Thursday, November 08, 2007

One Step at a Time, My Friends

Well, it's been 4 days since the half-marathon. The post-finish glow has worn off, and the soreness is just about gone. Slacker that I am, I haven't run once since the race! But at least we'll do a 5-mile race on Thanksgiving, so I have one more upcoming race to keep me honest.

In the comments on the half-marathon post, Bren asked how one would get started in running. I'm glad he asked, because I want to say right now: If I can do it, anyone can do it.

I didn't start running until my mid-20s. I had played soccer in school, but to me, running after a ball and playing on a team sport is an entirely different experience from running just to run. It takes a lot more mental perseverance to get out there and run, I think.

So I started running as a way to lose weight and get in better shape before my wedding. I can still remember when 2 miles felt like a really long distance, and I could never make it through without walking. The first time I ever ran 5 miles, I was absolutely amazed that I had gone that far. I would never have imagined it!

The only difference between then and now is that I kept doing it. And (with a lot of help from my more-experienced runner husband) I kept setting running goals and working toward them. Even though it took me 3 years to reach my original goal of finishing a 5k in under 30 minutes, I got there eventually.

So, quite simply, the way to start is just to put one foot in front of the other. Repeat.

On a more technical side, here's some of the online training plans I've used to prepare for different race distances:
Runner's World: Your Ultimate 10k Plan
Runner's World: 5 Weeks to Your First 5k Training for the Half-Marathon

For the half-marathon training, I used the mileage build-up and then the novice plan. With almost any of these plans, if you're not concerned about improving your time you can drop the speedwork—just put in the miles. For early-morning workout inspiration, I would also highly recommend getting a spastic dog who jumps out of bed at 6 am, ready for a brisk run. But that's a personal preference.

I hope you give it a shot, Bren. I will always be glad that I started, and I intend to keep running for many years to come. Good luck!


cat said...

I also recommend an mp3 player and secure headphones with plenty of jaunty music loaded--something that will keep you bouncy. I find that I keep to it longer with a certain tempo and style.

Megan--You can listen to books while you run? I am in awe. Then again, I've never been one to enjoy being read to.

Bren said...

Wow thanks Megan! Not only did I get a mention this time, but you wrote a post directed at me (and others of course)... I feel so spesh.

Somehow I just knew that was the advice you were going to give me hehe. Funny thing is I'm keen to get into running to er... "lose weight and get in better shape before my wedding" next November. Too funny.

I keep using the old excuse of "oh I'm far too busy to run"! And to certain extent that's true, but my inner self keeps nagging me to get out there and just do it. So I shall!

Also, myself and some of the other authors of The Geek Mythologies are training (or going to be) for the Tough Guy and Gal Challenge next year. Should be a blast!

So thanks for your advice, I'm off to read those links you gave us.

M. Lubbers said...

Cat: I listen to music sometimes, but on long runs I feel like I get distracted because the songs are so short, it makes the run feel longer. When I have 8 hours of a book to listen to, I just kinda fall into the rhythm and go with the flow.

Bren: You've very welcome to your own post! I love having post ideas from readers, so always feel free to throw any out there! I hope the links help. And joining a group challenge is also a great way to go. My mother-in-law made me join a running group in Cincinnati when we lived there and it was a wonderful, supportive group. Let me know how it goes for you!

Bren said...

Will do! Seriously looking at joining a running/walking club too. Figured that was a good idea, but I'm living a very commuter based lifetyle til the end of Nov and am out of town on their club nights! So come December I'll look seriously at it.

Thanks again!