My whole life I wanted to be a runner. My brother was a runner, and after dragging myself through our weekly Monday fifteen-minute run in P.E. in junior high, I decided I would never be a runner. I taught aerobic classes, swam regularly, and played soccer, but I never loved running. During medical school and residency, when my schedule made taking any sort of class difficult, I began jogging and ran a few 5K races. I had a running buddy in Chicago, and we’d run 30 minutes a few times a week. I enjoyed her company (and the caloric margin that jogging afforded me), but when I got too pregnant to continue (at 28 weeks, I think, when I could no longer last 30 minutes jogging without visiting the bathroom) I stopped and never picked it up again.
Until this summer. After my knee surgery and 12 weeks of PT, I tried again. My friend Renee was an enthusiastic cheer leader and babysitter. My friend Jerusha sent a link to Hal Higdon’s 8 weeks to 8K plan and committed to working through it with me. And somewhere there in September—not until after the 5K—it finally clicked. I became a runner.
The first 5 minutes is no fun, but after that, endorphins (or whatever) kick in, and I love it. That doesn’t mean every run is easy, and in fact quite a few of them are hard, but I am loving it.
I’m in no position to advise anyone on how to start, but the 8K plan helped me increase my mileage slowly but surely. It was detailed enough to give me an assignment every day, but they were doable, and the results were consistent. I also like www.mapmyrun.com (and am not receiving any compensation for recommending these two resources). The iMapMyRun app lets me record my route (as well as my distance, time and pace) for each run (or walk or bike ride) as I go. And for this novice, who likes the outcome as well as the process, seeing my total miles build up really helped me keep going. I’ve run over sixty miles total since starting in late July. Not bad for someone who thought she’d never be a runner.