Happy Wednesday! Today I’m going to talk about something that I really do not enjoy: running. Earlier this year a friend of mine from work and I decided to train for a 5k. This was all well and good, but the entire time I hated it. Really hated it. The good news is that I think I’ve figured out why, and have some good tips on what to do if you are
crazy inspired to start your own running program.
First, there are lots of good reasons to run. For example:
My co-worker and I had good intentions. She had just gotten done doing the Warrior Dash a few weeks earlier (still something on my bucket list..) and I needed something to kick-start my workout routine that I had been slacking on for a while. It was late spring. In Florida.
The two of us decided that we needed to run a race no later than mid-May, since that is about the time when the weather becomes too ridiculously hot and humid to run outside in Florida. We went with this couch-to-5k program, but figured since we were both in decent shape and there were less than ten weeks until our race, we would start on week 3 or 4. We never did quite make it all the way to being able to run 3 miles or 30 minutes, and here are a few mistakes I think we made and things I learned along the way:
- We thought we were better than the program, or at least I did. As much as I was in okay shape when we started to run, I was not in any sort of good running shape by any means. I should have started from the very beginning.
- Should have had more time to train. This one was sort of something we had very minimal control over; even by the time we got to race day the weather was so awful and hot I could barely stand it. If you’re going to run in SW FL I recommend doing it in the winter or inside. Yuck. However, if we had more time to train, I believe we would have made it to our goal of being able to run 3 miles without stopping.
- RUNNING TAKES PRACTICE!! I can’t emphasize this enough. If you are not a runner already, it will take lots of practice to get good at it. It isn’t as easy as walking, unfortunately. You need to practice your form, your technique, your breathing, everything.
- Get an awesome pair of running shoes. Seriously. And don’t think you can do it by yourself, even if you think you know a lot about exercise and fitness and running… you don’t know as much about running shoes as the people at the running store do, so go and get fitted for a good pair. Your legs will thank you later, especially if you have had any injuries in the past. Good running shoes can make the difference between continuing training and having to quit because it hurts too much.
- If you have not run, really run, in a while, pick a beginners plan and stick with it. There are tons to choose from. The one my co-worker and I did was a good one, and as I said it would have worked out just fine if we had been able to follow it properly. Here are a few other options, the first one being the one I plan to try next because it also incorporates cross-training; another important thing that is overlooked when you are trying to train for a race.
- One thing that I do think we did right was to have fun with it. When the fact that we were not in fact awesome runners came to light pretty quickly, we still went out 3 days a week after work and did our runs. It helps so much to have a partner to help hold you accountable… and to pick you up off the ground when you become emotionally and physically exhausted.
When all was said and done, my friend and I really did have a good time. We were not very fast, we did not run the entire race, and it was like 9000 degrees out, but we did finish, and we did get our t-shirts. And you know what? Now I have a time to beat. I know I can do better than I did on my last race because I learned from it. Yes, running sucks, but so does anything else until you learn how to do it right. Remember first learning to ride a bike? I bet you fell, and I bet it hurt. If you’re like me, your dad then proceeded to run into you and fall on top of you and you had some pretty nasty scrapes all over the right side of your body. It may have scared you away from riding for a little while, but deep down you knew it was worth it to get back up and try again. Isn’t that what life’s all about anyway?
In conclusion, running is worth it. It really is. I am still not good at it, but I am going to try again, and so is my co-worker. She swears up and down that this will be her last race ever, but that she will run the entire thing. I swore that the last one would be my last one ever, but here I am again a few months later with a bit more perspective and ready to give it another go. I guess my point is jut because you’ve tried to run and you didn’t like it, don’t write it off forever. Get some good shoes, a good plan, good music, and a good friend, and you may find that you enjoy running more than you thought you would.