Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Diary of a Beginner....

Hi everyone....this is my attempt to come to terms with my running abilities. I am a beginner. I am not an advanced runner - nor am I even a mediocre runner - I am a true beginner...novice to the 10th power. The reason I share this with you is because a few months ago, I wouldn't have been so accepting of this fact. I started running back in February - in preparation for a half marathon in July. I've always wanted to run and have had bouts here and there but never consistent with my efforts. I ran consistently through April - getting up to 9 miles on my long run. I thought this was pretty good - considering my first week of running I couldn't even go a mile. Then May happened. Got sick...fell out of the routine...and 4, 5, 6 weeks passed and still I didn't get out to run. Not only that, but deep down there was a part of me that was digging my heels in protest because I didn't lose one pound during all those weeks of running. You see, I have a good 15 pounds that I do need to lose. I thought running would help me do that and it didn't. I tried to convince myself that I didn't care because it was making me feel so good, it didn't matter. But deep down, I think it really did. Anyway, I finally started running again June 1. And guess what? It might as well be February! I can't believe how hard it's been to come back. I haven't been able to run 4 yet, although I think I'll be there this week. I literally feel like I have started completely over and it has been SOOOO hard just to do the bare minimum. This has been a little frustrating. So. I got to thinking. Maybe I'm pushing myself too hard. Maybe I'm trying to go farther and longer than my body is really capable of yet. I am really out of shape. I've had 2 kids in the last 8 years and haven't been active at all (exercise that is..). So maybe I should just accept that I don't have to run a 10 minute mile yet and maybe I should slow down a little. I have been pushing myself to be in the 10:30 - 11 range but I think that's just too hard for me right now. So, last night I decided to start off slower...at a more "comfortable" pace. I was probably in the 13-14 min/mile range. It felt amazing. I ran for 45 minutes no problem. My point is - I'm so happy to have come to this realization. Building up takes time and a beginner/out of shaper like me has no business forcing my way out of the gate and expecting to keep up with the other stallions (don't you love how I just referred to you all as 'stallions')? I've accepted it...and it feels good. Can any of you more 'advanced' runners share with us some of your 'beginner' stories? When you very first started....what was it like for you?

Thanks, as always, for your great stories and posts.


Kelly(M&M) said...

Hi LisaMarie,

Thanks for sharing your struggles with us. I am so glad you are finding where running is enjoyable for you. I don't consider myself a "stallion" but I have sure learned a lot in the last 6 years I have been running. I have found that slowing down makes the biggest difference. I have been working hard at training myself to run at a lower heart rate. This requires running very slow. I believe I started out running 12-13 minute miles. Running slow helps your breathing and your heart. It prevents injuries. It allows you to run further. I think it is much more enjoyable too. :-) It also allows me to do speedwork and work hard on one day, and then on the next run slow and truly recover. It also has helped me to get faster overall.
Congrats on listening to your body. Please keep us posted on your progress. I am sure you will see much improvement.

staciandrolo said...

I agree with Kelly! It is important to listen to your body! Running is a STEP BY STEP process, it takes lots of time to improve. I think you are right on with taken it slower!

Nine months ago I started running at 13-14 min. miles and now at my fastest I am at 10 min miles. At first running was pure torture ;) for me but the results of how it makes you feel is so worth it!!

Good Luck :)

Robyn said...

Hi Lisa Marie, I think the MOST important thing, especially for moms, is that you enjoy running. This is your time out (we don't get much of it) It's time for you, you can't be hating it! So if you need to slow down a little, do it. You've worked so hard (sounds like) to get to this point so don't give up. I read somewhere that you can't expect to just go out and run 10 miles (or whatever distance you want) you have to build up your endurance first, THEN you can work on speed. You've been sick and had time off, so it might take a little while, but you'll get there. You can do it. Happy Running!

Tammi1407 said...

Hi LisaMarie -
I began running about 2 years ago as a way to lose weight. I realized after about a month of consistent activity that I needed to control my portion sizes, too - running alone didn't do a thing for my actual weight. Once I started eating portion-controlled meals (Lean Cuisine - cheap AND easy!) the weight literally melted off. I lost almost 35 pounds (probably more than I needed to!)in the span of about 3 1/2 months.
When I started "running", I bought an iPod and would alternate slowly jogging one song and then walking the next. It was all that I could do to simply get through ONE song (3-4 minutes!) After a while of this, I gradually found that I was walking one, running 2-3, then walking again when I needed the break. I built up to a 30 minute workout of walking the first song as a warm up, running for about 23-24 minutes (about 6 songs), and then walking the final song as a cool-down. Today I'm in my fourth month of pregnancy with my first child but still running at least 3-4 miles a day, competing in lots of local 5Ks, 10ks, etc., and have 6 half marathons under my belt! It takes time, but it is so exciting to feel yourself building up your endurance. For me, it was definitely seeing the weight melt off (and later making sure it stayed GONE!) that kept me motivated. I truly love running and I hope that it turns out to be everything you want it to be! Best of luck.