Hey Guys! I’m officially on summer break and finally getting some things done! I’m hoping to be posting much more regularly for the next two months.
Lately, I’ve been asked this question a lot and wanted to make it this week’s topic: How did you start running?
Running is like a secret club that seems like it’s only for the fit and quick. From the outside, it seems like a lifestyle and can seem quite daunting to start or sign up for your first race. Hopefully this list will help some of you.
I just completed the Bolder Boulder a few weekends ago. It was a race I had marked in the past but it never worked out on my schedule. So this year I made it a point to keep that day free and sign up for the race. It was the most fun race I’d ever done and one of my best runs ever. It was really fun! The 10K course flew by and was my first 10K race. I’ve done shorter and longer distances in the past but I had never completed a 10K race. It was attended by 50,000 racers and is considered the largest Memorial Day Celebration in the country. It. Was. Awesome! It was the first race I ever ran that I didn’t wear my headphones!
So here’s Kim’s guide to learning to run and like it! This is how I think I became a runner and learned to love it! Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a physical trainer (yet…) so please check with your doctor too!
1. Stop Making That Face
When I am discussing running with a current non-runner, they always make that same face. The face says: Are you crazy? That’s sounds awful! Seriously, are you crazy? Even when someone is asking me how I started or asking advice, they always make the same face! I have made that face in the past. I PROMISE YOU, you won’t always make that face. I have come from the dark side I swear! I used to see people running and think “What a waste of time!” “You know you could do that inside!” “Why are you doing that?” “Is someone chasing you?” “Crazy psychos…..” and now I am one of those people. IT IS POSSIBLE TO LOVE RUNNING EVEN IF YOU HATE IT NOW! I have seen the light and been reformed! It can happen!
2. Just Start!
Most people act like they have to plan everything out to go for a run but the truth is, you can just go! If you have decent shoes and are starting running for the first time, your shoes/clothes/apps won’t matter! If you really want to start, just do it. Right now, leave your computer and see how far you can run. Right now.
Your First ‘Run” – On your first run, time yourself to see how long you can go without stopping. It might be 30 seconds or it might be three minutes. Whatever it is, take a note of it and then walk some. Then run again. Then switch on and off until you’ve finished. You should set a scale of how far you are naturally running right now. This will help you set a goal for the long term. There’s no judgement allowed on your first run. You can’t go back and make yourself a better runner in the past; just think about where you are now and where you want to go!
My First Run
I’m not so sure when my first ‘run’ was. However, I hadn’t run since Middle School. Middle School! I didn’t have to take PE in high school because I was in marching band. Also, during my 8th grade year of basketball, I dislocated my knee cap which lead to a year and a half of therapy. I’d convinced myself I couldn’t run or would ever be a runner. Back to the story – I had already lost some weight, maybe 40 pounds or so and I was finding it easier and easier to walk the dog around the 1 mile loop in the park. So one day I decided to run part of it. In City Park, there is a wall a third of the way around. I started running by running that wall. Way back then, I didn’t time myself or know how far I was going. (Later I found out it was a third of a mile) But each day when I walked the dog in the park, I would try to run just that part. I didn’t track it or time it but eventually, I wanted to be able to go farther. I never set out to be able to run half marathons at the time, I just wanted to walk/run the damn dog. I didn’t know I was taking my first steps to being a runner.
3. Set A **Realistic** Goal
I think a lot of people get frustrated when they don’t make their running goal without considering, Maybe it wasn’t a realistic goal? I encourage everyone to sign up for a race. Not every runner enjoys races because of the amount of people and logistics of racing. But, even if you never run the race, it will give you a due date for your distance. A great first goal is a 5K in 3 months. If you want to set a really high goal, like a half marathon, then you have to be willing to put the time in. It will not happen on it’s on. If you want to be able to do a distance that doesn’t seem realistic then your training time will have to increase. Keep this in mind. For example: If you set a goal of a half marathon (13.1 miles) and you want to finish in 2 hours, you should be training 5-6 hours a week. If you don’t have the time to put in, it won’t happen. However, if your first goal is a 5K in 45 minutes, your training time might only be 2-3 hours a week at most. Running and training to run can take a lot of time.
Also, pace makes a big difference in your training time, obviously. Pace is really difficult for me sometimes. LOTS of things adjust your pace: street lights, temperature, traffic, untied laces, tangled headphones, snapchat 🙂 and even other runners. Sometimes I run like a Zombie and other days like the Road Runner. If you set a pace goal, remember these factors and understand that sometimes, it’s out of your control. If you are setting a goal based on time or pace, just be realistic. You won’t take a minute off your pace overnight. I tend to look at total run time, and not pace, that way, I can sprint the end and still make my time, if I get stopped by something. 🙂
My Goals: My first goal was to be able to run the 1 mile loop without stopping. I wrote about it here. My next goal was a 5K (read about my first one!) and then I jumped to a half marathon (The Colfax Marathon 2015). My normal weekly distance is now 15-20 miles but it was taken a while to get there. It takes hard work!! I have met most of my goals with running and I guess it’s time for new ones!
4. Hold Yourself Accountable
Once I started running longer distances (3+ miles) I made a deal with myself: Never give up in the first mile. The first mile is always hard for me. It takes a while for your mind to slip into the ‘zone’ and your body needs some time to warmup and remember how to run efficiently. I have NEVER broken that rule. I ALWAYS make myself go that first mile. I have stopped a handful of times, and cut my route early to go home because my body was just not up for running that day. But usually, after that first mile, I’m in it to win it.
Another reason I love running is because it’s easy to keep goals and promises to yourself. If you get up to go 5 miles, make yourself go the five miles. You always feel better after you finish running. Always! As long as I set realistic expectations, I never disappoint myself on a run. Crossing that finish line, whether it be outside your door or in front of 10,000 people is so rewarding. I’ve played team sports in the past and running is so different. Every time you leave for a run, you’re giving yourself the chance to impress yourself. No one knows. No one knows if you run hard or slow. No one knows if you’re in mile 1 or 11. No one can tell how hard you are or are not working except for you. If you don’t hold yourself accountable, you’ll be disappointed over and over and over. For me, it’s easy to hold myself accountable because I’ve found so much success in doing it. Those first few times are hard but then you have a reference to how it felt to finish and be PROUD. Make yourself PROUD! Accountability comes pretty easy to me because accountability=results. Only you can make you do anything!
One of the hardest runs…..
When I was preparing for the Colfax Half Marathon, I trained alone and used Jeff Galloway’s Method of running intervals. I was scheduled to go 11 miles that day because the race was only three weeks away. When I woke up, it was raining. It was one of the worst and best runs I’d ever done. I decided to go anyway because I’d never run that far in the rain and I wanted to see how my feet reacted. Two miles in my head phones died and I had to buy news ones at Walgreens. 7 miles in my feet started to rub. At mile 10 I thought I might crap my pants. It took me FOREVER but I finished that run and I still feel good about finishing. It wasn’t a pretty run or a fast one, but I finished! You can read a little more about that particular run…..here.
So this week I will continue to post and add to this list! But today, just go run. Take 15 minutes and see how far you can get! If you’re dying for some more advice right now here’s some old posts:
Things I’ve Learned About Being a Runner #1
Things I’ve Learned About Being a Runner #2
Things I’ve Learned About Being a Runner #3
Things I’ve Learned About Being a Runner #4
Maybe I should put a running tab on the page……..