You Can Be a Runner…Really!
Posted June 17, 2015 by Prairie Wife - 3 comments
I am not an athlete. I have never in my life participated in organized sports and with my severe lack of depth perception and peripheral vision, I can barley walk down my own hallway without running into the walls. That being said about five years ago I became a runner. It was a slow and steady process, and one that has been full of ups and downs and sputtering stops and sporadic starts but, now I can run a 10k in under an hour. Not bad for someone that’s not an athlete right?! I went from panting and out of breath, unable to go even a block to craving running and loving that “runners high”. I’ve used it to help me drop the weight from the last three Cowkids (still 10lb to go from LittleMissH but almost there) and The Cowboy can vouch that when I get my two runs a week I am a better woman, wife and mother.
Now that the weather is warming up it’s the perfect time to start running. If you’ve ever dreamed of being that person crossing the finish line of a 5k, or if you are simply looking for a way to shed a few pounds and feel better about yourself I encourage you to try running. Below is a list sharing how TallGirlJ and I began running, but please remember that I am not a doctor nor a trained athletic instructor. Please consult a professional before beginning any new training routine.
Step One: Prepare
I think it’s vital to prepare yourself before you start running. If you just dive into it you are more likely to run into road blocks (no pun intended) that will prevent you from meeting your goals. Do some reading (stop by our Health and Motivation Board on Pinterest for some more great articles) and come up with a “training plan” that will work for you. Find a buddy that will help motivate you. Perhaps you can do a mama boot camp, swap watching each other’s kids while you run, or simply check in weekly via text. Buy some workout gear. Don’t go crazy with it, you can get a decent pair of running shoes on Amazon.com for under $50. Buy two sets of pants and two good sports bras to get yourself started. Trust me when I say it’s worth it to get the tight runners leggings! Nothing is worse than going for your first run and ending up with thigh chaffing so badly that you have to take a week off for it to heal (this may have happened to me). Now that I’m running longer distances I like the runners shirts that keep me cool but at first a plain old tank top or t-shirt is fine. Download a kick ass play list on your iPod as well as the NikeRun App, and purchase a good armband and you’re all set.
Step Two: Create a Training Plan
There is a famous quote that says if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. With running I think this is where most people go wrong. Creating a training plan will make sure that you give yourself a chance to be successful, allows you to really see your progress, which will in turn will motivate you to continue moving forward as a runner. The first thing you need to do is find a place to run. Talk to friends of yours that are runners and find out where they recommend. Often people plan to just run in their neighborhood but, this can be hard if there are lots of intersections or too many hills for a beginner. You also need to be planning to run the same route for the first four weeks so pick something that you can get to easily and conveniently. Measure the distance of your route. A two mile route is a great distance to start. Take your car and drive your planned route or strap on you iPod, turn on the NikeRunning app and walk your route to know your distance. You will need to find a landmark so you know where a mile from your start is. This way you can turn and go back for a total of two miles. Schedule your runs and stick with them. Perhaps a set day and time won’t work for you. I find it too hard to plan more than a week ahead when I will be running. Instead set a goal like “I will run twice a week”…and make sure it happens!
Step Three: Start Running
This is the best part! You’ve done all your prep work, you look hot in all your new running gear, you’ve got your route mapped out, those kick ass tunes are blaring in your ears, now it’s time to go. Start with a quick walk to warm up. Pick a landmark, a distance, or a time. Something that will tell you when it’s going to be time to stop walking and start running. I liked to pick a landmark like a driveway. I would walk until I hit that point and then start running. Don’t worry about your pace or how far you are going just run until you want to die…and then count ten steps more. Make a note of where you stopped because you will need to run to that point again on your next run. Slow to a fast walk and recover, it may take you five minutes to get your breath back, perhaps 10. Don’t worry about how long it takes, it is what it is! When you recover take a deep breath, make a note of where you are and start running again. Just like you did before run until you want to die (don’t be hard on yourself if it’s not as far as you ran the first time)…and then count 10 steps more. Slow to a fast walk and recover and repeat until your two miles are done.
Step Four: Push It
You made it through your first run (it dosn’t mater if you mostly walked it, you ran for some of it so it counts as a run)! Now it’s time to push it. Do the same running pattern for a week (whether you run twice a week or four times stay on the same plan). When you run the next week push it, go 10 more steps past where you stopped the last week, go two driveways further, go to the next intersection…it doesn’t mater how much you push it, just make sure that each time you run you run further than the last time. Don’t forget to remember your new stop and start spots! Run this running pattern for another week and then the next week…you guessed it…push it again. On your fourth week, if you feel ready, try and skip at least two of your recovery times and simply run through them. You may need to slow your pace, just keep running. If you’re feeling really good try and run the whole two miles (I bet you’ll be surprised at what you can do)! When you can run the whole two miles keep on pushing yourself to go a little further or a little faster each time (the NikeRunning app is great for helping you keep track) and soon you’ll be ready to sign up for you first 5k race!
Let me know how you help yourself to run farther and faster!