March 25, 2008

Getting into running

Please note that this post is my completely uneducated opinion. I am not a doctor, and while I’d like to get certified as a personal trainer, I haven’t even gotten as far as choosing which certification to start studying for yet. Instead of trusting me, you should probably talk to your doctor before starting a vigorous exercise program if you’re overweight/older than 10/have any medical problems including a sniffly nose, bruise on your left elbow, or chapped lips.

Lately the reader comments just keep leading to full-blown posts as replies. In response to My Diet, Saila18 asked:

“I’m to the point where I can do an hour on an elliptical, or walk a good deal on the treadmill, but running still feels impossible… suggestions for that initial goal of “starting running”?? Between the stitch and aching ankles and knees… it’s hard to believe I’ll ever get into running, but I really want to!”

My strategy for getting into running: just do it. (No, I am not affiliated with Nike – I don’t even own any of their shoes). My strategy was to just kind of start. As I posted before, I had done the elliptical for a while and gotten pretty proficient, so then one day I just decided to try the treadmill. Lo and behold, I actually ran a mile! A few months later, I tried running outside, and found it to be not that bad. Actually, it was better than the treadmill, because I was going somewhere, and the sights and sounds of the neighborhood distracted me from how far I was going, way better than my iPod could ever do.

If you like reading, check out The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer. It’s designed so that anyone – regardless of their running experience or lack thereof – can successfully complete a marathon. It’s based on a class at the University of Northern Iowa, taught five times. In the course of the class, there were approximately 200 students, and all but one finished the marathon (the one who didn’t make it failed because he didn’t heal the teachers’ advice about hydrating). I bought it and started reading it, and it helped me get into running a little bit more, plus it served as a source of inspiration. However, I can’t say it worked completely, as I still haven’t done a marathon! But I suppose that’s more of a case of my commitophobia than the fault of the book.

My latest strategy has been to increase my pace by doing short sprints on the treadmill. Tonight, I am happy to say that I managed to do an 8:12 mile and then I am extremely proud to say I did a 7:00 mile! That’s the farthest and the fastest I have ever gone… hopefully I am on my way to Shaving my 5K for fall. If you’re an experienced runner, my strategy is to start at a fast pace for just a minute or two, and every day, add a few more seconds to what you did the day before. If you’re a new runner, you can do kind of the same thing to transition from walking to running. Start out by walking, then mix in some running intervals. Walk for a minute, then jog for 10 seconds. Every day, add a few seconds to your jog. Eventually you’ll be jogging the whole thing.

Hope that helps!


7 thoughts on “Getting into running”

  1. Good advice, Laura. Wow, a 7:00 mile, that’s a blistering pace. I’d be scared to run next to you in any road race for fear of getting chicked. BTW, why haven’t you registered for a marathon yet…what’re you waiting for? You are so ready. At least sign up for the NYCM lottery. We need to eradicate commitophobia pronto!

  2. You speak the truth! The only way to get used to running is to run. Fear not the sore muscles! Fear not the blisters! Fear not the shin splints! It all goes away eventually.

    Congrats on the 7:00 mile. I’m in the process of adding minutes to my pace so I can yo-yo that 5K challenge. Cheers!

  3. your advice is right on… just have to decide to do it!! i had never really enjoyed running until recently and it definitely becomes addicting once you decide to do it.

    wow – 7 min is fast! good job!

  4. The one quote that has always driven me:
    “It’s very hard to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the real competition is against the voice inside you that wants to quit.” -George Sheehan

    And that, in essence, is what makes running so amazing. For some the voice wants to quit when it hits the wall at mile 22, for some the voice starts yapping after the first mile, but no matter how fast or slow you are we’re all forced to silence that voice. In that way when we lace up we’re all equal.

    So my advice to novice runners – well all runners really – would be not to fear the voice, but embrace it. Get used to it. Deal with it. Because no matter how much more comfortable you’ll get as you start running more, the goal should always be to continue to wage the ever-present battle against the part of you that doesn’t think you can do it.

    Write that down.

  5. Definitely let me know if you’re going to do the Lincoln Tunnel race. It’s pretty rare that they close it off to run through, so I figured it was a good idea to give it a try.

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