I love to run! Running makes my heart happy. It’s my meditation and my happy place. It’s my stress relieving, problem solving, and brainstorming medicine. Running to me is like taking a shower. Generally the shower is where you get your best ideas and really begin to work out problems because your body begins to relax and unwind. Once I get into my groove during a run I start to really think any issues I’m having through. I also love to run because I know there are people out there who can’t and I want to take full advantage of the ability to even be able to run.
I was not always a runner. I actually hated running before I joined the military. During basic training I could barely run my 1 ½ mile in a passing time and once I finished I was gasping for air ready to kill over. I say this to say to anyone out there thinking that they can’t do it, that they can. I began to love running once I got to my first duty station. During our morning PT we would have a day that we did a long run of about 2 miles. It was a trail run and I loved the scenery. I also noticed that I would be one of the first people done every time. This made me think maybe I can run longer. I also loved how I felt when I was done. And I figured since I have to do it I may as well like it. Lol!
I didn’t really get serious about running until my first deployment. I didn’t have much to do besides when I was a work and I was around a lot of people who were pretty serious about the sport. So I began to up my mileage. I was running about 3 miles on a regular basis. I slowly went from 3 to 6. I was amazed at how I could push my body and I really want to see what my body was capable of.
I ran my first 10K while deployed. A 10K is 6.2 miles. It was actually very hard because I didn’t know a lot about pacing so I started out super-fast and died at the end lol. But it was my first taste of racing and I loved it. I loved the atmosphere and the adrenaline rush. Shortly after that run I began to suffer from runner’s knee. Which sucked horribly. I pretty much just stopped running for a while because I didn’t know what to do to get better. I would run about 1 or 2 miles just to stay in shape but I wouldn’t run any distance.
When I got back home I got stationed at the Pentagon and got the chance to work with an exercise physiologist who helped me to get passed the runners knee. After a few tests he told me that my problem was that my core was weak. He set up some exercises for me to do and put me on a walk to run program. I haven’t had a real problem with runner’s knee since. This did help me to realize that you can’t just run you have to cross train and work the other muscles in your body.
Since then I have ran 2 half-marathons, the Army 10-miler, and a whole lot of 5Ks. Once I have my baby I will begin training for my first marathon.
If you are interested in starting your running journey here are a few tips:
- Get fitted for shoes. This is paramount! Find your local running store and buy your first pair there. They will look at the way you walk/run and let you know what kind of support you need. This will help prevent injuries in the long run and you may run better because of it.
- Find a running group. We have several in the Fayetteville area from beginners to marathoners. It’s always a good idea to meet people going on the same journey you are. It will encourage you as well as keep you accountable. I would use meetup.com to find some in your area.
- Have a Plan. Below is a good couch to 5K program to try out.
|Week||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7|
|1||5 min walk 2 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||5 min walk 2 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||5 min walk 3 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||Relax!|
|2||5 min walk 3 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||5 min walk 4 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||5 min walk 5 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||Relax!|
|3||5 min walk 6 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||4 min jog 5 min walk 4 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||5 min walk 7 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||Relax!|
|4||5 min walk 7 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||5 min walk 8 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||5 min walk 9 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||Relax!|
|5||5 min walk 9 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||6 min jog 5 min walk 6 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||5 min walk 10 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||5 min walk 11 min jog 5 min walk|
|6||5 min walk 11 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||13 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||15 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||Relax!|
|7||15 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||8 min jog 5 min walk 8 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||16 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||17 min jog 5 min walk|
|8||17 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||18 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||20 min jog 5 min walk||Relax!||Relax!|
|9||20 min jog||Relax!||12 min jog 5 min walk 12 min jog||Relax!||24 min jog||Relax!||25 min jog|
|10||25 min jog||Relax!||27 min jog||Relax!||30 min jog||Relax!||Race Day!|
This plan is good because it doesn’t put an amount of miles to reach. You get to feel your body and how fast you think you should be going. Be sure to stretch after each workout.
- Eat Well. Once you begin running you will realize you need energy to get through. Especially on those long runs. I used to run without eating prior and I would always wonder why I was so tired and sluggish during then famished after. I would recommend eating a light snack prior such as a banana or peanut butter on whole wheat bread. This will give you the energy to get through your workout.
- Hydrate. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and remain hydrated. I don’t recommend drinking a lot prior to a run because you may suffer from cramps. You can also drink Gatorade or a drink with electrolytes after to replenish those.
- Rest. Don’t hit the ground running too hard because you may get burnt out quickly. Pace yourself and give your body time to recuperate.
I hope that this list and the training plan will encourage you to start running if you don’t and pick it up again if you stopped. Give it a try you never know what your body is capable of until you push it.