Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More On Running!

A couple posts ago I got a reader question from Katie!
I have a question re: running, When you are a "runner" does it suck the entire time, just like it does for me (a non-runner, trying to run)? Or do you get to a point in your run that it feels good? Or can you just do a post on the hows and whys?  I would love that!

First, to go on a little pre-run tangent, I love Katie's blog.  I first got into blogging about being a pilot's wife.  Katie is a fellow pilot's wife and her blog is one of the first I started reading.  The pilot's wife blog niche is not really a huge niche as a lone topic.  Most of us blog some about being a pilot's wife but are also in other blog niches as well.  While I consider myself to be sort of in the healthy living blog niche, Katie writes a great about being a mom and posts a lot of creative and inspiring house decor ideas, fashion and beauty, and all sorts of fun things.  As a currently child-less person, many "Mommy" blogs fail to hold my attention, since I can't relate to having a child at this point in my life, but Katie's blog is great because of her sense of humor, honesty, and creativity.  Give this girl a glue gun and a few yards of fabric and she'll totally transform your house.  
Katie, please come transform my house!  :)

So now on to the question!
For me, running does not suck, usually.  I actually do enjoy it most of the time.
 I've certainly had my share of crappy runs (see here and here) where it never really gets fun and it's forced and labored for part or all of the run.  They happen to all of us who run sometimes, but I think more often than not, running feels good and is fun for me.  Sometimes bad runs just happen, but sometimes there's a reason why they are bad.

Some of the reasons for crappy runs I've experienced are:
1.  Crappy weather (too hot, raining, etc...)
2.  You are not well prepared (dressed wrong, didn't stretch well, didn't use Body Glide and are chafing, didn't get enough sleep)
3.  Didn't fuel right for the run or bring enough fuel = run out of juice at some point during the run.
4.  The mental component (sometimes you go into a run thinking it will suck and it does)

There are plenty of other reasons (feel free to add to my list), but those are a few of the reasons I'd say I've had a bad run.

 One of the cool things about running is that sometimes I'll start out feeling unmotivated or sluggish, but a mile or two in I will get this burst of energy or I'll hit a groove where it suddenly feels great.  It's true that a runner's high exists.  I would say that's kind of unique to running compared with some other types of exercise I've tried.

I think you have to build up your running to get the "good feeling".  If you've never run before or currently hate it, I would try a couch to 5K program to get started.  There's a reason why people train for races.  You really can condition your body to get used to running and used to running certain distances so that it doesn't hurt or feel bad.  I feel like if you are training properly, you should have eventually get to a point where running feels pretty good.

Though I may like running and feel good doing distance runs right now, I would never go out and try to run 15 miles without gradually building to reach that distance.  I KNOW it would feel awful and hurt to do too much too soon.  But, if you take it slowly and you gradually increase your distance on runs, it feels pretty good to run most of the time and distances that once seemed long and unattainable suddenly not only become doable, but kind of fun too.  I also think you feel GREAT after you finish a run or race.

 I didn't know if I'd ever want to do another half marathon after my first one, but now I'm training for my second, and am already wondering if I want to do more half marathons or maybe even a full marathon after this one!

I run because running really gives me a sense of accomplishment, makes me feel good, and it's a great way to get in shape.  I love that running doesn't require a gym membership or tons of equipment and that you can do it yourself or with others.  When I really got into running, these factors were crucial to me, and still pretty much are since I can't justify spending tons of money on a gym membership every month while our combined income kinda sucks right now.

I have also really come to love training for races.  Having that goal in front of me, pushes me through my runs and makes me excited during my training runs for my RACE.

 Running may not be for everyone, but I think a lot of us who run would say we were not always runners and didn't think we would get to where we are now with running when we first started.  It's something we worked at, got better at, and sort of fell in love with along the way because it makes you feel great when you complete a run.

Do you run?  Why do you do it?  Anyone else want to answer Katie's question?


Jen said...

I agree with all of your points. I sometimes think bad runs are necessary to really appreciate the good runs! I also want to echo the point of slowly increasing mileage. Too fast/too soon = injury.

Here is my recent post on my journey to becoming a runner.

Good luck with the half! I'm starting to entertain a full at some point as well.

Sana said...

In my short career as a runner I have learned a few things.
Running can suck for the first 2 miles. After that it's game on!

And that feeling of death only lasts for 30 secs. You can do anything for 30 secs!

For people that find running just awful, it's time to find a new hobby!

Sarah @ See Sarah Eat said...

Great post! I too agree with your points. I started running from scratch three years ago and it was definitely intimidating at first. I used a 10-week program, similar to a Couch to 5k.

Once I got "used to" running, it became fun and I now enjoy it very much! I think if I really disliked running, there's no way I could do it.

Ashley and Nate said...

I know that I had to get used to running. When I first tried running cross country in high school, I was in pain from shin splints and I wasn't breathing correctly. Those things combined made running pretty miserable for me... but after getting the 'right shoes' for my feet and breathing better I found running much more enjoyable but still difficult.

With time though... I built up my endurance and running 1 mile was easy... then 2 miles... then 3 miles became a distance I would run without thinking. I reached a point where I could run 5 miles when I never thought it possible.

For me... running was something that I learned to like. It was tough at first, but once you get going and build endurance it's pretty rewarding.

Katie Jones said...

I read it yesterday from my phone, so I couldnt comment. I'm so happy you wrote this post! This is exactly what I needed to hear!

Kelly said...

I think it's important when you first start out to pay extra close attention to how much more you can run each time. When I first started out, I could barely run a mile if that. But each time I tried to run a little more and a little more. This helps build up your endurance slowly and seeing progress makes running rewarding.

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