's, or a new dry-wick shirt would be just what you need to get you out the door more.
- Become a running nerd. I follow countless running blogs, and I subscribe to Runners World. I even have dorky computer wallpapers with running quotes on them that I put up on my computer at work sometimes. I’m not ashamed…and remember my running mug…I’m a running dork…OH WELL:
- The first couple miles….suck!! For me anyways, the first mile or 2 are usually awful. They hurt and I’m stiff and they are just blah!! I stretch pretty good before hand too (that is another MAJOR tip…stretch, stretch, stretch!)
- HAVE FUN!! Try not to put so much pressure on it. You’re not running for money, or for your life (or I at least hope not!)…you are running to build a better you. You are running to escape where you are right now. Enjoy the sounds of nature, or put on some good tunes and just let go. Try your best not to think about aches or pains and just let go and run.
I am a person who *never* thought they would be able to call themselves a runner, and today I call myself just that! I don't always love it, hell, some days I just straight up hate it, but I never give up. Even on a bad run I still keep going. And sometimes when I’m having that *really* bad run and I stop (this doesn't happen often, it’s only happened to me maybe 3 times. If you find it happens a lot, you might want to re-examine why you are really quitting) and I tell myself that that particular day just wasn't my day to run.
Today I ran 7.29 miles in 1 hour and 22 minutes. Not too shabby, but still not my best time. My pace was a bit slower than it has been in the past but for some reason the past 2 week I seem to have slowed my pace a bit, but I am getting more mileage throughout the week so I will take that. When I start to think that it wasn’t a great accomplishment, I take a look at this map that shows where I ran and I realize that I ran to places that I normally would only drive to…and beyond!!:
My longest run is 8.28 miles which I did in 1:33, so while today’s run wasn’t the longest I’ve had, or even the best pace, I still focused on the great sense of accomplishment I got from going ahead and running some where's out of the “norm” for me. It was a challenge and I gladly accepted!!
Oh, I also tried my first energy gel today.
It wasn’t bad tasting either!! It was only 2 pts and I have to say that my first few miles went by a little easier than normal, but maybe that was all in my head. I would try it again, but maybe this time take it /2 through my run so I don’t run out of fuel so much at the end.
So, that's all I can think of for right now. I hope those are some ok tips, but again, it’s nothing really new. If you guys have any other questions or want to know anything else please feel free to ask!! Any advise that you guys want to share please do as well. I’m still learning and believe me, there is A LOT to learn.
It’s getting late here and I am *beyond* tired, thanks to this shit-tastic weekend I had (details may be in another post this week), but I will leave you all with this gift…here are two sites that I go to frequently (probably every day almost) that really inspire me and my journey with running….enjoy!: