In case you missed it, I had a pretty eventful New Year’s… 🙂
Baby we were bornnnn to ruuuuuuuuun!
Well. Sometimes, it REALLY doesn’t feel like it. To many (or most?), running is more like…
“WHEN CAN I STOP.”
“Are my feet SUPPOSED to hurt this much??”
“WHEN CAN I STOP. SERIOUSLY.”
And my personal fave,
“I have to pee…when can I stop?!?”
I wish I had a better reason for starting to run– and I mean, seriously run…10-15 mi a week, and not just derping around once a month for a mile or two on the track [been there, holla]– than that I just plain felt like it. Forrest Gump, anyone?
A few co-workers of mine at my old school were pretty serious runners, and would talk about training for their latest 5k, 8k, or half marathon in the faculty dining room. Eventually, I just sort of wanted in on the fun, and liked the idea of working out seriously again (I had fallen off the bandwagon pretty hard in college thanks to a beast of a year-long senior thesis on a Greek manuscript). My friend Dave, our cross country and indoor/outdoor track coach, wrote me up a killer 6-month plan to prepare me for my first real road race: the Rothman 8k, part of the Philly Marathon weekend.
Again: I never ran cross country in middle school or high school; only ran track in middle school, when I thought I was a sprinter (HA no.); and had never, ever entered a long-distance race before in my life. One day in the beginning of June 2013, I laced up my first pair of [very cheap] running shoes and hit the pavement. I remember struggling pretty badly those first few weeks, and my family asking me why I was putting myself through training when I was never really a runner in the first place. “It’s getting better,” I would tell them, mostly talking to myself. I wasn’t lying, though: in July, when I was barely able to run two miles, I clocked a “fastest mile” at 7:41 (according to my ridiculous notes…); in August, I ran three miles for the first time. I logged a 4-miler in the beginning of September, and ran at least 2 five-milers before crushing (CRUSHING.) my 8k in November.
All of this is just to say: if you never thought you could be a runner, you really can. If the allure of a race bib, swag bags and tech tees have been calling your name for a while, you can do this. Seriously. Here’s how I did.
Monday: off day. Go for a long walk or jump on an elliptical, but keep it casual.
Tuesday: run 5 mins, walk 2 mins on/off for 28 minutes. [THIS SUCKS. Just stick with it. I started off on the treadmill, but in weeks 2 & 3, started running outside).
Wednesday: 5-7 mins easy jog. I usually worked this into a nice long walk.
Thursday: run 5 mins, walk 2 mins on/off for 28 mins.
Friday: 5-7 mins easy jog.
Saturday: 5-7 mins easy jog.
Sunday: 5-7 mins easy jog.
The run-walk method is called the Galloway Method. Just so you know: it’s okay to walk!!! Runners even walk in races, and end up with faster times than if they had just kept plodding along. The trick is not to wait until you’re dead tired and can’t move one foot in front of the other anymore…pick a spot in the distance to run to, and then take a set break. I still do this on lighter runs.
Other “notes” for when you’re just starting out: pick a race and train for that. It’ll give you motivation to hit the pavement. I bought my first race entry in late July for the second weekend in November, after I started logging larger distances and felt more comfortable and confident. Race entries tend to be cheaper the further out you are, obviously, but it might be worth waiting a bit to see if the distance might be too large or too small for you. Also, at this point in training, it’s okay to run every day. You’re logging really no more than 5 minutes at a time on most days. However, once I made it up to longer runs of 3+ miles, I noticed that I was starting to strain my Achilles, and started running no more than 4-5 times a week. I now exclusively run 4 times a week during training, adding strength training in at least twice a week (weights, core, etc., which I’ll get into once you’ve worked up your endurance a bit), and making sure to cross-train once or twice a week. My goal this season is to add yoga to the mix.
Happy trails! Well, it’s snowing here, so happy trails to you winter warriors, and happy tread(mill)ing to the rest of us…