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Guest Post–I Became a Runner, So Can You

12/02/2011

**I’m chaperoning four 10 year olds at the Boston Science museum today – pray for me please.

I invited Mindy to give y’all a great post.  Enjoy her because she’s so sweet.**

Hey y’all! My name is Mindy and I write over at justaonegirlrevolution.

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I’m 27 and live in the fabulous city of Grand Rapids, MI. I’ve lost about 75 pounds and I’m slowly creeping towards my goal of 100!

I’m a runner. I can’t help but laugh a bit when I say that. 060-1See, if you had known me just a few years ago, you’d see the humor in that. I hated running with the deepest fiber of my being. I would run if I were being chased or perhaps after an ice cream truck. (Note I never actually ran after an ice cream truck…).

But, one day I got it in my head I wanted to do a 5k. I have no idea how that idea got there and I resisted it for a long time. I didn’t run. I didn’t want to run. But, the 5k thing stuck in there for a while. On October 17, 2007, I did just that and finished in 42:20. And with that, the running bug got in me. This year, I’m already registered for a handful of 5ks, a couple 10ks, a half marathon, and a full marathon.clip_image001

So, how does one go from a self-proclaimed running hater to registering for a marathon? I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but here’s what helped me along the way.

shoes.

Get fitted for shoes that work for your feet. Don’t start out how I did and find the cute shoes. If your city has a running/athletic store, go talk to the staff and have them help you pick out the right fit. For awhile, I was running in the cute pink Nike’s I had picked out on my own. After awhile though, my feet would be killing me by the end of a run and blisters were a common problem. Once I got shoes that worked for my feet and how I run, it made a world of difference!

start slow.

If all you can run the first time out is to the end of the block…that’s awesome! Seriously! I know it doesn’t seem like much, but every runner has to start somewhere! There are a lot of great beginner training plans out there, but I would highly recommend Couch to 5K. It’s a nine week program that starts you out doing more walking than running, but by the end, you’ll be able to run a 5k (3.1 miles)! Don’t feel like you have to move from one week to the next all the time. If you need to repeat a week, do it!

sign up.

Find a race that’s a few months out (3 or so) and register! I find that when I have races on the horizon, it keeps me motivated to keep training and working towards that goal. It will give you something to work for with a more specific timeline. Once race day comes, push yourself, but know it’s okay if you need to walk for a bit! I’ve got a few races under my belt and I’ve walked at least once in every race! For your first time out, it’s about reaching the finish line, not the amount of time it takes you to get there.

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stretch and cross train.

Stretch, stretch, and stretch again! I cannot emphasize this one enough! You’ll be using your body and your muscles in a way that you may never have before. Take the time to stretch well after every single run. Your body will thank you, trust me! Also, incorporate other physical activity. I adore yoga (again, stretching!) but am a big fan of Zumba, as well! I try to workout in some form 5 or 6 days a week, but if all of those days are running, it’s far too hard on my body. Not only that, but I get bored! Yoga and Zumba give me something else to look forward to, use some different muscles, and works me in a way that running can’t. Plus, they’re fun!

schedule.

If exercise is on my calendar, it’s harder for me to not do it. I have a training plan that I follow, but every couple weeks, I put my workouts on my Google calendar. Life does come up and I allow myself flexibility when I need to, but know it’s there makes it so much harder for me to ignore!

These are just a few of the things that worked for me as I started my journey into running. It is not an easy thing to do, but it’s completely worth it! I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I finish and there is not much better than crossing a finish line at a race! Tell family and friends that you know will be an encouragement about your new venture and ask for their support. Maybe some of them will run with you!

Thanks, Cynthia, for having me share a bit of my passion for running with your readers!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 13/02/2011 12:48 AM

    You go girl.

    Starting slow and signing up are two of the best (and most succinct) pieces of advice you can give wanna-be runners.

    So many people peter out weeks into a running regime because they go at it full-steam ahead. Starting slow might seem boring at first, or not challenging enough, but it’s what will carry you though for the long haul. If you’re not an exercise fanatic, chances are a new workout routine will be painful at first. You might as well go at it slow and steady at first, otherwise you’ll risk burning out before you’ve made major progress.

    And yes –– sign up for something. A marathon. A triathlon. A three-day breast cancer walk. SOMETHING. It’s the dangling-carrot effect. The great endgame. 🙂

    Congrats on the weight loss, Mindy. You should be super proud. You look great!

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