Just start! All you need are some fresh shoes and a little motivation. I always tell beginners to start with a time goal, not a distance goal. I recommend 30 minutes starting out. Run when you can, walk when you have to. When you’re about 15 minutes away from your house, turn around and go back (it’s impossible to quit your workout when you’re still ten minutes away from your house.) It’s important to be consistent. The human body is amazing. It will adapt to anything that you consistently do. If you keep at it, you will find that your needed walk breaks become fewer and farther between, “feeling-great” days start to outnumber the “I’m gonna die” days, and instead of dreading running time you will start to crave it.
I usually tell all beginners to steer clear of the treadmill. The first reason being, it is too easy to step right off. Second, your legs need to control your pace- some days your legs are faster and some days your legs are heavier- when the buttons on the treadmill control the pace, it might not match the pace your legs want to run and this can be extremely discouraging. The final reason to avoid the treadmill, the main reason, is that one of the biggest benefits of running comes from the daily dose of fresh air.
They don’t. I follow every rule when it comes to building mileage and building speed (lots more on this later.) I also attribute a lot to my genetic makeup- I don’t pronate or supinate; I’m a mid foot striker with medium arches. I have been wearing minimalist shoes for five years after reading Chapter 25 of this book and I believe I have stronger feet and knees because of it.
Most importantly, I listen to my legs. When I’m adding mileage and pushing my training limits and they’re telling me they’ve had enough, I listen. The human body is much like the human spirit in that it needs to be torn down a little, then it can heal stronger than it was before. Because of this, pain and fatigue can be normal, but at times it is a fine line to walk between building safely and overtraining. With all of this being said, there are no guarantees when it comes to being an athlete and avoiding injury. My main pieces of advice: Listen to your body. Be tough, but don’t ignore major warning signals.
I eat brussel sprouts and brownies, chia seeds and Cheez-itz and everything in between. I believe in moderation in all things, including moderation (a dozen donuts after a race anyone?). If the holidays, a vacation, or bad habits get the best of me, the easiest way to get back on track is to cut sugar and processed foods then even things out once you’re back on track. It’s a common thought that running makes weight management easier, but there are times when it can make things a little tricky. My main rules are: drink a lot of water (it is shocking to know how many people out there don’t do this), try to steer clear of empty calories, and don’t deprive yourself.
Fast is such a relative term. My fast is not your fast is not her fast. The only person I compete with is myself. I keep in mind why I am racing in the first place. I believe in giving it my absolute best and always striving to get better, but in the end, racing should not just be about numbers.
I get home from my runs before the family starts waking up. The longer the run, the earlier I have to wake up. If it’s a run that will be under an hour, I can get away with doing it on my treadmill or taking my youngest in the jogging stroller (if Arizona weather permits.)
This is the time that I have found works best for me and my family. It is HARD to wake up early in the beginning (and when I am getting started again after a post-marathon break.) I know a lot of moms who love to stay up late because it’s such a quiet relaxing time, but I encourage all runners to give waking up early a try. It only takes a little while before it starts to become a habit and your body clock is adjusted. Most people come to find that it is a great way to get the day started.
Yes, I do. However, I challenge you to find a mother out there who doesn’t say she’s “tired.” I get sluggish between 1:30 and 2:30. Luckily, I’m blessed to be a stay-at-home mother and ever since I’ve started running, I’ve had a toddler who naps right then. I put my feet up and slow everything down. After that hour, I am ready to take on the hurricane that is 3:00 (that will last until they’re all sleeping at 9:00.) The main thing I tell people is, I have more energy now than I ever did in college or before I started running. Running keeps me on top of things. It’s just like any other habit- the days I don’t do it, everything seems off and I am two steps behind.
Some people think when my alarm goes off at 4:30am I hop on my feet with a smile and say, “I can’t wait go running again!” This is not the case. I struggle with motivation at times, too. Training is time consuming. It’s much easier to sleep in and not worry about one more thing on my calendar, but, running is something I call my own (every mother needs one of those), it’s something that teaches me about hard work, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Not to mention all the countless benefits for my body. On a more personal note, running brought me out a dark time in my life. It saved me. I don’t know where I’d be without it. (More on this later.)