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National Running Day! (…a bit late)

Posted Jun 02 2011 4:17pm

I am honestly blown away by everyone sweet, thoughtful comments on yesterday’s post . It is so encouraging to hear that other people are planning on saying a whole lot more of YES this month as opposed to the negative, blah-sound NO. I know some decisions will be tough at times, and you may be tempted to say no because the yes option might be difficult or lead to greater anxiety. I compel you to take a chance during these times, challenge yourself and see what results come of your decision. I know I am planning on taking my own advice :)

Yes, whoops, I know National Running Day was yesterday, but with all of the YES’s going on, I didn’t get the chance to write about this very special day and occasion ;-) However, I did celebrate the day by taking my first run since the half marathon last Sunday and completed an easy 3 miles around my town in a total of 23 minutes. Although I am no longer crazy sore, my legs are still tired from the run, and it did take a few minutes to get into somewhat of a groove.

Now that the half marathon is over, I am going to focus less on running, and more on the exercises and strength training moves I complete during my internship at the boot camp. Yes, I am still going to run, but only when I absolutely feel like it. For far too long now, I am been forcing myself to go out of a run because I felt I “had” to. The up-coming Half was in my mind, but I also was scared that if I took more than 2 or 3 days off of running in a row, I would lose the endurance I had so carefully built up, oh and of course gain weight. I mean any change I made always has the underlying fear of weight gain! I love the type of workouts we complete during the boot camps- such as interval training with ladders, resistant band work, plyometrics, tons of core work and so much else. I want to gain more strength in my arms and core especially, and know this will inevitably improve my running, once I get back into it.

And guess what?! I am not the only one in my household who celebrated National Running Day, my Mom did too! Thanks to your encouraging comments , my continuous asking, her own determination, and the simple feeling of wanting to run, my Mom is doing the Coach to 5k Program ! We singed up for a 5k in a town right near us, scheduled for the beginning of August. This will allow her enough time to ease into running and slowly build up her endurance without getting frustrated. I am planning to complete the workouts with her whenever I can, and yesterday I did just that! The first week calls for 3 non-consecutive days of a 20 minute combined workout consisting of:

  • 5 minute brisk warm-up
  • 60 seconds of running/90 seconds of walking
  • You continue this run/walk for a total of 20 minutes

Yesterday was her second time finishing this combination. Although it is tough for her, and she moans and groans every time I say it’s time to run, she is doing such an amazing job and I can honestly tell how set she is on finishing this, and eventually a 5k. I have also been having a fabulous times during these workouts with her! Yes, she is bitching a lot (love you mom :) ) but it’s all with good humor and we are using the time to chat and also push each other. I understand that she has to decide for herself is she will continue with this until the end, but I am thoroughly enjoying encouraging her whenever I can. Thank you Mom for being so strong, and woman, keep up the good work!

When you start out running, well it’s freakin tough. I go into more detail in my Running and Races page, but I am fairly new to the running world. Starting at the age of 9, I was a swimmer until the middle of my senior year of high school. I mainly focused on long-distance free events such as the 200 (well not really distance), 500, 1000, and 1650. I could not sprint to save my life, but I had the ability to maintain a steady fast (ish) pace, for a longer time. I quit swimming when I was 18 because I had no intention of continuing this sport in college and was basically just burnt out. I was tired of my dry skin always feeling as if it were going to rip off, sexy goggle marks, ridiculously tight bathing suits that felt like they were cutting into my shoulders (and were crazy expensive!), being freezing all of the time, having the same dang view when working out- the bottom of a pool, and that whole constantly being wet thing was getting old. So I quit, and although I was initially troubled by my decision, I have never regretted this choice.

(Cross Country Meet 2010)

This is mainly because it brought me to running. I was glad to give up 3 hour long practices, but this also left a huge empty space in my life that needed to be filled with some kind of physical exercise. I had always been into fitness and staying in shape, so I wanted to find something that I could be passionate for like I once was with swimming. Oh and of course, the disordered eating was evident when I was 18. It was nothing like it was last summer, but I still felt I had to exercise to avoid getting fat (do you ever tire of me saying the same thing all of the time?!)

(Market Square 10k 2009)

After being positively bored with the monotonous elliptical, I one day decided to go for a run. It was in no way a pleasant experience and I ran for about 10 minutes before returning home, gasping for breath, wondering why on earth people actually enjoyed this activity. But for some reason, I kept with it. Slowly but surely building up my mileage and my speed. I suffered with shin splints which set me back for a period of time, but those did eventually go away after my body became more acquainted with the pounding, rather than buoyant water. I also learned proper shoes to wear (Converse are probably not the best option), and the fact that I had to be patient. Like anything else, it would take practice to be able to run without feeling like I was going to have a heart attack and die each time.

(Dory Run 2009)

I believe my long-distance swimming abilities have helped me become the runner I am today. Obviously they are two very different sports, but they both require a heck of a lot of endurance and the ability to maintain a pace over a certain distance. Like with swimming, I was terrible at sprinting and equally bad in running, but distance seems to work for me. I find I enjoy running so much more than the constant back and forth laps in a pool. You have the ability to run anywhere, at any location, for any period of time, with out without music, in minimal gear, while talking to people or not. A time to think for yourself, let out emotions and energy, recover in some way- running allows all of these things and I am incredibly thankful I have come to love this sport so very much.

A coincidence occurred yesterday regarding running, that I also wanted to include in this post! I was cleaning out magazines when I stumbled on the May 2011 issue of Runner’s World is the “Special Beginner’s Guide” where they have articles about getting started, including one with Kara Goucher (yay for my female crush ;-) ). It was definitely a sign for my mom to keep up the fantastic work she is doing, and to try her best not to get discouraged at the times it feels impossible.

If you are someone who is thinking about running, just starting to, are coming back from an injury or break, or simply need some basic reminders, this article included several helpful tips! Here are some of my favorites and ones I believe newer runners might appreciate:

Take Pride- a lot of people think they look slow, or fat, or sweaty. Don’t let any of that stop you. Among runners, you are golden- I know my mom often worries about all three of these, looking bad and not like a real runner. I have to convince her that it so doesn’t matter! Everyone is out there doing their best, and who gives a hoot what you look like? You are completing something so beneficial for your mind and body.

Make It a Habit- Run two, three, or four days a week, and don’t worry too much about how far or how long you run. You want to get used to being active for several days each week- Many new runners think they need to go from 0-10 when they first start…this is the only time it’s okay to say NO. If you start out too far/fast you definitely could injure yourself or become discouraged and quit.

Talk It Through- New runners think it’s not “real” running unless you’re gasping for breath. Not true. If you can’t talk, slow down. I have heard people say this, that they are not “real” runners because they cannot go for long, or are constantly out of breath. You are a runner if you are getting yourself out there and trying your best, even with walking breaks thrown in! It’s so important to build your body up.

Having said all of this. Running is simply not for everyone and that is totally fine too. I know a majority of bloggers run races at varying distances and often document their training on their sites. That is fabulous for them, I do it too! I love talking about my accomplishments after the effort for training has been put in. Of course though, there are several other individuals that just don’t care for running and have found joy in exercising through other physical activities. Heather , for example, used to be very into running and has stopped and moved on to love yoga. I think this is very inspiring. I know you hear this all of the time, but it really is important to find an activity that you personally enjoy doing, because how else are you going to stick with it? No one likes forcing themselves to engage in anything that is unpleasant.

Remember that if you are just starting out, that it will take time. About four years ago when I ran my first 5k, I completed in about 31 minutes. Now I go under 20 minutes. This certainly did not happen over night and it has taken years of different styled workouts, longer, slower runs, and tons of speed and core work, but it has all been worth it. That feeling when you finish a race of any distance is remarkable, you feel on top of the world, which you should! This can be a difficult sport but I believe it’s worth putting the effort in if you want to!

(Hot Chocolate Run 2010)

Even though I am a day late, I still would love to hear from you with regards to running!

What made you give running a try? Was it someone in your life or other personal reasons?

Is there something holding you back from trying out running?

Are you currently training for any races or recently completed ones you are particularly proud of?

Do you really just not like running and choose other forms of fitness? Please share :)

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