Running, I feel like you either love it or hate it. I know that I have been on both sides of this. I played with the idea of running in June of 2010, I really wanted to run the Newport Half and sadly the Newport Half came and went and I think I laced up my shoes once to go for a run (oops don’t judge). It wasn’t until April 2011 that I decided I needed something else in my life, I was feeling a bit lost and I needed something to focus my energy on. In New York you see two things, little dogs and runners. Since I couldn’t afford the little dog I went with running. Also around this time I found a blog called Walk to the Mailbox and immediately I was inspired to get out there and go. Gina, from Walk to the Mailbox, is part of the 50 States Marathon Club and she writes when she runs a Marathon. Every post has such passion in it that you want to love running as well.
I took myself to Jack Rabbit Sports and bought myself a good pair of running shoes. What shoe is my solemate you ask… Brooks Ravenna 2. I am not going to lie when I walked in there I wanted a pair of Mizuno’s just like Gina but what I quickly realized is, the shoe will pick you and Mizuno and me just weren’t meant to be (It would have been a very awkward relationship, so it was for the best). #1 if you are just starting to run get yourself a good pair of RUNNING shoes (I can not stress this enough).
Next I signed up for a race, because if you have nothing to work for and you’re just starting out you probably won’t work. I mean let’s be honest here, it is hard to start a routine, you wake up it’s cold outside and if you don’t have a goal well you might as well sleep in. I signed up for a 4 miler in Central Park. Sadly I never got to run it but we will get to the reason why shortly. #2 Sign up for a race, you decide what distance is appropriate for you and how much time you need to train BUT SIGN UP. Just do it!
Now starting and keeping a routine is the hardest part of running. I needed something that would keep me accountable. I had heard many good things about the Couch to 5K program. After reviewing a couple of the apps I ended up going with the Bridge to 10K program (the next one after the couch), I skipped the Couch to 5K because after looking at the workouts, the Bridge to 10K fit my fitness level the best. This was a great way to help me get started and I stuck to the program pretty religiously. I actually started getting excited about running. #3 Find a training program that works for you.
I started to get pretty serious about running and luckily for me I sat next to a runner at work. He had been running for 10 years so I was constantly asking him questions. One day he looked at me and said “you know you’re running a lot, you might want to get an EKG just to make sure your okay to run”. He had a friend that passed at a young age and he took his health very seriously. So I decided he was right and went into my general physician to get a check-up and an EKG. I honestly thought nothing could possible be wrong. Nope I was WRONG. My EKG was abnormal. He recommended that I go see a Cardiologist. So after telling my Mother, she immediately went into panic mode and said I couldn’t run anymore. Goodbye first race… When I went to see the Cardiologist, I found out I have something called Persistent Juvenile T Wave Pattern. Which is a pretty way of saying half my heart isn’t fully developed yet. Luckily for me that just meant I was young at heart and that I could start running again (thank you Doctor!). #4 Go to your doctor and get the okay to run, you never know unless you check. Better safe than sorry.
Because I had to take a little over a month off of running and I was a new runner, getting back into running was extremely hard. Running is not like riding a bike. Sadly, especially if you are new, you can’t just jump back in where you left off. So I had a hard time starting up again. One day I was reading Runners World (#4.5 Get a subscription to Runners World, it is one of the few magazines I read cover to cover ) I came across an ad, Runners World was partnering with Foot Locker to have a coached running group for free! The answer to my prayers a free running group that would have coaches and we would be training to run a 10K. I was nervous, I did it completely alone but I made some amazing friends and I learned a lot from the coaches. I learned about speedwork and hill repeats (Damn you Cat Hill). I also completed my first 10K and it was an amazing feeling. #5 Find a running group (if they have coaches even better). Not only will you learn a lot but you will make some great friends.
After my race I knew I wanted to do more, so I searched the web and I saw that Run Disney was having a Tinker Bell Half Marathon in January. It was right after my 25th Birthday and Autism Speaks was one of the participating charities. I wanted my first half to be for something that meant a lot to me so I knew this would be the perfect first half. I contacted Team Up at Autism Speaks and before I knew it I was all signed up to run my first half. About 10 minutes later I was like oh crap what have I gotten myself into, I sent out a tweet to some running friends and they told me that Run Less Run Faster was a great plan for someone who didn’t want to run more than 3 days a week. I bought the book and I started my training. #6 Push yourself, you will never know what you are truly capable of unless you push the limits.
I started training alone because my running group had ended but I quickly got very lonely. I saw a lot of tweets about people who would run on the East Side (close to where I live) and I decided to see if I could join them one day. Luckily I met two great girls and one ended up becoming my sole sister (aka my running buddy that I run with all the time and probably see more than most people, I love you Katherine and I am not ashamed of who knows it ). Having someone to run with on a regularly basis and push you when you don’t want to push yourself is amazing. I wouldn’t be half as good if it wasn’t for Katherine. # 7 Find a running buddy or in my case a sole sister.
So that pretty much brings us to now. I have finished my first half marathon (yah! go me) but I am sad to say I have not gotten the marathon bug yet (I still love my legs too much)… I am training for the NYC Half (which is in 6 weeks!) and I want to beat my time. I learned that speedwork and hills actually play a huge part in your training so I am going to actually do all of my speedwork and tempo runs. While training for my last race I didn’t really do much of that which was fine but now I want to get faster. #8 Don’t skip your speedwork and tempo runs
My last two tips when it comes to running is:
#9 Have fun and #10 Run for you
I would love to hear your stories on how you fell in love with running and if you have any tips please share! I feel like I can constantly learn more. And if you haven’t gotten a chance yet, I am having a raffle to raise money for Autism Speaks for the NYC Half, I am raffling off a necklace from Erica Sara Designs. She designs some amazing Race Bling and your support would mean the world to me.