November 9, 2011

Becoming an everyday runner

I always hear about people running X miles per day every day, and it’s something that’s hard for me to fathom. I have never been an everyday runner. Even when I was training for my very first marathon (arguably the most disciplined I ever was about running), I would run a few days per week. This is not to say I didn’t work out every day – but I wouldn’t necessarily go running. But now, I am starting to think that’s the key to enjoying my workouts and still following a daily routine. I know that all the experts (hi, Rachel Cosgrove!) say that steady state cardio is bad for losing weight, because your body gets used to it and then it’s not challenging. But somehow, in my mind, that only applies to things like mindlessly circling your feet on the elliptical, or pounding away on a nasty treadmill – two activities that I admittedly halfass sometimes. But really running – exploring the neighborhood, seeing the scenery, or just actually going to get somewhere – how can there be anything bad for you about that?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, but my work schedule has made it tough to change things up and give everyday running a try. Tuesday through Thursday, I start work at 8am (meaning I have to be back in my hotel room and getting showered/dressed by 7:15am, right about when it starts to get light out), and I get out of work anytime between 6:30pm and 8pm. If it’s 6:30pm, that’s usually because we’re headed straight to a team dinner, with time to do little more than drop our bags off at the hotel on our way (and sometimes not even that). And once it hits 7pm, it’s dark again and I’m a bit afraid to run.

I’m not normally such a scaredy cat. In New York, I wouldn’t hesitate to run in the dark. As bizarre as that may sound, it’s my city, and I know it well. Plus, something about it being “the city that never sleeps” has always made me confident being out after dark. I mean, in Charlottesville, if you’re out at 6am, you’re the only one for miles; in New York, you’re basically never on the street alone, no matter what time it is. Something about safety in numbers makes me feel better.

But at last, daylight savings has begun, and finally it is light enough out to run in the morning. Therefore, yesterday instead of heading down to the hotel gym, I headed out for a nice little 3.5 mile jaunt up to the University of Virginia (and I do mean up – some long hills in there!), across to the next major road, and back. Over the course of my run, I realized that I am less of a wussy runner than I think I am. When I first left my hotel dressed in a long sleeved tech shirt and shorts, I found a runner just coming back in from her run – dressed in tights, a turtleneck, a hat, and gloves. “Pretty chilly out there!” she called to me, but I just laughed it off.

Until 2 minutes later, when I got stuck at the traffic light on the corner, freezing my tushy off. Who knew that in Charlottesville, the walk signs don’t change unless you’ve pressed the button to request a crossing? It took me five freezing minutes of waiting before I figured out that little secret. From then on, I was running not just to maintain the perfectly warm body temperature I had when I left, but to warm up and get back to the temperature. I toughed it out, though, and in the end, I don’t think my outfit was a terrible choice. The only part of me that got really really cold was… well, I think I phrased it pretty succinctly on Twitter:

Despite the temporary crotch paralysis, it was a pretty glorious run – and reminded me that I want to get out there and start doing it more often. It still might be a long shot for me to turn into one of those every day runners, but it could also be something to work toward. I do love my weight lifting, and would probably try to keep that up 2-3 days a week, but I could certainly do that in the evening if I wanted to spend every morning running.

IF. A big if. I’m not there yet.


11 thoughts on “Becoming an everyday runner”

  1. Celia, I’m doing the Urban Girl Squad run from Athleta on Sunday morning, if you’re interested? Otherwise I’m out of town for a bit, but let’s do that + 16 Handles after Thanksgiving!

  2. About a year ago, I was a 6 days a week running kinda gal, but a (kind of unrelated) injury put a stop to that! I think that not everyone is built for everyday running, and a lot of people function better on 3/4/5 days a week plus cross training, but it’s about figuring out what works for YOU! 🙂

  3. I’ve always wondered about those everyday runners. Don’t their legs need a break? I know mine do. I run 4 days a week, 5 at the max. But I guess run whenever you WANT to run.Want being the key part.

  4. I used to be an everyday runner back when I first started running. I loved the ritual of it, but I really think I improved as a runner & overall athlete once I added cross-training (spinning, aerobics, etc.) I wasn’t giving my stabilizer muscles enough to do & they weren’t as strong as they are now.

  5. I’m going to be traveling to charlottesville here very soon and not looking forward to it based on their proximity o the airport….

    You are much better than me I despise early morning runs and can barely ever get off the treadmill when I travel. Plus, it’s too hard to pack for inclimant weather! And never every day. I would and have burned myself out!

  6. I have big dreams of running in the am, and weight lifting in the pm. It hasn’t happened yet for me, though. I ran 5-6 days week for my last marathon and it seemed to have worked…but I had to give up alot of cross training, too

  7. I’m really surprise to learn that you don run everyday!!not even 5 days a week? how did you get through all those marathons.I wish I could do that.

  8. There was one stretch for a couple of weeks where I was running at least some distance every day (nothing more than a mile and a half or 2 miles in a clip). Then one day *BAM* my legs were like bricks and I could barely get through a quarter-mile. Very frustrating, though softball players are not known for distance running of any length past 60 feet – and I am not a natural outfielder. Ha!

    I’m a big fan of cross-training and have recently gotten into swimming. I’m hoping that will translate into physically hanging in for a longer run.

    – Kelly

  9. DawnB – when I was at my peak and doing marathons every weekend (or two in a weekend!), I usually didn’t run at all during the week. When I started training for my FIRST marathon, I probably ran 2-3 days a week, but only my long run on weekends was a really serious “training” session (vs just me trying to stay in shape).

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