How To Become a Runner Who Likes To Run

like-to-runChrissy is a native New Yorker presently living in Texas. At The New Me she blogs about her life (being a librarian, being in love and walking her dog), her obsessions (vegan cooking, photography, and running) and her dreams (marathons and best-selling novels, naturally).

In the second grade, I was placed in Remedial Gym. How does a person get placed in Remedial Gym? In my case, I was a stubborn seven year old who did one sit-up and stopped, who refused to even attempt a pull-up, and who sat in the grass, looking for four-leaf clovers, while the rest of my class ran a mile around the track. Needless to say, I scored low enough on the physical fitness test to warrant remediation. (On the bright side, I positively excelled at Remedial Gym.)

Somehow, that stubborn seven-year-old grew up to be a goal-oriented twenty-six-year-old, who recently decided to train for a marathon. Oh, if my Remedial Gym teacher could see me now! These days, I love running. I love waking up at 5:30 in the morning three days a week and hitting the trail. I love the feeling I get when I’ve finished a runย when my face is pink and my heart feels like it’s going to burst out of my chest. I love the way running has strengthened my body and quieted my mind.

Running has made me better in a lot of ways – I’m healthier (can’t run without proper nutrition), I sleep better (running will wear you out), I drink less (have you ever run with a hangover? Not recommended) and I’ve found that the discipline of running has translated to other aspects of my life. Writing, reading, my job – the sluggish manner in which I once approached the challenges of my life has faded away, replaced by the drive of an ambitious woman with a voracious appetite for adventure and knowledge, fueled by powerful legs and a whole lotta carbs.

I’m not going to lie. This whole running thing hasn’t been easy and it’s taken me a year and a half to get to where I am. I’d never been a runner before, had never once, in my whole life, run a full mile. And yet, in January of 2008, I decided it was time to try something new. Here’s how I went from jogging ten feet at a time to training for an upcoming marathon in fourteen not-so-simple steps.

1. First, I convinced several of my girlfriends to train for a 5K with me. We started a blog where we posted our runs, and we met up once or twice a week for group workouts.

2. The Google led me to a running plan that seemed do-able – it was called the Couch to 5K plan, which was right up my alley. The first week, you jog for 60 seconds and alternate that with 90 seconds of walking. Piece of cake!

3. That cake did not last long. By the fifth week we were expected to jog a full two miles! It was painful, but it got easier over time.

4. In March of 2008, I ran my first 5K in exactly 34 minutes. I was high for days!

5. Then I didn’t really run at all for about four months. I had completed my goal and considered myself done.

6. I missed running. I missed the little victories, like improving my speed or adding another half a mile to my run. I missed the routine of putting on my sneakers and being outside on the trail. I missed the muscles in my legs. I decided to start running again.

7. Four months off is a long time. It was even harder than I remembered, and I nearly threw in the towel for good.

8. But instead I pushed on. My boyfriend started running with me, which was challenging – he’s very fast with enviable endurance. I almost quit again, but then I noticed that I was getting faster, running farther.

9. I joined a great website, dailymile.com. I started logging each run and being able to see my improvement while connecting with a community of supportive athletes, was what I needed to break through my wall.

10. The first time I ran four miles, I was so proud I almost cried in the middle of the gym.

11. The first time I ran five miles (about three weeks later) I felt like I’d won a gold medal in the Olympics.

12. I started doing short runs during the week, and long, slow runs on Sundays. The long runs were actually relaxing, which was a pleasant surprise.

13. In April of 2009, I ran my second 5K – 25 minutes and 22 seconds. My calves were sore for the following three days.

14. On May 1st, I begin training for my first marathon. I have a training plan, I have a love for the sport of running, and I have confidence. I’ll be sure to let y’all know how it all turns out.

These are the steps that worked for me, and I’m not done running yet. I’ve got a lot of miles in front of me and I’m honestly looking forward to them. If you’ve ever thought of running, the only thing I can tell you for sure is to begin.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to run a mile, or whether you come in last place in your first race. The real challenge is getting out there and doing it on a regular basis – once you get that part down, the rest will follow.

Good luck, and I’ll see you at the starting line!

19 Comments

Sherin

Very inspirational. I always try to make myself run 2ce a week, but manage at about once a month. I’m definitely going to try to run more.

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Marie

I ran 5 miles for the first time Saturday and almost cried at the gym too. It was such a great feeling!

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purplecat

I just finished my run for the day.I try to make it a thrice a week affair. Anyway, maybe you can make your run more fun by just running and running until you simply can’t go on anymore. You’ll be surprised how much further you can go. Good luck and keep running!

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Chrissy

Thanks, y’all! I appreciate the kind words. And thanks to Sarah for lending me a little space and time with her great readers! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Brooke

Running is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself!! Good luck with your marathon training, Chrissy! What marathon are you doing?

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Chrissy

I’m planning to run the Austin Marathon on February 14, 2010! Plenty of time to train. Thanks for asking.

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Anonymous

If you guys don’t know…Chrissy is the shit.

That’s all I know to say.

xxoo,
Bobbie ๐Ÿ™‚

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daddylikeyblog

This is a wonderful post that I’m totally going to bookmark and refer back to often! The timing couldn’t be better, as I just finished my first 5K on my birthday this past weekend, and also have “Pretending to like running” as the one and only item in the “Activities” section of my facebook page.

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Darcie

after totally feeling bad about my wandering fitness goals, this was a nice surprise read. it’s inspirational for sure. i hate running, i hate the thought of running, but i desperately desire to be in excellent runner’s shape. i need less ‘couch to 5k’ and more ‘hates running to running!! YAY FOR ME!’ haha. ๐Ÿ™‚

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George

Once you’ve started running, treat yourself with a pair of shoes from one of those stores that analyzes your running gait. It makes a huge difference.

Me, I got to about the point you’re at, and ramped things up to quickly and my knees hate me. My advice – take it slow, and don’t ever take large leaps. After a couple of years I discovered swimming (much easier on my knees) and am in the same place again. But yes, it’s a wonderful thing and improves your life!

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Lana

Apparently, George and I approached running in the same “all or nothing” camp. My knees hated me as well, for the better part of a year, after my first half marathon.

Too much too soon.

Take it slow, and never add more than 10% of your current distance in a week. That, and “have fun!”, is the only running advice you’ll need.

Good job Chrissy, and here’s some motivation for all would-be runners out there.

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Chrissy

Just wanted to come back and thank everyone for the comments! Yes and Yes is a great blog with a ton of great readers, and I’m so glad Sarah gave me a chance to share something with y’all. xoxo!

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George

Take it slow, and never add more than 10% of your current distance in a week. That, and “have fun!”, is the only running advice you’ll need.It can be a great way to feel achievement even at the lower end. If you ran 270 yards per-day one week, and then 300 the next, and 330 the week after, you’re gradually building up a decent increase, and pushing through the miles. I seriously started by running 50 metres… (I live in a metric country) and then got addicted and ran too much. But good advice all the same!

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Mary T

What a great post, Chrissy! I have been so proud to witness (and join in sometimes) on a few of these steps, but I never realized what an inspiration it all added up to until I read your post. You’ve re-inspired me and now I remember that I can do it. Don’t expect to see me at the marathon (except cheering, in the donut-eating section) but a 5 or 10K? Sure I can!

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