Whenever I would see someone running past our house or through the park I would always think “good for them, wish I could do that”. I actually thought I couldn’t run you guys. I had tried multiple times in the past and failed. Completely failed. But I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know I had to learn to run. I thought I was in shape and would just wake up and decide “I’m going to be a runner today” and attempt a half hour run around the neighbourhood. I just figured that since I could barely run for 4 minutes without being out of breath and hating my life that I would NEVER be able to run 5k, let a lone a 10k? or a half marathon? No way.
Boy was I wrong. First of all, you can do anything you set your mind to. It might take you longer than someone else. You might have to work harder than someone else, but you can do it. Second of all, I was setting myself up for failure by not taking baby steps to where I wanted to go. You need a goal and you need action steps to get there.
Over coffee back at the start of March, my friend Sophie and I were chatting about anything and everything while our kids played noisily around us and for some reason I mentioned that I wish I could run. She told me if I was really serious about wanting to, she would do it with me. She told me about this awesome learn to run app called Couch to 10k that she had successfully used several years back and actually grew to love running. I wasn’t convinced as I legitimately thought I wasn’t “the running type”. I told her I would be left behind in the dust and hold her back so I didn’t think she’d want me as a running partner. But after some coaxing and encouraging, she had me convinced that I could do this. That it started off really easy and trained you to build your stamina slowly and surely. I had already been working out consistently for the past 4 months so I couldn’t be in that bad of shape.
This is when things got real. Before Sophie left that day, we committed to running 3 days a week together starting the next week. I was terrified before my first run. I was prepared to fail miserably once again. But to my surprise, that first week of runs was so simple and FUN! The running intervals were so short at first that it was so doable for anyone and made you believe that you could do this. Walk for 3 min….run for 1…walk for 3…run for 2, walk for 1, run for 2 and so it continued. Each week, the intervals of running time get longer and the walks get shorter. At 6 weeks through the program, we’re currently up to 15 min increments of running and all you runners out there are probably laughing at me but thats ok. I actually can’t believe I am able to do that without literally dying. It’s such an AMAZING feeling after we finish, to run up my driveway and have that feeling of I did it, I’m doing it, I can do this.
So I thought I would share some things I learned during my first 6 weeks of running:
Use an app. As I mentioned above, It’s so important to learn to run. Don’t make my mistake and try and train yourself with running 10-15 min intervals right off the bat. It doesn’t sound like a long time but it IS when you’re running and when you have’t run before. You have to train your body slowly. There are lots of different running apps out there but I would HIGHLY recommend couch to 10k! It’s so easy to use and I just love the structure of the program!
Running with a partner. – ok this was/is HUGE for me. In running my challenge groups over the past 5 months, I have really come to realize the IMPORTANCE of accountability. Some days you just don’t want to do it and you need someone telling you can! Sophie has been my biggest motivator since the start and I’m so thankful to have her with my during this journey! I probably would have give up the first time I had that bad run. And definitely not kept up with 3 runs each week for the past 6 weeks. Even when I was sick for a few days and we missed 1 out of the 3, she insisted we do 4 the next week. We push each other and I truly believe, having a running partner has played such a huge role in my journey thus far.
Be Consistent – when I missed that one run because I was sick that week, I could totally feel it during my next run. Follow the program and actually run 3 times a week! Consistency is key to building your stamina and progressing.
Time of Day – I think that time of day can really play a part in the success of your run. I find I feel the most energized during a run in the evenings so we run around 8 or 9. I love that it’s cooler out by that time too. We’ve tried running at 8 in the morning and also around 5. I just wasn’t feeling it for either of those times. Although I do my workouts at 7 each morning, I realized that it’s just not my time of day to get out for a run and I also hadn’t eaten breakfast because I didn’t want to get a cramp so I had NO energy.
Some days you love it, other days you HATE it. Don’t give up! I remember having a really exhausting run where I hated every minute of it, felt like I was so out of breath, felt like I was going to collapse and came home and told my husband that I’m not going to run anymore because I was actually right, I can’t do it. But then the next time I went out (thanks to my running partner, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have) I loved every minute of it. I felt so invigorated and by the time our run was done, I felt like I could run another 15 min. Just like any workout or sport, some runs are going to be easier and leave you feeling energized and some runs are just going to plain suck. DON’T GIVE UP. Keep getting out there.
The importance of stretching – I learned the importance of stretching the hard way. I knew I should stretch but I just got lazy and would forget most of the time. About my 3rd week in, I had intense soreness in my right calf before and during a run. I didn’t know if I could get through it but I couldn’t let my running partner down so I pushed through and basically limped back to my house convinced my venture in running was over because my calf was destroyed. My kinesiologist husband whipped me back into shape though! He had me stretch it out doing various exercises for the next three days and reinforced the importance of stretching after each run. By the next run, I was good to go and you better believe I don’t miss a stretch routine anymore!
Change up the Terrain and Route – I’ve found that it’s important to keep challenging yourself and changing things up to keep it fun and exciting. Otherwise it can start to get boring and monotonous. Change up your route so you have a change of scenery! It’s also important to change up the terrane. One day, half of our run was up hill. It was brutal but it challenged us and really worked those muscles! It’s important to keep things fresh and challenge yourself.
I still have so far to go but I’d call my first 6 weeks a success and I hope that if you’re considering running, this might motivate you to give it a try. If I can do it you can too. Trust me. In 6 weeks, I’ll be running 10k stretches. This is WILD to me. I’ll give you an update about how it’s going around then!
Thanks for reading you guys! xoxo