Thursday, May 27, 2010

Q&A on running

Rachel asked: I'm interested in how you started your running. Have you always been a runner or did you just pick it up? I would love to do a half some day.

Hi Rachel!  Thanks for reading :)  Ok, get ready for the longest answer EVER...haha!  To answer your question, yeah, I guess I've always been kind of a runner.  A little history on me.  I grew up in a very active family.  My dad was a high school baseball coach and my mom was always doing aerobics classes and that sort of thing.  Early on as a kid I was exposed to lots of sports.  I grew up in rural New Hampshire and I was always on my bike, running around my huge yard, playing catch, playing soccer, jumping rope, etc...  As soon as I was old enough I was involved in Pee Wee Baseball, and other organized sports and that pretty much continued through high school.  I went to private school and we had to participate in a sport every term, either team or "rec" sport.  I played Field Hockey for all four years of high school (junior high too), did downhill skiing, tennis, weight training, and running.  I never ran cross country or did track, but I've always had running in the background of my sports.  When I went to college I didn't play any team sports, but running was frequently my physical activity of choice for getting in shape.  Same with after college.  It's always been something I knew gave me a total body workout and was easy to do no matter what else I had going on.  I never really focused on distance or how long I was running though, as long as I went out and did a little bit of running (probably about 2 miles was my avg run).  Before Greg got furloughed I was a member of the YMCA in my city.  I LOVED the classes at the Y.  I used to go to pilates, power yoga, and custom cuts classes.  I was especially into the yoga.  When Greg got furloughed we were pretty freaked out and decided to cut costs how ever we could.  Gym membership was one thing that went on the chopping block, much to my dismay.  It was kind of by accident that I got so into running as my primary physical activity and at the level I'm into it now.  After quitting the gym, I was talking with my friend Gibson about running and we started running together after work once in a while.  Then he told me he was in a running group and that I should come.  I joined the running group (which by the way is on about a year ago and did the Thursday night 4 mile runs.  At first I REALLY struggled with 4 miles.  I had to run a couple times a week to make sure I was prepared to do that run and that was my LONG run each week.  But after a couple months it got pretty easy and I could do it no problem.  I took kind of a winter hiatus from running this year as it was dark and cold and I mostly wanted to 
It was really Jen that got me running the way I am now.  She joined my running group online and searched through the profiles and found that we lived in the same area and contacted me about running in our area.  It was perfect timing.  When we got Clyde I really struggled with leaving him to go running far from the house (which my running group runs are).  Running with Jen worked out great because I could run close to home and not have to leave the puppy for long.  She is a phenomenal runner and started telling me about all the half marathons and full marathons she's done.  I got inspired and said I kind of wanted to try and do a half.  Next thing I know she's finding a half marathon for us and sending me my training plan from! 

Some other advice:

If you want to get into running and/or train for a half marathon is try to find some people to run with ( is in almost every city, you probably have running groups near you).  Like I was mentioning about classes at the Y, I am a person that needs to be around other people to be pushed in working out.  When I run (or workout) by myself I usually don't push myself as hard or as long.  I'm also inspired by other people when I see them pushing themselves.  I think it really helps.  Even if it's just that you run with other people once or twice a week and run by yourself sometimes it still helps.

Gradually build distance.  If you keep increasing the distance you are running, before long if won't feel like it's that hard to run distances you previously thought were too far to run.

If you want to do a longer race, I think mapping a training plan on really helped me.  You don't have to follow it exactly, but it gives you a good idea of what you need to do each week in order to build the mileage.  I stuck to one shortish run (2-4 miles), one 5 mile run, and then did one long run every weekend and that's where I increased my mileage, just by a mile or two a week.  I really didn't change my mileage on the other two runs much throughout my training.

Get some running stuff.  It gets you into it to have some gear :)  If you are going to do longer distances go to a real running store and get fitted for good running sneakers.  They've made a big difference for me.  I also like the running, non-cotton socks.  I had some blister issues, and they seemed to help with that (also sports tape).  I also asked for and got more running clothes for my birthday.  Jen also gave me a little starter kit with all the different runner's fuels- Shot Blocks, Sharkies, Gu, etc...  She also taught me about Body Glide, which is this anti-chafe stuff that you put on to help with chafing.  I love all the gear/food/etc...  It's fun.  I want a Garmin Forerunner now too!

Do some races!  Start small with a 5K and see how you like it.  You can start with smaller distances and build.  I've done a couple races now and it is kind of addicting.  You also push yourself when you're in the competitive atmosphere.

Those are my tips to starting running.  Good luck!


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