If you follow me on Instagram… or any social media account, now that I think about it, you probably have seen some pictures tracking my runs- all tagged with #roadto10k.
This August, I’m running the Disneyland 10k, as part of RunDisney’s Disneyland Half-Marathon Weekend. It is by far the longest run I’ll ever have attempted (and will probably attempt), and I chose it in order to really get myself out the door.
So I set up a training regimen designed to get me running about 5.5 miles by the race (knowing what I know now- I can probably finish the rest of it on adrenaline alone). I started running a mile, with 3-4 runs a week depending on how hectic my schedule is. Each week, I’m increasing the distance by .25 miles. (Though once I start to feel comfortable with it again, I might up it by a half mile each week)
And on my off days, I try to stay active. Having my office in my bedroom is helping, since that’s upstairs and I have to go up and down the steep stairway about 16 times a day since the Kidlets are home for the summer. I’ve been working with a yoga DVD to help keep some flexibility and help me stretch, too.
It’s funny, too- I look at how I’m approaching this now, and how I’ve approached running in the past. When I first started dating TheBoy, he told me all about his cross-country days in high school (he threw shotput in HS track, too), and I thought he was insane. I had friends in cross-country in high school, and I just didn’t get the appeal.
Knowing what I know now- it’s because my only experience running (when it wasn’t just running around a school field like a lunatic) was running on a track. In a circle. Over and over. And I’m not someone who likes running on a track. I need scenery. I’ve tried running on treadmills, and it’s practically torture for me. Not because the constant slight incline is a killer (though it is), but because I have the exact same view. And even if I’m watching a favorite movie or TV show, it just isn’t enough to keep me interested.
I like running on the street and seeing flowers blooming that weren’t three days ago, smelling the water from sprinklers. Sure, I might not enjoy smelling fertilizer or inhaling smoke from a BBQ (two things guaranteed to make me start coughing, btw). But I know I’m going to run past those smells and find new ones. I can gauge my distance by how far I’ve made it down the trail I take. Whether or not I make it over the bridge or down to the park, instead of how many minutes I stood in one spot on the treadmill- or how many laps I did on a track.
If you’re just getting started running, I suggest doing three things. One, build a great playlist. Find something with upbeat tempos that will get your body trying to sync up with it. Two, make sure you have some workout clothes that make you feel happy to put them on. Find colors you like, maybe a headband with a pattern that you think is fun. I guarantee- if there’s something about it that makes you smile when you see it, it’s easier to put on and get out the door.
The other thing, which is true for any and all exercise- don’t judge yourself by your friends’ progress. I’ve found myself in tears because I’ve seen people heavier than myself with major gains in their pace and speed. But Coach!TheBoy (who is a fantastic coach, btw) reminded me that I’m in a unique position amongst my friends, which is that I’m trying to get in shape from being “skinny fat.” Sure I’m thin, but because of my Crohn’s, my body ate away most of my body’s fat and muscle – I’m building up from nothing. Most people have fat to burn as they train, and weight to lose – so they gain speed as they lose weight. Any gains I get are from me having to push myself.
I’m sure someone is reading this and rolling their eyes – but it’s demoralizing to see people twice your weight be able to run faster than you. Or the judgement from other runners when you have to stop after a couple hundred feet to walk for a bit, because they think you’re in better shape than that.
I eat like I have a tapeworm after runs (protein heavy- tuna salad has become my go-to breakfast again) and don’t see much in the way of gains in my pace. It gets easier and I can run further- but I don’t gain any speed. I also get a lot of judgemental stares when I have to slow down and walk for a bit, because people assume I’m a lot more fit.
What are your fitness goals this year? Do you have any tips to help motivate others looking to get out the door?