For years I ran for calorie burn. I ran so I could binge and not gain weight. I ran to punish myself for the binge. I ran because others didn’t. I ran so I could say, “I’m a runner”. Essentially, I ran for all the wrong reasons.
And then, after years of a love/hate relationship with running, I did this thing called “Marathon Training”, and my perspective changed. I couldn’t focus on weight loss during those months of training because when I under ate, I couldn’t run. I was running for a non-diet mentality goal. Unfortunately, the Dallas Marathon was cancelled that year due to an ice storm. All that work and we didn’t get to run the marathon. Such a disappointment. Yes, good did come from it, but one of the negatives was that it killed my desire to run. It was like running on the trails reminded me of the… dare I say it… grief.
I’ve attempted to resume running several times since, but have always quit before the beginner aches and pains stop. I’ve had excuses like adrenal fatigue (valid), illness, injury… and just plain “I can’t want to”.
I miss it though.
I miss the beauty of a trail run no matter the weather and the surprise wildlife sightings. I miss the sunrises and waving “hello” to fellow trail patrons. I miss the runs where my cadence falls in a natural rhythm and it feels effortless. I miss the quiet. I miss the finish lines. I miss that point where the daily aches subside and strength replaces them. I miss crying half-way through a run I didn’t feel like doing… and finishing it anyway. I miss the confidence and the added energy. I miss stretching at the end of a long run. I miss dirty running shoes and clothes soaking in “sport wash” to get the smell out. I miss the mental clarity. I miss working toward a fitness goal with the husband.
Yeah, I miss it. That last one especially.
So why am I not running? Because those weeks and months that it takes to build a base are not fun. There are more bad days than good in the beginning. Knees hurt, clothes rub, cadence is off, extra pounds jiggle, lungs burn… everything seems to scream “STOP!” It doesn’t take much to convince you to skip a run during this phase. Of course, growing the habit that keeps you running is made all the more difficult by these things… and we all know starting a habit is already harder than maintaining one.
I think I’m ready though because now I see I’ve been allowing a negative mind to rule in this area. I believe renewing my mind will be pivotal in this process. I know my paces are going to look grandma slow and I must be ok with this. I know it will take time to build the base and I must be patient. I know this means starting with a really basic training plan to, hopefully, make this transition period as painless as possible. Ok, maybe “painless” isn’t realistic. How about less pain.
The husband and I wrote out an 8 week plan today to gradually get us running 30 consecutive minutes 4 days a week. Yes, we could get up to 30 minutes in less than 8 weeks, but we’ve decided that we’ll treat ourselves like absolute beginners. We want running to be as enjoyable as possible and, well, debilitating soreness doesn’t have the appeal it did 20 years ago. If we learned anything from the Hanson Method, it was to allow the process, be patient, and easy runs should be easy. We’re not trying to impress anyone here.
At the end of the 8 weeks, we intend to sign up for a 5K. Nope, it’s not a marathon, but again, we’re treating ourselves like beginners. We want to get back in touch with the reasons we like to run… and that’s all.
I hope to post my progress through the plan on Sundays. I’ll be keeping track of overall distance and pace, as well as making notes about stretching, soreness, renewing the mind etc. I hope this will help others who want to begin running. So, keep an eye out next Sunday for the first week of training.