Becoming a runner

 

Just getting started in being a healthier you is tough. Deciding is the first step to making change.  The next step is even more difficult… doing it. I remember when I made the decision and when I started. I actually tried it probably a hundred times before I committed and that was okay. Sometimes it takes a while to convince your body that it wants to do this. The mind is willing, but the body isn’t. As you get healthier and better at exercising, the roles reverse. The body becomes willing, but the mind may not want to play.  You may constantly have to deal with the struggle of mind and body. That will never change; you just get better at controlling it or at manipulating yourself. I have to trick myself even now when one or the other is not cooperating. I have gotten better at it, but there are still days when it is hard. So…some tips from me to you about running, which by the way, I think is the best thing you could ever do for your mind, body and spirit! Running is more than just running; it is a total experience!

It’s okay to start out walking; I did. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t walk well at all. Years of smoking and bad eating had taken its toll on me, but I was determined and that helped. So I walked for a long time until I learned to breathe better. The more I walked, the quicker I walked, the better my breathing got. I had to train my lungs too!

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you haven’t been doing a lot of activity, over doing it will cause muscles, bones and ever thing else you have to get injured or hurt to the point that you can’t do anything. That was part of the reason I stopped and started multiple times… too much too fast.

Build up a little at a time. It took years for me to get overweight and unhealthy.  I wanted it to change in a month or two and it didn’t, most likely it won’t for you either. Twenty years of bad habits is a process to change. Eight years later, I am still transforming, but I like myself much better, I am healthier and I have come a long way. It just takes time. The process is changing your body, but it is also changing your mind. You are re-training both.

Ease into running. Transition is important to stay injury free. If you are not a runner naturally, running can be difficult.  I wasn’t a natural runner; I don’t even look like a runner. I had to develop my running….like a skill. I am still not that great, but it is all relative to where I use to be and where I am now and compared to then… I am a superstar!  My friends could spot me a mile away… head down, slumped over just shuffling along determined to get to the finish line and happy to make it. I did a lot of run-walk-run-walk and I will still do that now… who cares. I am never winning an Olympic gold medal. I am running this race for me. Over time you can work on various things… form (a great place to start), pace, cadence all those things will happen. It’s just hard to do them all at once. Bite the cookie one bite at a time or you will get chokedJ

Don’t compare yourself to other runners. Some people have been running for years some haven’t and it is more natural for their body type… everybody is different.   I use to wonder why it was so easy for others and eventually I decided… who cares why it is easier for them that won’t change my story or my running.  Look for your progress… quit looking at final outcomes. Be excited about the little things. Repeatedly do the little things and they will add up to the big things.  The famous quote, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” Lao Tzu. Find the positive in each outing, each walk, each run each workout. Even if it’s bad, it’s better than the one that didn’t do it sitting at home on the couch … just saying!

Incorporate some stretching and strength. Yoga is great (don’t be fooled it’s hard) and strength training to help stay injury free. A strong core is so critical to good running. I stayed in a slumped over position because my core was non-existent and my back was weak. I had some minor knee injuries because of weak stabilizer muscles…abductor and adductor (inside the leg and outside of the leg) and imbalances between my glutes and quads. Learn to train the whole body. Incorporating the Crossfit helped correct many of these issues. Stretching is hard for me… flexible I am not. I go to Yoga some and try to incorporate various things I have learned. I Read The Supple Leopard by Kelly Starlett, it is kind of my bible of exercise and I follow his Daily Mobility WOD at http://www.mobilitywod.com/dailyrx/

Discovering what works for me has taken time… reading books and articles, attending running classes, experience, trial and error. Time affords you the ability to learn about yourself among other things. But I can truly say that running has made all the difference in my world. It showed me that I was capable of doing something I never thought possible. It showed me that like anything else running can be developed through hard work and commitment. It showed me that my mind and body are capable of so much more than I realized.  It has brought me many new friends and taken me on many new adventures. Running has been my friend. I have enjoyed getting acquainted with him and you will too.

Remember… “It is never too late to be what you might have been,” George Eliot.

 

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