Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How to Become a Runner...

This post could be titled "How to Become a Runner if You Hate to Run" or "How to Become a Runner After You Just Had a Baby" or "How to Become a Runner Even if You're Not Remotely Athletic" or "How to Slowly Become a Runner" or "How to Become a Runner at 30" (ack).

Or, judging from the picture below, this post could simply be called "Cankles".  

For the record, this is a "before" shot

The point is, I decided last summer that I was going to become a runner.  After a long, pregnant winter I was excited to be able to get outside and get moving.  I tried to get into running when I lived in Seattle (too damn hilly), but since then the only running I'd been doing was to catch the subway (or the ice cream truck).  While on my extended maternity leave, I found myself with long stretches of time and was getting antsy just sitting around the house.  Also, it seemed like everybody was Instagramming their #morningrun and boy, did they #love #running.  Fine.  I was intrigued.

I knew I had to start slow.  I downloaded a Couch to 5k app on my phone (via RunDouble) and packed up Will the Baby in the stroller.  Couch to 5k is a 9 week program that mixes intervals of walking and running to build up your endurance to eventually running 5 kilometers.  The RunDouble app told me when to walk vs. when to run, but also measured how far I ran each time, how quickly I ran each time, and then politely congratulated me once I finished.

To keep myself on track, I signed up for a 5k in October.  I felt like such a little runner with my bib and my official race T shirt.  Jesse took pictures of me actually running in the race, but I accidentally put his cell phone through the wash last week sooooooooooooo here's a picture he took with my phone after the race.  I was giving my best "triumphant athlete" look here.  I'm new to being sporty.  Give me a break.

I've built up from the 5k to about 5 miles now.  I've found I really like running.  I like listening to Pandora and TED Talks and Howard Stern while huffing and puffing down my country roads.  I like strapping Will the Baby into our BOB jogging stroller when the weather permits (right now, it does not permit one bit but I'm dreaming of warmer days).  I like going out on my own after a long day of conference calls and screen time.  I like getting home from runs and talking Jesse's ear off about how sporty I feel.

In this season of resolutions and positive changes, I'm looking to keep up the running in 2014 and beyond.  I'm looking for a few local 10k races to run before signing up for a half marathon (one of my best friends, a real-deal-super-fast-runs-every-morning runner, has agreed to slow to my pace for a half marathon together).

Any tips for newbie runners?  Anybody else have luck with the Couch to 5k?  Anybody want to run a half marathon with us this summer?  Tell me your secrets, runners!


  1. OMG I love it!! For those out there that are doubtful, I too was a never ever am I ever ever going to run kind of person. My advice: "wun" don't "run" at first. Which basically means run very slowly and comfortably and build yourself over time. That's what my friend Katie and I did and I was running 5 miles in no time, albeit very slowly. Also, having a running partner makes all the difference in the world. Just make sure your paces are similar or you might punch them in the face.

  2. I love this!! I also eased into running with a program a lot like Couch to 5k, and whenever I fall off the running wagon I get back into it with the same program. Right now I'm in the middle of it. It's never as hard as that first time, though. I like your ideas for what to listen to...I'm going to listen to Howard next time. :)

    1. Easing in is definitely the way to go - if I had tried to go out and run 3 miles in July, however slowly, I would have quit about 10 steps in. Even when I have taken a week or two off, I start up again slowly.

      PS - didn't realize you had a blog! Off to check out some book ideas (for no good reason, it's been a while since I've had a good one)!

  3. wrote a long comment before, and it somehow didn't show up, so sorry if there is a repeat of this somewhere. Anyway, I don't know you, but I follow your blog and really enjoy it (my husband and Jaisa used to work for the same company). I used to be a TOTAL "non-runner"; I could barely run half a mile. When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I decided I was going to run a half marathon in order to lose the baby weight. So, I signed up for the Chicago Half Marathon (which is in September) when I was 9 months pregnant in February. I was scared to death that I would get picked up by the bus (a bus that picks up people at the end who can't keep the minimum pace), so I trained my butt off. I not only finished the half, but did it in a respectable time. I since have completed many organized races, including the Chicago Marathon this past year, which is something I could NEVER have imagined and could or would do. My amateur advice is to keep at it, run very slowly, get some great music, never make any decisions about your run in the first mile or while going up hill (I learned this from a running magazine and it helps a lot) and don't let a bad running day discourage you. Oh and make sure you follow a training program and stick to it. For my half marathons a followed Hal Higdon's novice half marathon program and for my full, I joined a training group and my local Fleet Feet. Good luck and have fun! I know love running (most of the time)!

    1. Hi Kelly - I used to work with Paul, too!

      Good inspiration! Love the "don't make any decisions about your run" advice... I'm pretty quick to call it quits/get lazy/get stressed in not-so-ideal running conditions. I will also check out the Hal Higdon. Thank you!

  4. Yay go you!!! I am so excited for you!!! Can't wait to hear about your 10k, you can do it!!! If you are doing 5 miles, 6.2 will be a breeze. I say sign up for a half! It's a great distance and an AMAZING accomplishment!!


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