healthy |ˈhelθē|adjective ( healthier , healthiest )in good health: : feeling fit and healthy.• (of a part of the body) not diseased : healthy cells.• indicative of, conducive to, or promoting good health : a healthy appetite | a healthy balanced diet.• (of a person's attitude) sensible and well balanced : a healthy contempt for authority.• figurative in a good condition• desirable; beneficial• A conscious choice; A life-long commitment.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Run a Race? Hey, Why Not!

I was asked to write a post on how I got started with running. Let me begin by saying I am still VERY (and I strongly emphasize the "very") new runner, I only started running in February. That being said, I do believe I have learned a lot in that short time, and having run a 10k and currently training for a half marathon, I do feel I can offer some (probably very minimal, and definitely not expert) advice on how to get going with running, if you think it is something you might like to try.

I made the decision to start running after a boy, ahem, a negative influence, in my life moved away. I needed something to distract me and I was bound and determined for it to not be a boy. I anted no boys. I wanted to be alone and to find out who I was and I honestly believe running helped me to accomplish that.

Races in Central Alberta are far and few between. I knew that eventually I wanted to run a half marathon, and even farther down the road a full marathon, but I thought that was a pretty daunting task. I also thought 5k wasn't enough of a challenge at this point, so I settled on the 10k. Pretty fitting considering the Woody's Half Marathon (Red Deer's only Marathon) had just added a 10k Race this year. I thought, What the heck, and signed up.

Next, I googled (credible, I know) "How to Run 10k" and clicked the first link that came up. Enter Hal Higdon. I started looking through his website, and checked out his 10k Beginners training guide, and thought it sounded easy enough. It also fit into my very hectic school schedule pretty well, so I decided I would follow that.

That my friends, is how I started running.

A spur of the moment decision, that I have never looked back on.

.... Kind of like my decision to become a Vegetarian. Haha

Here are some tips that you may find helpful if you are just starting to run:
  • It is uncomfortable at first. Sometimes your liver will hurt so bad it will feel like it wants to explode. Sometimes it will feel like your lungs physically cannot take another breath. When this happens it is Okay to take walking intervals. Listen to your body first and foremost. Know when and how hard to push yourself - only you can make that boundary.
  • Download music that you like and make a sick playlist. I like to update my playlist monthly. I also like to run to fast paced, "top 40's" tracks like Lady Gaga and B. Spears. This isn't for everyone, so again, listen to what you like - it will make the experience more enjoyable.
  • Drink water!! I try to drink every 2km.
  • For me the first 17-20min are the hardest, from 20-45min I hit my runners high, at 45-50 I hit a brief wall, and at min 60-90 I am good again, from 90-100 I hit a wall, and from 100-120min I am good. Again, this is individual. Try and figure out what your body is telling you. This will take some time to figure out, but check for cues such as how heavy your legs feel, how fast your heart is beating, ext...
  • Positive self-talk. Oh man, this one is huge. When I feel like I need to stop I repeat these words to myself: "You are stronger than this. You have accomplished so much already. You can do this. Push yourself. Push harder." And it works. That is my personal mantra. Come up with your own and write it down!
  • Set goals. My goal was a 10k and I told as many people as I could that I was running it, that way I couldn't back out.
  • Find a program that works for you. If Higdon doesn't appeal, try Couch to 5/10k.
  • Buy good shoes. Enough said.
  • If you try it, give it a shot for 3 weeks. If you don't like it after 3 weeks, that is OKAY! You tried, and it definitely isn't for everyone. The only way to consistent exercise is to find something you love. So if you don't love it, try something else!

Those are just a few tips on how to start. It is hard at first, it is hard after 4 months, but that is part of the gratification. I feel like I accomplish something when I run. I feel like I am pushing my body and making it stronger. It makes me feel alive, and completely at peace with who I am.

I ran for the first time in 2 and a half weeks yesterday. 5k in 40min. It was hard. It was slow. I have lost a lost of speed and endurance. It will come back as I continue to run more and more. My back and hips feel good, so I will slowly re-integrate it into my exercise regimen.

I will leave you with my favorite running quote;

If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or you've been running for years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.