I have had several people lately ask me how I got started running. The weather has been gorgeous here. Not too hot and not too cold. So it is the perfect time to lace those shoes up and give it a try.
I think people ask me for two reasons. 1. Because I have not always been a runner. It’s different for people who haven’t spent much time running in their life. It’s new. It’s scary. It’s painful. And in the midst of all that, you can’t see the other side. The side where running is enjoyable and rewarding. It’s there waiting, but it’s impossible to see when you first start. And 2. Because I haven’t quit yet. It’s hard for me to believe because it seems like I just started, but I began running 4 years ago. It was hard and slow at first. And there have been ups and downs, but I am still at it. It’s part of me now. I can very confidently tell you that I will not quit running.
I suppose this is where I tell you that you should not start any type of physical activity without consulting your doctor first. If you haven’t seen your doctor in over a year, I strongly encourage you to get a checkup. Especially if you’re old like me. It’s good to know what’s going on with your body.
Now, on with how I got started. It’s super complicated. Ready? I downloaded the Couch25K app on my iphone. If you’re not familiar with this app. It is a running program that will have you running a 5k in 8 weeks. It helps you build strength by alternating between running and walking. The thought of running 3 miles was so overwhelming that I didn’t even know where to start. That’s what the app did for me. It gave me a starting point. And I followed that thing to a tee…for the first few weeks.
Then all of a sudden I felt like I could run longer than it was having me, so I decided I would do just that. I started just running as long as I could. Then I would stop and walk until I caught my breath and then I would start running again until the 30 minutes were up. Don’t be afraid to veer from the plan if you feel like you can.
Here’s the truth. It’s painful. The starting part where you’re completely out of shape and you feel like your lungs are on fire. And deciding to run sounds like your worst idea ever. But then you get through that run and you feel the tiniest bit of accomplishment. Like you did something good. And you want more of that feeling, so you run again another day. And you get that same feeling and you keep going and going until you get the ultimate feeling. That moment when you run 3 miles without stopping. It’s that runners high. Knowing you have worked so hard for something and kept going through those difficult times and you did it! I recommend signing up for a race. Sometimes it is the extra motivation you need to get your foot out the door.
The app has you run 3 times a week which is a great plan. But I live in real life and I have kids and a family and there is not always 3 days a week where I can set aside time just for running. So here’s my secret. I would run whenever I could. I would run to the softball park to watch my husband play ball. I would take the kids to soccer practice and run while they were there. I would run to the church or to the school when I had meetings. It wasn’t always 3 miles. Sometimes it was 1 mile. Sometimes it was 2. Sometimes it was 4. But it was something and that’s what matters. Don’t get down on yourself if you miss a day or if you can’t get a full 30 minutes in. Do what you can because it’s better than nothing. And eventually those small pieces will turn into more.
I promise you all the pain and sacrificing is so worth it. You’ll be healthier. You’ll feel better. You’ll be more in tune with your body. And I bet, if you give it a fair shot, you’ll love running too!
1. Get checked out by a doctor.
2. Get the Couch25K app(or another app).
3. Don’t be afraid to veer from the plan.
4. Sign up for a race.
5. Fit your runs in whenever you can.