Sunday, July 22, 2012

Falling in Love with Running

"How did you fall in love with running?" my sister asked me recently.  She's an infrequent runner, mostly on the treadmill, she says, because she needs the gym TVs to keep her mind occupied, she says, otherwise she gets soooooo bored (italics her implication, not mine).  "At what point did running go from being a chore and a bore to being actual fun?" she asked (bad alliteration, all mine).

I get the "when did you start running?" question a lot, but the "how did you fall in love with running?" was a new one for me.  Learning to love to run has been a gradual process for me.  I didn't just wake up one day and declare, "I LOVE to run!"  Its been slow, and taken a number of years to get to the point that I am at now - that is, totally and completely in love with running (I know theres an awesome metaphor in here somewhere, but its too early in the morning and my brain is still in bed).  Here are a few things that got me off the couch and kept me motivated in those earli(-er) years:

Race!  What really got DJ Research and I out the door was training for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K.  On a whim, I signed us up and so we got our butts off the couch and feet on the road so we wouldn't be complete pansies at the race.  Race atmosphere is SO FUN - exciting, exhilarating, contagious, addictive.  It will make you want to run another race.

Talk & run.  I remember it being such a revelation when I learned that as a newbie runner, I should be running at a conversational pace - a pace at which you can carry on a conversation.  I didn't have to try to be speed demon and wind myself before I reached a mile.  I could just run slow and easy...AND catch up on all the latest gossip with my running buddy!  Sadly, DJ Research is not much of a talker when running, so it was basically me talking to My Self.  But Self is a good listener, so it was cool.

Slowly increase mileage.  When I first started running, I ran 2-3 miles at a time.  Then I upped it to 3-6 miles.  Then I ran 13.1 miles without training and almost died (DJ Research and I did an unofficial half-marathon for some ungodly reason).  I dropped my mileage back down to 3-4 miles, and I stayed at that mileage for a LONG time (think over a year).  It wasn't until I felt strong enough--mentally and physically--to run 3-4 miles that I decided it was time to up the ante and I began to train for a half-marathon.  My point is, I didn't push myself to do what I didn't want to do.  Mentally, I wanted to stay at 3-4 miles.  So I gave myself the break to do just that.

Have a running buddy.  Frankly, this point is key.  Having someone to push you, encourage you and just keep you accountable helps tremendously with running consistently and reaching your goals.  I was lucky in that my running buddy was my husband.  DJ Research was really the one that carried the running torch, and I just sorta ran alongside him, frequently sometimes grumbling that we weren't back in our apartment watching TV.  He pushed me gently to keep up, and because he was so into it, I was also kinda-sorta into it.  But his persistence as a runner, and as my coach and cheerleader, paid off and eventually I was just as running-obsessed as he was.

If you don't have a running buddy, I suggest joining a local running club and getting to know running enthusiasts in your area.  Runners LOVE to talk about running, and LOVE to encourage new runners to join their religion sport, so chances are you will meet a lot of great, inspiring people who will help you meet your goals.  If you don't have a running club in your area, there are lots of running forums online where runners hang out...virtually.  One that comes to mind is Another Mother Runner, an online running resource for moms but is also helpful for women in general.

These are just a few things that helped me get out and run.  Any other tips out there?

How did you fall in love with running?


1 comment:

  1. I love getting to run with a friend, makes the time go by so much faster.