Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Recruiting new members for our cult/running community

A dear friend of mine asked me in a text about how to start walking/running.  Since I am pretty sure I could talk for DAYS about running, I had to forgo texting back and respond via email.  So I shared my story about how I joined the cult and a few other informative tidbits.  I really don't have anyone in my immediate group of family and friends that are regular runners and it would be really great if I could create one convert.  Muahahaha! 
Anyway, if you read my blog, you are either A) on the Loop and already a runner or  B) a longtime stalker on my livejournal (I like to pretend I have stalkers to stroke my ego).  BUT, in my fantasy world, there could be a random reader out there who reads this and it becomes a catalyst to becoming a runner.  So.........I share the email:

Mmmkay, so you know I could blab your ear off on the subject.  I'm just sayin', this might be opening a can of worms as you know I'm a crazy runner girl and only wish that every other person in the world could feel the joy I do when it comes to my hobby.

But that being said, I will try to keep my enthusiasm contained.

The truth is, it's one of those things that took awhile for it to be a habit.  Sure, I did have a background of running in middle & high school, but I didn't become a committed runner until about 6 years ago.  And when I decided to try to make it a habit, it took probably a year of consistency before I felt as though I truly had formed the habit.  And the first time I realized that I wanted to run was the first time and couldn't (I think it was thunderstorming), I knew this could be a lifelong habit if I kept up my end of the bargain.

The first step for me was finding a way to not just walk/run one day and then forget about it for 2 weeks.  I needed to stay on track.  So I committed to myself that I would go every other day for a few weeks.  Every day seemed a bit too pushy, less than that seemed like I'd fall off the bandwagon too easily. 

The first 2 weeks, I just walked for 30 minutes every other day.  I brought my iPod full of dumb songs to the park and walked. 

By the end of the 2 weeks, I was feeling as though I could test the running waters.  I decided I would build up to being able to run for a sustained period.  So on subsequent runs, I walked for 9 minutes and 'ran' for 1 minute, then repeated.  It was more like a fast shuffle at this point.  But as long as my feet were leaving the ground simultaneously, I could call it running.  Over the course of the following weeks, I slowly transitioned to a little more running and a little less walking. 

Long ago, I had cut out an article from Seventeen magazine (yeah, that long ago) that helped me the first time I decided to start running back in middle school.  It took 10 weeks, but each week, you add another minute of running to the run/walk cycle.  i.e. week 1: 9 minutes walk, 1 minute run, week 2: 8 minutes walk, 2 minutes run, etc.   I didn't follow it exactly, but this was the premise of plan. The days I felt good, I would try the running segments for a little longer and on the days I felt yuck, I allowed myself to walk a little more. 

It took about 3 months before I was running for 30 minutes at a time.  And probably another 3 months before 45 minutes became comfortable.  After about a year, I could run for an hour every other day and amazingly, I felt good.  There are days that I still have to just put on my running clothes and pout for awhile until I decide that it is always better to do the workout than not.  There has never been a time when I've been like, "gee, I really wish that I hadn't just run". 

Getting the right shoes, clothes, sports bra, etc. definitely can make the experience more pleasant, but isn't necessary.  I'd highly, highly, highly recommend Fleet Feet Johns Creek and at the bare minimum get a good sports bra from them (and never put it them the dryer or use fabric softener on them--ggrrrr, wish I had learned that years ago!!).  I like music when I run so I treat myself to a set of new tunes every few months.  $5 can go a long way with my motivation.  

The first and last hurdle is staying on track.  I have had a few weeks here and there that I haven't run for various reasons over the past 6 years.  And I beat myself up a little about it (hello, Type A!) for a little while until I lace up and find myself with no excuse to not run.  I'm not going to lie--some of the time I think why I am compelled to continue this madness?   But I seek out the things that motivated in the first place--reading about other people running, eating that extra brownie, some time to clear my head without anyone to bother me--and remember why it is all worth it.

I liked writing this so much, I am going to post it to my blog. :)  Hope you don't mind.  And please, please, please, ask me any questions you might have.  I'd love to help if I could.  I'd walk with you on my days off if you need a buddy!

No comments:

Post a Comment