How I Became a “Runner”
So…I am just now starting to embrace the term “runner” when describing me. Growing up, I ran track, but I have never been considered an elite runner. I did, however, win a first place plaque at the age of 16 for my age group of 18 and under. Maybe I shouldn’t share that I won this because I was the only entry in that age group.
After high school, I was really hit or miss when it came to running. Basically, I would sign up for a 5K here and there and pray that I could run the whole thing. About 2-3 years ago, I decided that I wanted to be able to run a 5K without stopping so I downloaded the Couch to 5K app called C25K by Zen Labs Fitness and began that training. It was perfect for my busy lifestyle as it only had me running 3 times a week, which felt manageable. I then downloaded the Couch to 10K app called Couch to 10k Running Training by Zen Labs Fitness. The Couch to 10K app helped me push myself further by going a longer distance in a manageable manner. Both of these free apps will have you walking and running to build up your endurance.
In March 2016, Sincerely Ho-Jung and I prepared for a St. Patrick’s Day 5K by using the C25K app. We felt prepared and were able to run the entire race. Although we weren’t fast, we were thrilled to complete this race. From the 5K, we then went onto a 10-miler to help the Arts. Sincerely Amanda helped develop a plan for us by doing a walk/run model throughout the race. We ran 2.5 miles, walked 0.5 miles, ran 1 mile, and walked 0.5 miles. We then began running at mile 5, and we were planning on walking at mile 7.5. However, when I got there, I had a feeling that I could just run the rest of the mileage. It was shocking to me since I had never run 5 continuous miles in my life. When I finished, I felt so proud that I wanted more. It must have been the runner high that everyone always talks about. From there my newfound hobby of running began….
I decided that running would be the perfect exercise program for me because I could fit it in at different times of the day and didn’t need to drive anywhere. Since I was looking at longer runs, I needed a training calendar that would push me. I am not one to just get up and run. I needed motivation and someone telling me what to run. Sincerely Ho-Jung and Sincerely Amanda joined me in the search, and we started to Google different calendars. Eventually, we stumbled upon the Jeff Galloway training program, which can be found on the Disney site. This program is designed for busy people, which was perfect for us. During the week, there are only two 30-minute runs scheduled, and the longer runs are scheduled on the weekend. This was perfect since we are busy with work and different activities throughout the week. In addition, there are different calendars for the various level of runner and for various distances (10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon). We immediately downloaded the Half Marathon PDF for the runners who wanted to finish upright. That was our goal…finish upright!
If we were going to do this, we needed something to work toward. I went to Google again and searched “fun half marathons” and found the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Philly which advertised the flat course. We were sold! What is great about the Jeff Galloway training is that you can run the whole distance, or you can do intervals of running and walking. We did use the interval method as we approached the very long runs and were stunned to find out that our time did improve. Here is a sample of what he suggests:
9 min/mi: run 4 minute/walk 1 minute (4/1)
10 min/mi: 3/1
11 min/mi: 2:30/1
12 min/mi: 2/1
13 min/mi: 1/1
14 min/mi: 30 seconds/30 seconds
15 min/mi: run 30 seconds/walk 45 seconds, or run 20 seconds/walk 40 seconds
16 min/mi: run 20 seconds/walk 40 seconds
17 min/mi: run 15 seconds/walk 45 seconds
This training calendar took 3 girls who had only completed 5Ks (and sometimes barely completed them) to completely running a half marathon in September 2016. We definitely felt the “runner high” and wanted more. Since we had worked so hard, Sincerely Ho-Jung and I decided it was time to sign up for a Disney race. The downside was that we looked to sign up too late, and the only thing left was the full marathon. In our runner high mode, we thought, “Let’s Go for It!” Yes, we realized later that we were nuts! However, we moved onto Jeff Galloway’s full marathon training program for finishing standing upright and ran mileage that we never dreamed of doing! We completed our first marathon in January 2017. We are still in shock, but we can now say that we did it.
Once I was home from the marathon, I didn’t want to lose all of the endurance I had built. It is so easy for me to lose everything within a few weeks but takes months to build it up. Since Jeff Galloway’s calendar is a motivator to me, I printed a new calendar, updated it, and hung it on the refrigerator. By hanging it there, I have the daily reminder and love crossing off the runs as I do them. Having a few races planned helps keep me going, but it is the calendar that pushes me to keep it up. I am so happy to say that I am still running, and I am taking this time for me. Do I sometimes miss a run? Yes! However, I push myself to make sure I complete my two 30-minute runs and my other runs even if it is over the weekend rather than the days listed on the calendar.
If I can do this, I promise you that you can too! I was never a distance runner, and I never understood how people did it. However, I needed something to make me stay on track for being healthy! There are days that I am running my 30-minute run at 5:30 AM and other days that I am running it at 10 PM. Regardless, it is time for me. During the cold months or the extreme hot days, I run on the treadmill. I have recorded many tv shows so I can be entertained while I run. It is a perfect way for me to see my favorite shows and not get bored on the treadmill.
Along the way, I have had a great support team. My family supports me at the various races and during my long runs on the weekends, and I have started running with a great group of women including the other Sincerely Us ladies. Sincerely Megan joined in on our fun and began running with us on our long runs. After that training, she also ran a half marathon and convinced Sincerely Amanda to run her second half marathon. I have found that runners are always supportive of each other and will boost you up on those off days, which definitely occur. Some may argue that Sincerely Us may not have come to fruition had it not been for all of our running.
Another upside is cool gear! To be out in the elements, you need swag, and I am always up for shopping. Gear that I can’t live without are good running clothes, FlipBelt, FlipBelt Water Bottle, Arm Warmers perfect for 3 seasons, socks by Feetures, and more. To check out more information on some of my gear, click here for a previous post, “It’s Spring…Bundle Up”!
Even if running isn’t for you, the training calendars can be used to set walking goals! As you exercise, always remember to listen to your body. Choose a program that is right for you, and it’s ok to modify a workout if it isn’t working. Check out the different calendars!
Feel free to share something that motivates you to exercise.