So You Want To Be A Runner

I was checking my notifications the other day and realized someone had tagged me in their friends post. This person was looking for advice on starting to run, ideally when the weather was warmer and how did they start?

Ok, first of all, running is a pretty natural thing. Our bodies are designed for it and most are capable of doing it.

Most don’t do it because well let’s be honest, it’s hard.  I was thinking on a run the other day the only way to get better or stronger at it is to constantly push myself out of my comfort zone.

I can run decently fast ( I think) for a middle aged woman tipping into her senior discount years. Speed is relevant depending on the individual and certainly not a factor to being a good runner. I just like being able to do it. I know when I get out of my comfort zone I’m capable of delivering up faster speeds…

 

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Somehow my running evolved into doing a run and cycle event with my first duathlon last Nov.

 

 

Faster speeds though are hard, require a lot more effort than an easy run, and can make me feel powerful and helpless all at once.

So that being said, anyone can run if they don’t have some health limitation ( and thinking it’s hard doesn’t count)

The next thing. I’m not an expert, ok?

I’m not some running coach or a person who’s run their entire life. ( I was in my late 40’s when I got started) I never, ever would’ve thought I’d become a runner. Ever.

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And then… all the sudden…. I’m finishing a 50K….  am I a runner now??

 

 

I do think now in terms of miles and distance. I think that a mile driving or on a treadmill is…. for….ever….but a mile on foot can go by rather quickly. I can grumble driving behind a slow person that I could run there faster… yeah….

I guess I’m a runner.

I believe anyone can go run without having to focus on all the technical stuff, unless you have big goals and want to keep improving your game.

Then we need to talk about intervals, speed training, long runs, negative splits and pacing etc….

Well how do I get started?

Listen, you don’t need a lot of fancy gear to run but you do need some solid good shoes under you.

** hubby does delight in reminding me how my low maintenance, not expensive athletic shenanigans have changed** haha the more you get into it, the more cool stuff you find to make it fun…

I spend more money on my running shoes than anything that goes on my feet. Other than my cycling shoes but thankfully those last longer since they aren’t taking a pounding.

Go to a sports store and try several on. Don’t drag out shoes you’ve had 5 years… please don’t.

And don’t buy the prettiest ones. I’m right there with you on liking those but you really need to go for what fits and supports you best and then go for your color.

Once you get set with your shoes, you can pretty much wear what you’re most comfortable in.  Again, the more time you spend doing it, the more you’ll figure out how you’re most comfortable doing it.  What you choose to run in will be determined by your budget, how much you like to be covered, and how you can stay cool/warm enough doing it.

I’ve actually learned to shop discount type stores and have found name brand sports bras and the boy shorts I prefer to run in at a fraction of the cost as the sports store sells them.

The weather, to run or not to run

 

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Enjoying a rare sunny warm run in Feb.

 

 

When I first started off with my running adventures I was what I now think of as a “fair weather” runner. If the weather was the slightest bit not good, I stayed in for another type of workout.

Funny thing over these years how that has changed. I’ve trained in everything from pouring rain, to freezing cold with wind slicing through me. Maybe I am crazy.. or ridiculously disciplined.. there could be a fine line there..

If I have an event I’m training for my take is, I have no idea what the weather will be like on race day. If I train in it all, then I’m better prepared for whatever it is.

I weirdly now like being out when the weather is a bit rough and less than perfect. But that’s me… were talking about you…

This will all come down to what you want to do, your commitment, and if it’s a matter of staying in for safety ( I won’t run in fog, lightning or icy roads there is to much risk)

If it’s cold, layer up accordingly but keep in mind running warms you up fast! I know once I hit my first mile all engines are go and I am often tossing something in the trees till I come back by to claim it. I just don’t run as well being to warm, and you probably won’t either.

You will have to determine how much layering you need to stay comfortable.

Same with hot weather, getting over heated or having soggy clothes hanging off of your body isn’t fun ( hello dri-wick fabric) how much you run in to stay cool will be determined by your personal level of modesty and what you can move best in. I spend most of my time in boy shorts and a sports bra and I’m comfortable in that.

Hitting the road

Assuming you’ve not run before, or haven’t run in a long time, I’m going to suggest you start the way I basically fell into running…

the walk/run method. It’s a great way to practice running yet allowing your body to adapt to the rigors that running places on it. It can also protect you from injury when you do to much to soon.

You start off with small increments of  walking,  and running. If you’ve never run before those running seconds might seem like eternity to you, trust me, the wheels won’t fall off, hold on.

Using a walk/ run method allows you to gradually increase your running time and ease into your mileage.

Start with this plan to get you going

So that’s about it peeps. If you want to run, it’s easy to get started. You just have to get your mind in gear to make it happen, and hey, don’t forget to go get those cool new running shoes!

Do you run? What do you enjoy most about it?  Do you want to but haven’t known how to get started?

 

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The Thing That Scares You

“Fear will either create you or destroy you.”

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I hadn’t been in long from my morning workout, recovery drink in hand, when I finally landed in a chair and searched up the race I had started training for.

I ran my hand down my legs which were still gritty and grimy from time out on the road and covered in a heavy dose of dried salt …a shower would come soon but first…

My  running and cycling that morning had been a part of my training for a local duathlon… my first duathlon.

Of course the fact it was listed as “the toughest in the state” or that it was the “championship race” for this  type of event somehow hadn’t scared me off yet.

The website boldly unfolded in front of me… pictures popped  up of familiar scenery I was used to seeing out on my runs or cycling adventures.

I felt the excitement stir in me of taking on something new and challenging.

It was immediately followed by tears as I watched young, fast athletes speeding by.

Tears.

What was I thinking?? I’m skating into territory I have no experience in nor am I one of these young trained triathletes. I’ve never, ever done an event like this. I’m crazy.

For the love of chocolate, I’m an ordinary middle aged Mom/grandmother, what I am thinking??

This course is tough. I have a healthy dose of respect/fear for it.

Not in a weird way, but just a respect knowing that it will be by far, the hardest athletic challenge I’ve gone through.

If I’m honest with you, as I was myself, there was that component of feeling scared.

But…why?

What was scaring me? What did I feel afraid of?

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Ok, yes I understood it would be crazy hard. So maybe there was feeling scared of what if’s…

What if I couldn’t do it? What if I failed? What if I was last? Or worse, didn’t finish?

What. If.

I sat there comparing myself to younger athletes instead of giving myself credit for all I could do and was very capable of doing. I sat there forgetting my own strength and power that I had earned through hours and hours of training.

I lost sight of what I preach to everyone else… you are your competition. You only need to focus on your times, your speeds, your abilities.

No one else’s matter.

Unless you’re an elite. Then it matters very much hahaha 😛

I’ve never been concerned about anyone else’s times or paces. I don’t mentally pit myself against others and decide I’m lacking in some way so this was a foreign feeling to me.

I wiped my face which felt as gritty from dried sweat as my legs did… that shower would need to be soon….

I reminded myself that I was my only competition and if I never started, and never did it, and let some vague fear scare me off I’d never know what new levels I could take myself to.

I’ve had moments in the past as I considered the marathon, and then the 50K. If those don’t raise a tiny bit of feeling scared in you, I don’t know what will.

Thing is, I never, ever allowed myself to camp in the fear zone. I stomped it down, trained, and did it.

So here I am. Registration is now open and I’ve made the official commitment.. you know…. coughing up the money 😉

I know it will be hard but I’m looking forward to seeing how I can do with this. I’ve taken time to remember, I haven’t come out of an athletic back round but only started when I was in my mid 40’s and consider all I’ve been privileged to do.

Doing it is the thing. No matter what, when I cross that finish line, I will win.

I win because I stomped down fears and feelings of inadequacy and I will have accomplished something I’ve never done and I will be stronger for it.

It beats sitting around wondering if I COULD do it and missing out on all I learn in the process. Rest assured, you will be getting updates on my training in the upcoming months. Race day is Nov. 19.

So I’ll leave you with this…

Do you let fears hamper you from pursuing something bigger than you? Have you allowed them to and not gone after something you wanted?

Or… have you stomped down fears and chased something down you wanted? How did you feel?

What did you do to remind yourself you could do it? How did you overcome it?

Tell me I’m not the only one who’s encountered this 😉

“Every single one of us possesses the strength to attempt something he isn’t sure he can accomplish.” ~ Scott Jurek

 

Olympics And The Average Athletes

train like an athlete

 

I’m supposed to be writing tonight… but I’m kinda distracted. Why you may ask?

The Olympics are on. This is an event that I don’t care where you are in the world, you’re represented at.

We’re only a couple days in and things are already pretty exciting.

This is a disclaimer… I’m fairly sure the Olympic games will earn more space here in my blog before all is said and done.

First, the amazing and cool thing of having countries from all over the world gathered together is such a beautiful, cultural whirlpool to me. There is such beauty and diversity of the human race.

But the thing that fascinates me the most?

Why, the athletes of course. The best of the best in the world. Bodies that are well toned muscled machines from the labor of their sport.  Years, days, and hours of training and a sacrifice that few will ever understand.

It has taken a huge investment in their lives for them to stand in a starting position at the Olympics.

I’m always a bit in awe when I see these athletes and what they are capable of.

For instance, I happened to turn it on today during the ladies cycling event ( well, you know I was glued to watching it 😉

First, the terrain. The were riding up a mountain with more twists and turns than you could count. I’d love to know what the ascent was but they powered it like they were on flat roads, making it look almost effortless although I knew it was far from that.

Then, the descent was fast and “treacherous” as the announcers kept saying. The cyclists could hit speeds of 45-50 miles an hour on twisting roads back down the mountain.

One cyclist lost control and went flying. Although injured, she was ok.

USA held the lead until the final 200 yards when the pack of three behind her made a swift over throw and she finished fourth.

I literally cried for her. The finish line in sight. She had held the lead almost the entire race and then so close, to not even place for a medal.

I could not imagine what that felt like. Heart crushing comes to mind.

And there were lots of other exciting events going on too… but that’s not what I’m focusing on tonight.

As awesome as these events are there’s one thing it does for me.

It motivates me, challenges me and makes me wanna push myself more.

No, I will never be an Olympic athlete, nothing remotely close.

But I am an athlete and I fully understand they haven’t gotten to where they are without training for it.

They get up every day and make choices to train their body for the sports they do. They eat well. They rest. They train hard. They live the life with a focus on what they do.

I have the same opportunities to train myself for the sports I enjoy and to improve in them.

I am only in a competition with myself. To get faster. Stronger. More fit. To be better at it than yesterday.

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This reminds me 😉

 

 

Maybe you too are an “average” athlete out there working it every day.  Maybe you have bigger goals. Maybe you have smaller ones. Many of us have that “thing” in our lives that we are working towards.

For me, well ha, I’ve got several ideas on a short and long term goal list.

I want to get over this injury so I can run again. That hinders me from an active pursuit of a duathlon. I want to continue to build my miles cycling pushing my speed and building a lot more endurance. I’m strong on hills but want to build that strength even more. I will continue to do strength training to work my body overall to keep it strong for the sports I pursue.

After watching such amazing swimmers during the Olympics it makes me want to work on that skill in my athletic life.  Triathlon someday? Maybe. I have some friends nudging me that way.

And overall, I want to represent the ordinary “middle aged” person who can be athletic and strong. (although my husband always informs me I’m not “ordinary” 😉

If you want to do something, you can.

Ah, but that thought skates into mental toughness, a strong will, and lots of determination that are best saved for another post.

Tell me… are you an “average” athlete? Perhaps you’re even better than that. Tell me about your sport and why you push yourself to be better.

So I May Be A Cyclist

How did it happen?  How did I go from nothing… to walking… to lifting some weights and other heavy objects… to running… and then landing on a bike? And then… alternating doing it all?

Like… one sport isn’t enough ??

Evidently not.

I may be a bit of an overachiever. Or at least I have some bigger aspirations to see myself do more than I may have originally thought.

Ok.. so the cycling thing.

I’ve kinda just fallen into it almost by default. I’ve shared before I had gotten a cheapy mountain bike to use for cross training on days I might not run.

There were weeks the bike sat doing nothing. I was happy in my little running world.

Then I’d zip off for 7-10 miles and that would be that.

Until… a stupid injury entered the picture and sidelined the running ( it is still there… cycling doesn’t seem to make it any worse or hurt me… running stirs it up again…sooo… yeah enough on that nagging topic)

So the injury put me on the bike more. It gave me freedom, the miles I craved, the ability to still do some endurance work and more speed than my legs on land could generate.

Fast forward through two cheap bikes till I got my first “real” road bike 2 months ago.

She’s so pretty and we’ve become amazing friends.

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Hello new Cannondale

 

Like all new relationships, we took some time to get to know one another. So for a week I kept mileage short and just got the overall feel of my new wheels under me.

After that, the fun and games began.

Miles started getting longer. I started to take bigger hills. Pushing myself faster. Loving the challenges of working hard. Really loving flying off hills pushing the speed limit 😉

Sweat flying, heart beating strong, legs working… the thrill of feeling my body respond to what I’m doing.. watching the world fly by… powered by only… by.. me.

I’m learning all the strength I’ve built on the road running and all the indoor strength training is having big payoffs on the bike. I think with more training I’m going to be kind of beast like with this cycling thing.

Once you get the bike.. and then the bug gets you… you start doing stuff like this….

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You start buying gear……

 

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And doing crazy things like this….

 

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and this…..     

 

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Sometimes you feel like this after…               

 

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Or look like this….

 

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and at the end, you learn to appreciate Gatorade, even if I do think it still tastes like sweat.
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Then at the end…. you get to see your accomplishments 🙂

 

 

So yeah, I’m not sure, but I think the cycling bug has bitten me and I can hardly wait to see where my lovely new Cannondale and I will go together .

Tell me… is there a sport or activity you are passionate about ?