My running progression

Woke up to a cloudy and rainy morning. Think it was the remnants of Hurricane Bill bands going by.  Still kind of humid!  We went for bagels and I forgot my camera!  Probably a good thing because we had some difficulties with service and ended up leaving where we went to go to Panera Bread.  Not a good start to the day.

I just thought I would give a history of my starting to run to getting to 8 miles for those that weren’t with me a year ago.  I have always loved biking, but jogging was one of those things that I thought I hated because I had tried it in the past and just didn’t enjoy it *at all*.

I was also scared of running a little bit and had the dislike for it from past experience.  Way back in high school (20+ years ago :O ), the very first thing we did each fall in PE was to run 3/4 miles one day, and the next gym class was running 1.5 miles.  Well, you can imagine how horrible that was to an overweight child and of course I tried to run fast, hyperventilated and was made fun of by other kids.  The gym teacher made everyone wait until the last person finished (usually me), so you can imagine how that did not make me very popular with those kids.  It was the most miserable thing to start each year with.

Fast forward to adulthood. Well, it turns out that the all-or-nothing mentality I had at one time gave me problems.  When I tried running a few years ago, I tried the couch to 5K program, but ran too hard and too fast during the running segments and quit after a couple weeks because it was too intense for me and I hated it.  This reminds me of Diane’s post on exercise the other day.

I am one of those people who doesn’t like to admit defeat, so the idea kind of nibbled around in my mind to try again in April 2008.

With some wisdom about how to train, I realized that I didn’t have to sprint during the running segments (seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it?).  That was the biggest revelation to me.  I did the C25K program again, this time with this mindset:

1.  I would just jog a comfortable pace during the running sections. Being slow is okay.

2.  I would repeat weeks if necessary and it was okay.

3. It would be okay if I could not run 3 miles in 30 minutes after 9 weeks.

Finally, I got somewhere.  I did not need to repeat weeks, but I think that was because of #1 and #3 above.  I gave myself realistic goals.  <—— key point there, people.

Here are a couple of the posts I made during the training last year:

  • Started Week 3 of C25K today. I had no problem doing the 3 minute jogs. Maybe I don’t give myself enough credit for all the work I have been doing to get into shape. Curious as to how far I could actually go, but I want to make sure I train properly.
  • Today was Week 5 Day 3 of C25K. That means 20 minutes non stop of jogging. I did it!! And I wasn’t even out of breath. I went 1 3/8 miles, so that is about a 16 minute mile or so. I will take it!! I really, really think I can do the whole 5K.
  • Started Week 7 of C25K. That was a 25 minute jog. I am getting used to it. I still think the first 1/4 mile is the hardest part. I did 1.5 miles in the 25 minutes.
  • Started Week 8 of C25K. Was supposed to jog for 28 minutes. My Mp3 player ran out of juice about 3/4 of the way, so I didn’t know exactly how long it took – but I went jogging for a full 2 miles!
    I really never imagined myself doing that. It’s crazy!

I was able to run 5K after the C25K program, but it took me almost 50   minutes to do it.  Now I can run a 5K in under 30 minutes.  I owe it all to small, incremental goals.

I started thinking of longer distances  around June of this year, I think.  That was when I tried 4 miles.  I think I may have figured out how to push myself just enough, but not too much to progress without failing.  I also wanted to make sure I didn’t get injured.  I am very lucky that I have not suffered any serious injury over the years, which I owe to cross training.  You will almost never see me do the same thing 2 days in a row, except maybe for biking.

I have now done 8 miles twice, and could likely go farther.  Yep, it is slow, but the feet keep moving and I am not hating every minute of it!

I don’t think I will do the 1/2 marathon this year.  Part of that is because my niece wants to run the 5K portion of the same race and wants to run with me as my sister can’t do it, so that race  is out.  I am happy that she wants to run with me!  Maybe I will set my goal to do one next year, as I already did my big fitness goal this year of the triathlon.

So that’s my running story.  From nothing to 8 miles at a time, all with slow, patient steps.  I may not be the fastest runner on the block, but I am the one with a smile on my face 😀

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13 thoughts on “My running progression

  1. Jinx!

    Exactly girlfriend! Small attainable goals. You want little mini success stories not failures. I started out running to the next telephone pole. Its more important to make running a habit than it is to go out there and kill yourself every day. Thanks for the back story! JInx!

  2. Shelley B

    Thanks for summarizing your running story – I’ve read it all along, and although it seems like you’ve been running “forever,” you’ve worked very hard to get where you are, Ms. Eight-Miler! I keep wanting to step up my running, but stubborn me wants to run on the treadmill, and as my time is limited on it during my workouts, I haven’t done so. But every time I read about you completing another run, I’m so inspired! One of these days I will get my act together and just do it!

  3. debby

    That is just fantastic, Lori. I love your last statement ‘I may not be the fastest runner on the block, but I am the one with a smile on my face .’

  4. Michelle @ A Shade of Gray

    Congrats on such a wonderful story – I enjoyed reading it. I too started running last year w/ the C25K program. I went from 5K to 10K to a Half last April. An IT band that acts up made me stop running but reading your story is inspiring me to start again.

    I think I can do the mindset of just slow and steady and not think about my MPH to enjoy it (and not be hard on my knees).

    I miss the exhilaration a run brought me – it’s somethings no other form of physical activity can do!

  5. Anne K.

    Aww, what a great running story! Small goals are def. the way to go, and it’s great to hear you love it so much! That’s the most important thing 🙂

  6. Miz.

    great and inspiring for me as I shall definitely never be the fastest but want to find a pace where I can run a race w/out achinghurting after.

    I want that smile on my face.

    Miz, who still hasnt done a race. YET.

  7. Lara (Thinspired)

    I appreciate this post. I have had moderate success with running but not as much as you, and I think is because I set the bar too high with speed & distance and then got frustrated when I couldn’t do it. For instance, anything more than 10-minutes miles “didn’t count,” which is ridiculous. I need to start over to re-train my brain to think like this! Small steps are ok!

  8. Alissa

    As always, this is so inspirational. I have been running now for a couple of months. I am on week 2 of the Couch to 5k, but I am doing them as months instead of weeks. I’m a little concerned with running 3 minutes straight, but maybe I’ll surprise myself! If you did it, so can I. 🙂 Thanks for this post.

  9. Susan

    It should come as no surprise that I LOVE this post!! I 100% agree that a lot of people start by running too fast, feel like dying after a couple minutes, and then give up. The key for me was learning to slow down as well.

    Funny, because I also learned to run doing the Couch to 5k program on the treadmill last fall. I had the same exact thoughts on my first 20 minute run. To date, that run is probably still one of my best and favourite fitness achievements. Whenever I do long runs now and say to myself “only 20 minutes left!” I remember how that used to be such a long distance for me…

    I’ve already decided that my “big race” for next summer will be a half marathon, after this year’s being the tri. Maybe we’ll get to virtually train together again!! 😀

  10. Lynn Haraldson-Bering

    Thanks so much for this post! I’m passing this on to my daughter who is running again, too, after having her second baby. I’m sure she’ll be as inspired by you as I am 🙂 Love you!

  11. Charyl

    Very inspiring, Lori! My husband and I are on Week 1 of C25K for the Second week !!!! but thats ok. We are doing it and really excited to see small successes. Thanks for the encouragement.

  12. SeaShore

    Thank you for sharing that. I’ve had c25k percolating in the back of my mind for a while now, afraid to try it for different reasons. Stories like yours and FLG’s sucess with it are inspiring.

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