I must say that I was an avid walker for many, many years. Running for me just began about 3 or so years ago. I had decided that I needed more of a challenge….something that would give my heart a good workout. Heart disease/heart failure is in my family and knew that becoming a runner would help my heart stay strong. Many of you that read this post may not even be on the “running” radar. You may be one of many that just need to get walking and that is OK! The tips I will give you today will get you from the couch, to walking and even to a marathon!
The Path to becoming a Runner…A “Challenging” Beginning……
I was challenged by a friend to run a 5k that she was going to participate in. She had done many of them and knew what she was getting into….I, on the other hand, said yes but had no prior experience with a 5k. Preparing for a 5k was something I had no idea of either. My idea of training was putting on my running shoes on, walking out the door and running. LOL That was probably not the best plan of action but I guess sometimes you just have to get moving.
As I reflect on how I went about my new running adventure, I can see how I could have done things better. After taking a break from running, I have decided get back into my routine. These tips I am sharing with you today are what I plan on using for myself.
Figure out where you are now
You may not have thought of this but it would be a good idea to reflect on where you are physically now before you get started. You need to know this so you can gauge how much you improve. So time yourself and measure the distance. This is applicable whether you are walking or running. You can do this with a smart phone using an app (I use Map My Run) or something like a FitBit device. How can you know how much you have improved if you don’t know where you began?
Set a goal larger than what you can imagine ever accomplishing
I have always been a goal setter but I have to admit that my idea of goal setting in the past has been somewhat weak. I would set a goal that was just a smidgen’ beyond what I thought I could do. The downside to this thinking was, I would reach that goal, feel all good about it and then quit. I reached the goal, so I would move on, right? Being that I am ADD, moving forward to the next “shiny” goal seemed like the logical thing to do. You may wonder what is wrong with this…..well I have found that in setting a goal just beyond my reach, it was not a big enough challenge and did not allow me to push myself and see what I was really capable of achieving.
Don’t set easy goals
Confession: I tend to make my goals too easy. You probably subconsciously do this as well. It helps us avoid the possibility of failing….right? None of us like the feeling of failure. I have found though that within the failures of life will be where we will see the most growth, both emotionally, spiritually and physically.
So now instead of setting a goal of finishing a 5k, I have a new goal of competing in a marathon. I may never actually achieve that goal but in the pursuit of it, I will be pushing myself to move beyond the barriers that I have set forth in my mind and will accomplish more than I ever imagined I could.
Take your big goal and break it into smaller goals I believe that this will be especially helpful to those that are still sitting on the couch reading this post going “I can’t even walk a mile, let alone run in a 5k!”. You always want to know what the “big” goal is but trying to reach it in one fail swoop can be overwhelming and probably keep you right where you are….on the couch. I have heard it said that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time! This goal you have set for yourself is your “elephant”, so take it on one segment at a time.
So here is an example
- Goal: Marathon
- Steps to Achieving Goal: walk 15 minutes each day for the week #1….walk 20 minutes and jog 1 minute. Walk another 10 minutes on week #2, walking a total of 25 minutes, run for 1 minute. Walk another 10 minutes on week #3 and so forth.
- This is just an idea of what you can do and you can create a routine however you want but the point is to build it up each week. Depending on where you begin, will determine how you progress. I do challenge you to not go too easy on yourself. During this process you are reprogramming your mind (which is your biggest challenge in anything new) to realize that you can push through. You are also retraining your body, muscles, lungs and getting them adapted as well. If your goal is to become I runner, then the amount of time you run at the beginning should grow as you progress and the amount of time you would walk should lessen. You should get to the point where you are just running.
Reward yourself as you reach the smaller goals
We have a habit of neglecting to celebrate the small achievements. If it wasn’t for reaching the “small” goals, we would never reach the “big” goal, would we?? So never allow yourself to poo-poo the smaller hurdles! Now how you reward yourself can be anything. Have a poster on your wall and using star stickers and marking the date and distance that you reached. Celebrate by having a movie night out with friends. Use your imagination and make it fun. Just because we are adults doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun, right? 😉
Speaking of friends, why not bring them along for the adventure!
They may not have the same overall goal as you but that shouldn’t keep you from having someone join you. I will challenge you to remember that if you are reaching your goals and they are not, don’t feel bad but keep moving forward in your pursuit. It takes a strong person to keep their eye on the prize!
You are your ONLY competition
This is something that should be said…I myself fell into the trap of measuring myself against my friends. If they could run the 5k without stopping to walk and I couldn’t, I felt like I had failed. If they had a quicker finish time than I did, I felt like I had failed. I didn’t take into consideration that when I began I couldn’t run a city block without having to stop and walk part of it! Or that I had shaved off 20 seconds off my last run time. Learn to just focus on what you have done and what you want to achieve. You know when you have not giving your best!
This may seem a little strange to journal your “couch to becoming a runner” experience. I feel that it is not only a great way to log your progress but another way to see how far you have come. You can do this the traditional way, pen and paper or get really creative and do a video log and post it on YouTube! It can be hard to really appreciate your achievement because over time we tend to forget where we began. Don’t forget where you started. Never be ashamed of your story, for within your story someone else will find inspiration!
Did these tips help?
I hope that these tips to becoming a runner will help motivate you. Also to give you a starting point of reference and help you ultimately reach your goals! By the way, have you decided on a goal? If so, leave it in the message box below, I would love to hear it! Enjoy the content on this blog? Be sure to use the social media icons below and share with your friends and family.
Until next time, Stay Healthy!