Running: Just Start

{Samantha Roose}

I can’t believe that just 4 years ago I couldn’t even run once around the track (once around the track is about a quarter of a mile)!  Literally, I would barely make it all the way around the track.  More often than not I would finish my one arduous lap almost in tears and wheezing uncontrollably.  Now, I can run 5, 6, 10 miles on an ordinary day—without wheezing or crying!

I’m here to encourage you.  You might be in the same place I was four years ago.  Skipping the game of tag with your friends and siblings because…“I mean what’s the point, I’m the slowest any ways and I can’t ever tag anyone except the itty-bitty ones,” you’re thinking.  “So I’ll just sit and read or play on the swings while you run around.”  And, while you’re doing your own thing, subconsciously you’re wishing you could join the fun and not always be left behind or laughed at. 

Okay, tag still isn’t my favorite game in the world but it sure is nice to have the confidence and ability to run and NOT be left behind.  So, if you’re where I was, don’t be discouraged.  I’ve been there too.  Besides, there’s always a beginning.  It’s not like you were born walking and running anyways.  You can do it.  Start simple.

Begin by putting sneakers on and going outside.  Pick a target distance, about 2-3miles.    Hang in there.  I’m not going to ask you to run all 2 miles.  Start by running.  Go as far as you can without killing yourself.  Then walk.  Walk until you regain your breath and feel strong enough to run again.  Repeat the cycle until you complete the total distance.  (The distance of walking and running combined should equal you goal distance.  In other words, your walking distance counts toward your target distance).

After you’ve done that 3-5 times, make your running sections a little bit longer and/or a little bit faster.  Do that 3-5 times and then see if you can do the whole distance without walking once!  I bet you can.  

If you don’t have a trail nearby or a path that you can exercise on find a track.  Jog once around the track then walk once around the track.  Repeat until you’ve reached your target distance (about 2mi).  After you’ve done that 3-5 times, make your recovery walks shorter (about a half track).  If you’re ready for more, up the distance you run (1 ½ track jog, ½ track recovery walk).  Now that you’ve done that workout 3-5 times try to run the entire distance.  You’ll be surprised. 

If you need some motivation consider getting a friend to exercise with you or sign up for a race (I would recommend a 5k for starters, which is about 3mi).   Not only does a friend help hold you accountable, because someone’s waiting for you at the track or on the trail but talking to a friend distracts you from the discomfort and provides great relational time!  Signing up for a race makes sure you actually train. 
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