Well those drifters days are past me nowI’ve got so much more to think about

Deadlines and commitments

What to leave in, what to leave out

Against the wind

I’m still runnin’ against the wind

I’m older now but still running

Against the wind

No, I’m not a Bob Seger fan. But yesterday that song got stuck in my head, and it won’t leave! Yes, I was literally running…against the wind.

Running fever has struck again. The husband has started to take walks–a lot of them–and as you might know, this is something I’ve been doing for more than a year now on my lunchbreaks with my work buddies. (Shout out to my superfantastic work buddies!!) Last autumn, I started the Couch to 5K program but stopped when the Northeast was pummeled with subfreezing temps and ice for weeks on end.

But guess what? I’m back. Kinda.

My husband and I have a mutual best friend who has become addicted to walking and occasionally running. It’s been about 2 months, and our friend has lost around 25 pounds so far. It’s motivating us to better incorporate fitness into our lives on a regular basis. Yesterday, this friend invited me to meet him at the track at 8:30 in the morning for a walk/run. I nervously accepted, unsure I’d be able to keep up with his running as I haven’t done it in quite a while (except for 1 random day a few weeks ago) and never was really good at it.

You know what? I kept up! And later, he texted me that he suspects I could have kept going and that maybe I was holding back. After thinking about it a while, I agree now that I could have pushed myself harder. So I think I will.

My brother had given me a Target gift card for my birthday, so I went there yesterday and spent the whole thing on some running clothes. Nothing fancy, in case I give it up after a few weeks–just a jacket to get me through the fall, and a decent tank/sports bra combo.

The thing motivating me to try this whole running thing again is that feeling I had afterward, which lasted 3-4 hours. I felt the runner’s high I had forgotten all about. I had so much energy that I didn’t know how to use it! I didn’t crave caffeine. I was in a good mood–it’s true about the endorphins! And it was a social activity, which is important for my unmotivated self. I’m motivated to do ALL THE THINGS except exercise. I tend to need a buddy to get me off the couch. So now that my husband and our friend are both into walking and running–and both have fairly open schedules–I shouldn’t have to search high and low for a partner.

The best part? Today, I’m not even sore.

So I think there will be more running in my future. I’ve committed to getting out to the track at 8:30 every Sunday morning with my friend. It’s a good start, I think. In addition to that standing appointment, I’ll try to work in some running when I can just because it feels good and is a good reminder that I am strong and can accomplish what I set my mind to do.

 

You should've seen the rest of my running outfit. (But I'm not that brave.)

You should’ve seen the rest of my running outfit. (But I’m not that brave.)

Once i made the decision to try the Couch to 5K program on a whim one Sunday morning, it took me 4 days to go to a running store (forgive my lack of knowledge about the proper names for things related to running!) and have someone help me buy proper shoes. I am lucky in that I have a friend, Mike, who works at one.

Then it took me another 3 days or so to put the shoes on and get outside.

I was so afraid of hating it. So I turned to Twitter and Facebook, and I started telling people the plan, hoping they’d tell me it isn’t so bad (which they did).

Tip 1: tell everyone about your goal. If it’s an interesting one, they will ask you about it whenever they see you. This will hold you accountable. Nobody wants to feel like a quitter!

Having told a bunch of people, especially runners who once were novices like me, is the primary motivation for me to continue right now. I have friends who ask me whenever they see me in person or online, “How’s the running going?” They give me tips and encouragement. They’re my fuel when I’m running low on it. I imagine, during the hard part of a run, telling them, awkwardly, that I gave up. I don’t like that conversation one bit. I imagine their reactions. Although it would never happen in real life, in my imagination they taunt me and call me a loser! It’s like boot camp in my brain!

I do not enjoy the actual running part yet. It makes my legs ache for days afterward–or at least that first time out did. Which brings me to tip 2.

Tip 2: ask questions. Like about stretching, warming up, all of it! Runners seem to be a particularly helpful group who wants everyone to join them! They collectively want me (& everyone) to succeed, so they’re forthcoming with advice and lots of “have you tried” doing X, Y, or Z? Just the talking about it, not to mention the learning of new things, is helpful for motivation. Not to mention all the offers to run a 5K with them. I have a list of people willing to help me during my first 5K. It’s nice having people who believe I’ll actually make it that far!

Tip 3: Give it one more day. Don’t ever quit something on a bad day. This is what I learned from breastfeeding. I can’t tell you how many times on a bad day I muttered–or shouted–”I’m done!” And vowed to stop. During my runs so far, I’ve hit a point each time when I told myself I was quitting after that run. And then magically it’s over, and it didn’t feel that bad, so I agree to go out just one more time.

If I know myself, and after 35 years I think I’m getting to, I will “one more day” myself into reaching my goal.

So…runners…what other tips do you have for beginners?