Posts Tagged ‘training’

Running: Here We Go Again!

My running shoes. Running shoes that fit and support beautifully. Priceless!

Well, I did it.  I turned myself into a runner. 

Lest there be any misunderstanding about things like speed, endurance and frequency, let me explain:  I like to run

That’s it.  I’m not fast. I don’t do it nearly as often as I would like and I usually don’t run more than a couple of miles before I have to walk.  But I like it. 

I like the anticipation of a run, wondering if it will be a good one or not, wondering if I will run as well or as far as I plan.  I like fighting through the initial stiffness before reaching the point where it feels good, as if my body finally remembers that it was made to run.  And I especially like how I feel when I finish: muscles and skin heated, energy surging, my mind clear and sharp.

All of these reasons are why, after any forced hiatus from running (like pregnancy), I am always eager to start up again.  And those same reasons  help me persevere as I reacquaint my body with the joys of pounding suburban sidewalks.  Like my old attempts at running once a year, it rarely goes as I expect because my mind and body just aren’t in sync.

If I could converse with my body, our little back-to-running chat would go something like this:

Me: O.K. We’ll start with a leisurely walk and make it a brisk one here in a few minutes.  I think we’ll continue that for about ten minutes for a good warm up.

Body: Sounds good to me!  Ahhh…feels good to stretch and get some fresh air!

Me: (breathing deeply)  Oh, yeah, this is nice.

Body: Wait, brisk walk already? I thought you said a few minutes!

Me: C’mon, I’m feeling strong. Let’s go ahead and pick it up!

Body: (muttering) Don’t. Push. It.

Me: I think I’m ready for a light jog.  Let’s do a 2 minute jog/1 minute walk sequence.

Body: What?! I just gave you a baby seven weeks ago!  What do you want from me?

Me: Whew! This doesn’t feel as good as I thought it would!

Body: You’re killing me!  I can’t concentrate when I’m jiggling all over like this.  Can we stick to walking ?  I’m still carrying all those banana splits you ate for nine months!

Me:  I could definitely use an out-of-body experience right about now…

Fortunately,  I just need that one over-eager session to settle myself back into reality. Nine months away from running is a long time.   It’s like starting all over again, expect for one significant detail:  I know I can do it and I know roughly how long it will take.  It might be a struggle, but knowing that the struggle will end is an invaluable boost.  It takes the edge off  those beginner’s pains.  It keeps me moving.

If you’re new to running or just getting back into a running routine (that’s me) ease in slow and steady.  You’ll reach your goal safely and make yourself a runner for life!



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woman_joggerbackTraining myself to run was one of the best things I ever did.  When I completed my ultimate goal of running thirty minutes without stopping, I established a significant reference point for the rest of my life. 

If I can make myself a runner, I would think, I can tackle that problem, survive this ordeal, figure that out, etc. 

I know, running nonstop for thirty minutes is hardly climbing Mt. Everest, but it was daunting enough that the sense of accomplishment seared itself into my memory.  It also taught me an invaluable lesson about breaking down an overwhelming task into manageable portions.

That’s exactly what my new running regimen did for me.   It was actually a run/walk program, a way of easing my body into the habit of running endurance. I had one thirty-minute workout every other day.  Every two weeks the amount of walking would decrease and the running would increase. 

For the first two weeks I ran one minute and walked four minutes for half an hour.  During weeks three and four, I ran two minutes then walked three.  (Each session was bookended by a few minutes of walking and stretching.)

I’ve just got to say it again:  it was so much better than simply deciding to be a runner one day and heading out the door for a “cold turkey” three mile run!

 I wish I could say that my new program made running a breeze. The truth is that it was still hard.  The training schedule made it easier, more manageable, but my body still had to endure the discipline necessary for me to become a runner.   At the end of my first few workouts, it was near-agony to run for sixty seconds.

But then, by the end of that first two weeks running for a minute  was no longer a challenge. My body and mind longed to be pushed a little harder, a longing I immediately regretted during the next training segment!  This cycle repeated itself each time I entered a new two-week phase.

I remember visiting my family once during the early part of the 3/2 phase.  My younger brother joined me for my daily run, playing drill sergeant when he thought I needed to pick up the pace and match the rate his six-foot, three-inch body managed.  It wasn’t bad actually.  I had never run with a partner before during my new training routine and it felt good to have the encouragement.

Then, in the very last week of training, during which I ran for the entire thirty minutes, something wonderful happened.  Shortly after the first mile, an incredible sense of energy and strength infused my body.  I felt as if I had been made to run.  I quit watching the time and simply ran until it didn’t feel good anymore, just a little over four miles. 

Finally, I understood “runner’s high.”  And I’m hooked for life.

Next time:  re-training or, wondering if the high is gone forever.


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So, I finally decided to do it right.  Using a sensible, self-directed training plan, I was going to guide myself to running further than the distance to my mailbox. 


This is not me. If anyone ever takes a photo of me from this perspective, I will never run again unless I'm wearing a burqa.

But first I needed two things:  real running clothes and a digital wrist watch.  I know, I’ve already argued that running doesn’t need special equipment.  However, my training program required breaking each session into timed increments and I just knew that I had a better chance of success if I were wearing the right clothes. 

I didn’t want this effort to be some pale imitation.  I wanted to join the fraternity of athletes for whom running was not a fitness activity but a regular part of their lives. Naturally this transformation could not start in the “sporting wear” section of the local bargain store.

It is likely that I held my breath when I walked in to this store, expecting the clerks to raise an eyebrow and suggest that I do my shopping at Target.  But nothing like that happened.  I was in.  And  I only knew two things:  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, and I didn’t want any of the super-short, underwear shorts.

More than one hour and less than a hundred dollars later, I walked out ready to run. 

By the way, I somehow ended up with a pair of the reviled shorty-shorts with the built in briefs.  I still don’t know how that happened.  Maybe it’s because they were purple.  Maybe I was afraid the staff wouldn’t let me check out without purchasing a pair.  I do know this:  I don’t  want to run in any other kind of shorts. Ever.

Here’s a list of what I purchased. These items are still the core of my running wardrobe.  They would be the core of my regular wardrobe as well, but I love my family and try not to express that by embarrassing them.

  • 1 pair of  running shorts with a built-in brief, something like this
  • 1 pair of  running tights, similar to these
  • 2 pairs of double-layered socks

The watch was much easier.  I just needed digits. Cheap digits, because I’m a thrifty lady, so for this purchase I passed through a bargain store and got what I needed for about ten bucks.   

I spent the weekend grousing over the instruction manual for my  simple watch until I finally figured out how to set the correct time, then laid out my new gear, eager to start on Monday.

Twelve weeks, the article had promised.  In twelve weeks I could train myself to run thirty minutes without stopping.  I was ready!

Next time:  enthusiasm gets broadsided by reality.

Run a mile for me,


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