I’m a frequent contributor over on Carol’s Daughter Transitioning Movement where I write about a wide variety of things ranging from hair care to fitness. As you know, I’ve just started training for my first triathlon and my latest post over there is what really pushed me over the edge and inspired me to sign up so I thought I’d share with you. It’s the story about how I got over my hate/fear of running and did the damm thang!
The Story of a Reluctant Runner
Before the holidays, I achieved what I consider to be one of the greatest goals of my life: running a 6:38 mile.
If you had told me a year ago that I would be able to rapidly place one foot in front of the other for 5,280 consecutive feet in under seven minutes, I would have looked at you straight in the eye and laughed. Really hard. Like, really hard.
You see, it’s not that I disliked running, it’s more that I just hated it. Always had. From my days in lower school when we used to have to run The Mile (I walked) to upper school when I decided to join the track team (as a discus thrower) I developed a knack for avoiding all things running. I carried this aversion through to adulthood and joined dance classes, pursed cycling, and took up pilates.
I was very successful in this endeavor until a persuasive friend of mine (we’ll call him Stephen, because his name is Stephen) applied a bit of pressure. As an avid runner, Stephen sat me down and told me all of the benefits of running and I retorted with all of the expertly crafted excuses I had come up with throughout the years.
Me: I’ve got a bad knee.
Stephen: It will probably strengthen your knee.
Me: I don’t enjoy it.
Stephen: You’ll learn to. It comes with time.
Me: I belong to a gym instead.
Stephen: Running doesn’t cost $80 a month.
I had to admit, he had me on that “running is free” bit. So the next week laced up my tennis shoes and took myself out for a spin. I found myself settling into a pace where I alternated running and walking while fighting an internal battle as my mind reeled between “this sucks!” and “keep going!” Finally I made it a mile and found myself feeling….great! Sure it was hard and it took me over 15 minutes, but my body felt good and strong.
That day I made two important realizations:
- Other than the fact that it’s difficult to get started doing, I really have no reason to dislike running.
- If channel all of the energy that I spent avoiding running into actually getting better at it, then I can probably find joy in the activity.
Since then, I have consistently run 2-4 times a week and it has become a steady part of my workout regimen. I just a few months have whittled down my run-walk mile time from 12:00 to a run-only mile time in just under 7:00. When I see my pace and time, I can barely believe that it’s my own! Aside from saving me those $80 each month at the gym, running has provided me with good cardiovascular health, a perky derriere, and, most importantly, the resolve that I can truly take on anything I set my mind to; in 2013 maybe, just maybe, that means a triathlon!
Here are a few of my tips to start—and keep!—you running this year:
- Start slowly: if you’re just beginning to run, set realistic expectations for yourself in terms of distance and time. You might not make it a whole mile right away- and that’s okay! Start like I did and run for two minutes, walk for a minute until you reach your desired distance. Eventually those walking intervals will become fewer and farther between until they’re non-existent!
- Find a beat: running to music allows me gets me amped and I find myself jogging to the beat. Make yourself a special running playlist of upbeat tunes and find your own rhythm.
- Get an app: I really like Map My Run, which tracks your distance and pace. With the coaching featured enabled, it also chimes in to let you know your time as you’re running. It’s also nice to have a log of your progress.
- Keep doing it: even if it’s hard. Even if you hate it. Even if you just want to sit down and quit- KEEP GOING. Pushing yourself will keep you on track and encourage you to get better.
- Stretch: running is super high impact so after every session make sure you take the time to stretch it out and keep your muscles limber and loose. Trust me, your body will thank me in the morning.