I tend to reserve more in-depth discussions for Tuesday, formerly known as Three Tip Tuesday. Lately I have dropped the Three Tip part and find myself simply sticking to topics rather than looking for three tips. Topic Tuesday?
A few of you have asked me recently to address running for beginners, including one of my close friends who is also a blog reader.
My friend recently lost some weight and with that loss of weight went away her nagging knee pain. Since her knee feels way better, she is interested in attempting to run.
My initial response when she asked me how to start was simply - step outside and just go. Go run.
I know it isn’t that simple. But in some ways it just is.
Rather than rattle off lots of technical terms and cite training plans and articles, I decided that the best way to begin to answer this question is to briefly tell you how I went from doctor’s notes excusing me from running in gym class to running over 40 miles a week at a pace that many people consider rather fast.
Pace is just relative in my opinion.
This really is the beginning of discussion on this topic. We can’t possible cover all the bases and logistics in one post but we need to start somewhere.
By now you must know that I hated running growing up. I avoided those physical fitness tests like the plague, hated to break a sweat and fainted on cue at any point that I exerted myself beyond walking, especially at that time of the month.
Then I joined the gym when I was seventeen and everything just changed.
I slowly learned to love a good 30 minutes a day of exercise most days of the week which often involved some cardio, a few weights and the occasional group fitness class. Nothing crazy.
My father was always a runner but I thought he was insane with all those races and marathons although eventually I dabbled a bit in pressing the speed button up on the treadmill on occasion to jog.
Sometimes it worked and sometimes I was quick to return to walking.
The more 30 minute sessions I did at the gym, the more fit I became over time.
At some point in my late teens, early twenties I pressed that button up a bit more on the treadmill and found myself able to handle running a few minutes at a time.
When I say pressing the button up, I mean I was running at 4.5 on average and I recall being super excited to hit 5.0 and then a 5.5 speed and heck even a 6.0 which required a phone call to my father at work to tell him how fast I went for a whole minute!
You can’t rush your pace. You can’t wake up one day, feel inspired by a runner’s blog and suddenly just run 13 miles at an average pace of 8:00 min/mile.
What you can do though is step outside. Or step on a treadmill. And just try to run. Even if running on that treadmill means 4. 5 or even slower.
When I began running outside, I didn’t even care about my pace. I just wanted to run without feeling like I needed to drop to the ground.
It took some time. Believe me.
In the beginning, (and even quite often now), I didn’t push myself to go faster than what was comfortable.
I just went slow enough to not burn out. Slow enough to be able to keep going. Slow enough to gradually get myself used to running and eventually realized I was able to run three miles without stopping.
Over time, what is comfortable becomes faster and faster.
Honestly, three miles at a time and running faster really didn’t happen on a consistent basis until a few years ago when I made running my focus and fitness priority.
And those three miles I eventually became able to run? Easily took me 35-40 minutes (if not more) at first. On a good day.
But I kept at it and got better. I didn’t focus much on the distance part back then so much as time. I was more about being able to run for a minute, five minutes, ten minutes and eventually thirty minutes.
I never followed a training plan or paid much attention to the logistics. I didn’t really have or need a goal to focus on because my routine and the feeling you get from running (endorphins!) was enough for me.
Although, I did start signing up and running a few races.
This picture is from the first four mile race I ran back in July 2012. I didn’t even wear Lulu Lemon or much in the way of sweat-wicking material back then.
I know I talk a lot about your essentials and apparel and what to wear but as you see in the picture above, it’s not totally necessary.
But a good pair of running shoes that properly fit and support your feet is crucial.
If your feet aren’t comfortable and supported in the right spots for your arch and toes and stride, no way are you going to be able to keep at it.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have your foot measured and fit at your local runners shop in order to find the right shoe for you.
If you aren’t sure where your local runners shop is, google it or ask me to help you. You can also check the Runner’s World shoe guide for assistance in determining the proper sneaker for your foot.
Perhaps the investment in the right pair of shoes will also offer you some incentive to actually use them.
I don’t want to overload this post (which I may have already done) but I do hope that from my brief detailing of my running experience, you realize that even you can run.
There is so much more at play – what you eat, when you eat, rest days, overtraining, injuries, running during pregnancy, after pregnancy, with a stroller - but we can get to all of these details as we go.
I do want to leave you today with some great running blogs to follow in case you don’t already:
Fuel Your Future With Tina – Tina is an elite runner (as in really fast and runs for the Saucony Hurricanes Team)
The Hungry Runner Girl - Is there anyone out there who doesn’t already follow Janae and her adorable daughter?
Run Eat Repeat – Monica makes me laugh and I like to laugh
Picky Runner – Sarah and I share a common love for sweets and running
You can also check out my Running section at the top of this page which contains previous running-related posts you may have missed.
If you have anything in particular you wish for me to cover about running, please let me know so that I get to your questions in my next post on this topic!
*What works for me may or may not work for you. I definitely advise that you consult with your doctor before beginning any form of exercise program. And remember, it’s great to be motivated and to push yourself but if you don’t feel well, STOP!
We didn’t talk food at all today. Tell me what you are having for breakfast please.
Favorite running blogs?
Which sneakers are you loving at the moment?