Originally published in the spring of 2012
This past weekend I went to a friend’s wedding in South Carolina. I did my undergrad at the College of Charleston but moved to Chicago a year and a half ago for law school. I hadn’t seen some of my friends since then, so it was great to catch up!
Several of them have checked out my blog (gotta love Facebook) and asked me about how I started running because many of them wanted to get into it too! Trust me, I was more than happy to oblige!
A lot of people think, “I’m just not a runner,” or “I’m not made for running.” Well, you know what? That’s not true. Yes, some people can be more injury prone, or others just have the perfect biomechanics to run 3-hour marathons, but anyone CAN run. How do I know this? Because I was one of those “I’m not made for running” people for most of my life!
I’m always shocked nowadays when people say that I look like a runner (HA!) or that they don’t believe that I’ve not always been in-shape or athletic. It’s so odd to me because I didn’t get into running until I left for law school, only a YEAR AND A HALF AGO! And I didn’t even start taking running seriously until this past August! And guess what? I’ve run up to 13 miles and have my first half marathon race in a couple weeks!
When I was growing up, I was never necessarily overweight, but I was always bigger than my friends, and not very athletic. I played every sport because that’s just what my friends all did, and it was fun to play with them. However, I was AWFUL. Let’s just say I played basketball for 6 years and never scored once… never.
So how in the world did this un-athletic girl who’d never run more than 4 (PAINFUL) miles in her life get to running half marathons? It was pretty simple:
When I moved to Chicago and started law school, I was completely thrown out of my element. I decided I needed a goal outside of school to keep me sane, so I signed up for a 10K. 6.2 miles seemed unachievable to me, but I knew I had to try!
I used Hal Higdon’s 10 K training plan and got started. It was rough and very slow moving but, eventually, I managed to run those 6.2 miles and finished the race! I stopped running after that because those 6.2 miles were the hardest I’d ever run in my life. I decided I was just “not meant” to run that far.
A year later I started running again, just 3 miles as my max, but I realized how much I missed it and wanted to get back into running! I was at a barbeque and overheard a girl say she’d run 10 miles that morning.
My jaw fell to the floor. 10 miles!?!?! She was not what I would consider a “runner” and I couldn’t believe it! If someone average who was just like me could run that far, maybe I could!? I decided to sign up for the same 10 K that year, as well as a 10 miler in November.
Again, I started off slow, with 3 miles as my long run, then going up to 3.5 the next week, then 4 and so on. Eventually, I got to 6 miles before the 10K and felt awesome, way better than I had the year before! I realized that taking more time with building up my mileage really helped and adding in sprints and speed work on the treadmill helped with my pace!
I finished that 10K in 52:15. I was so proud!
(My cousin Allie and I before the race)
After that, I was hooked! I kept up my slow increase up until my 10 miler and rocked that too!
(My brother’s dog, Molly, and I after the race! She came to watch!)
And now here I am doing 12 and 13 mile long runs, gearing up for a half marathon race, and even registered for the Chicago Marathon!
If you want to get into running (don’t worry, not everyone needs to sign up for a marathon!) here are my tips:
Tips on How to Start Running:
- Start slowly with 1 mile, then add on each week or two weeks as you get comfortable with the distance.
- Walking is fine! If you need to take a quick walking break, then DO IT!
- Pick a race and register for motivation. Start with a fun 5K! Be sure to give yourself enough time to train.
- Run with a friend, having someone else to keep you accountable can keep you from giving up
- STRETCH. Stretching is so important to make sure that you keep yourself from getting any injuries!
- Strength train! Running uses a lot of muscles and to keep yourself from getting injured it’s important to strengthen those muscles! Add in 2 days of weights each week.
- Build in “pull back” weeks. Either in the middle of training or right after a race, take a break! Do some cross training, like spinning or aerobics class, to keep yourself from getting burnt out and sick of running.
Running for me is a time when I burn off excess energy and anxiety and I just relax and have time with my own thoughts. I also love the accomplished feeling I get after a run, no matter how rough it was!