I found this article when trying to find something to blog about this week. I was thinking of how I feel as I begin from scratch to run again. The article is from Runner’s World How to Get Started as a Runner as I read it I thought about just posting the article because I felt it was a pretty good start, but then I noticed the year it was written 2010. I’m not saying a lot has changed since then, but I will say I’ve changed a lot since then!! 2010 was the year I began running. I tried to run off and on before that, but mostly I walked.
You see my mother died in 2002 from a complication to Breast Cancer, so I decided to do the Susan G Komen 3-Day walk. I did the first one in 2005, then 2006 and again in 2008. It was somewhere around the second one that I got the idea that if I can walk 20 miles in approximately 8 hours, that surely I could run 26.2 in under 6 hours. But at the time I was going through a lot personally and professionally, so I waited until 2010 to work with Team in Training to train for my first marathon – the Rock-n-Roll Phoenix.
I enjoyed training with Team-In-Training. I met some wonderful people and they were the ones that helped me just move. Run as far as you can then walk to get your breath back, then run again. This is very similar to what was recommended in the Runner’s World article.
…1: Two minutes running/four minutes walking
…2: Three minutes running/three minutes walking
…3: Four minutes running/two minutes walking
…4: Five minutes running/three minutes walking
…5: Seven minutes running/three minutes walking
…6: Eight minutes running/two minutes walking
…7: Nine minutes running/ one-minute walking
…8: Thirteen minutes running/two minutes walking
…9: Fourteen minutes running/ one-minute walking
…10: Run the whole time!
We would run and walk and do what we could. Each week we tried something new to help us on our journey; gu, water belts, water stops. We trained according to time, not distance, though we did know what distance we were supposed to run, it was more important to have the time on our feet. About halfway through the training, I got an opportunity for a new job across the country, but I was able to continue to train. Then one day we were running what was to be the longest run of the training. For us, it was about running for 3 hours, not 20 miles as many would see if you ever run a mileage program. I did a conservative run/walk and realized at 2-1/2 hours I was only at 10 miles. This meant that if I was running a full marathon I would have to run for another 2-1/2 or MORE!!! This is when I made the decision to run the RnR Phoenix as a 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles) and put my goal of running a full marathon on the back burner.
I am so thankful I did. I learned that training is more than just ‘time on your feet’. It’s fueling, hydration, patience, grit, but something many don’t realize the time for my body to adapt. Your muscles need about 3 months to adapt, your lungs take longer, closer to 6 months. After that you have the bones, it takes a full 12 months of running consistently 15-20 miles a week for your bones to regenerate and be stronger to handle the pressure.
As I start to get out there I need to remember this, however ever since that day in Phoenix, training for time has been a mental struggle. For me, training is easier with distance. When I started I ran .25 miles; from the entrance of my apartment complex to the first traffic light. I built slowing, daily. One traffic light at a time. When I struggle in races I run .3 miles and walk .2 – this is enough to get my wind back but not too much that I can’t get going again. And with each sequence, I have run a 1/2 mile – two sequences a mile. This is a great mental lift when you’re in a race and just trying to make it to the finish line.
The other thing I have to remember is why I run. I really love talking about running, helping others learn about running. I love the clarity of my mind after a run. The thoughts that usually start as “what am I doing” and gradually shift to “you can go a little farther” and finally “Wow I did it!“. I want to share this with other people that are just starting out. You know who you are; you say things like “I’m not a runner“, “I’m going to hold you back“, “I wish I could run but it hurts my feet (or knees, back or some other body part)“. These are the thoughts that every runner has when they start out, but eventually, we all learn the same thing. That these statements are lies.
Join me as I begin to get out there and prove these concepts wrong, one traffic light, or mailbox, or straight away on the track at a time. I will share what I’ve learned, and what I will continue to learn and research. We can do exercise challenges, and ‘Ask the Coach’ days, but most importantly we will have a safe community of like-minded people.