For our inaugural You Can, Tuesday!, I wanted to share my experience with running, and I am excited to announce that I can share with you in TWO ways today. First, through the written word in this post, and second, verbally, in podcast form! I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a guest on Running With Police Escort, a podcast that is dedicated to runners in the back of the pack. So please check it out and let me know how you like both the podcast and my episode!
Long story short, I started running as an adult when I was in law school, with a friend of mine, Melissa. She had been a runner in high school and encouraged me to give running a try. When it started, I could run about ten seconds at a time before keeling over, gasping for air. I was clearly very good at this. There were many moments of , “I can’t do this!” and “I’m just not built to be a runner.” But, I kept just adding a little bit to my ten seconds and that spring, we roped in our friend, Betsy, and all trained for a 5k. It was mine and Betsy’s first, and we felt so thrilled, and so exhausted when we finished.
From left: Melissa, Betsy, and myself after finishing the 2009 Go! Saint Louis 5k.
After that, I just wanted to keep getting better. In 2010, I convinced my friend, Kendra, to sign up for the Go! Halloween 10K. In terms of training, I never quite made it past running the 5k distance, but I told myself if I ran half and walked half, it would still be an accomplishment. Let me tell you, running a Halloween race is the best for pure distance, especially if you are sort of slow. Why? Because so many interesting people in insane costumes pass you, that you just forget how hard it is or to even think about how far you’ve run. I managed to run the entire thing, and at that time, that was the furthest distance I had ever run!
From left: myself and Kendra celebrating the evening after finishing the 10K in 2010.
After that, I took about a year off from running, and focused on cycling, which is an entirely different post in itself. Stay tuned. But in 2012, I decided I wanted to get back into running, and decided to sign up for the Go! Saint Louis Half Marathon in 2013. I started training in October, and my husband soon realized this was going to be a thing that took up a lot of my time. Although he had been resistant to paying to run – ha ha – he signed up and started training with me. I took my training seriously and ran atleast 3 times a week, pushing myself to longer times and distances. I was not worried about speed at all – I just wanted to say I ran the entire thing.
From left: Myself and Jonathan, after finishing our first half marathon in 2013!
I have never felt stronger, more disciplined, or more better about myself over all than in this picture. Running a half marathon was something “I would never be able to do,” especially since I “don’t have a runner’s body” and “am not built for running” and “am way too slow.” We finished with an average speed of under 12 minutes per mile, which for me, is way faster than any of the pacing runs I have done.
To me, this picture symbolizes what discipline, motivation, and consistency can do. You CAN do it. If you want to.
Here are my tips if you’re just getting started:
1. Set a schedule. Try hard to stick to it. Make up runs you miss. For us, we dedicated to running 3x a week. I know there are training plans that have you running more often, but 3x a week was what we could commit to, and even if something came up and we missed a run, we could find time to fix it.
2. Stay positive. Stop saying you can’t do X, and focus on what you CAN do. Maybe today you CAN run/walk 1 mile. Then slowly build up until you CAN do more!
3. Get the right shoes. When I went in to our local running store and got fitted for new shoes, part of me felt like, “is this a total crock and am I wasting my money?” Overnight, I went from struggling to get 3 miles in, with shin splints, to going for a 4 mile run, feeling great, and “just kept going” until 6 miles! That is not a lie. That literally happened.
4. Get a running buddy. I loved having someone to work together with. That’s not everyone’s thing, and I get that, but it worked for me!
5. Sign up for race! Find a distance that is doable but that you can also work towards. Pick a race that is fun! There are Halloween races, root beer races, hot chocolate races, color races! The more excited you are, the better you will do.
Are you a runner? What advice do you have? What’s your story? What race are you running next?
If you’re not a runner, have you ever considered running? Is something holding you back?
Are you a “slow” runner? How do you stay encouraged? How did you like Running With Police Escort ?
Feel free to share in the comments or share a link to a blog post that tells your running story!