Tired Legs, Happy Heart


I have always been a runner.

I was a runner when I played soccer. I was a runner when crazy waves of restlessness hit. I was a runner when I was so angry my body felt like it was flying to pieces.

I was a runner when the air was warm. I was a runner when I had a dog. I was a runner when everyone else was safe at home.

But I was never a consistent runner. Months could go between runs. I never ran very far. I ran a 5k race three years in a row, but never trained.

Last year I ran 3 5ks as part of my New Year’s resolution/goal. But I didn’t train much for those either.

This year I decided to train. I’m running a 10k in April. 6+ miles is farther than I can get up and run without some prep. At least, farther than I can run without embarrassing myself.

So I looked up a training program, read a few books, and started.

And then immediately stopped. My first 2 weeks of scheduled training were plagued with sickness and required a lot of rest. But I trained consistently for the following 2 weeks, picking up without issue. I’m following what seems to be a pretty classic schedule:

  • Tuesday: tempo run (middle distance; right now ~3 miles)
  • Thursday: short run (2 miles)
  • Saturday: long run (building up to 6 miles)
IMG_0364

A view from the park where I often run

My first long run was 4 miles, at least half a mile farther than I’d ever run before. It was a beautiful day at a local wilderness preserve and I savored the warm sunshine and gorgeous settings. It took longer than I hoped, but I did it. The following euphoric feeling is addicting.

IMG_1030The week after that, I substituted my long run for a 5k race. It was a color run, so I didn’t carry any electronics–no timing feedback at all. I determined to run steadily, trying to maintain consistent pace. When I made it to the finish line, I was astonished to find I’d come in at 28:40. While it’s certainly no record, that’s a 2 minute improvement on my previous finishing times–and I felt a lot better than I usually do at the end of a race.

It’s hard to see the gains on a day-to-day basis, but that race definitely cemented the value of my year of more running and my training. Yesterday I ran 4.5 miles, adding slowly but surely to my longest distance ever.

Running is a surprisingly nuanced sport with a lot of wonderful people. I’ve followed several blogs and some YouTube channels for inspiration, but it’s sometimes discouraging to see how far behind I am from other runners. I hope that talking about my own running right now, while it’s not-so-impressive, will help other new runners or aspiring runners.

Do you run? If so, how was your starting experience?

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8 thoughts on “Tired Legs, Happy Heart

  1. Congrats on completing your race. It’s such a feeling of accomplishment. I don’t run routinely because my knees probably couldn’t take it, but I do run on the treadmill when I stay at hotels. Nowhere near as fun as running on a beach though. 🙂

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  4. Love this! I always start a training schedule and then stop after two weeks. I get distracted or don’t make the mental effort to go run when I do have the time. I lack the motivation to stick to the schedule. I’m an impulse runner. Whenever the feeling hits me. I need to find a way to break that because it is clashing with my training. At one point last year all I was doing was running. I had a running group and they seriously kept me motivated. I think I ran over 100 miles last year! I want to get back to that.
    So pumped for your 10k! That is awesome! And congrats on 4.5! That next mile after 3 is such a good feeling!
    Keep up the great work!!

    • Hey, welcome to the blog!! I was always an impulse runner too, but I wasn’t improving at all that way. I really didn’t want to try a training program, but my sister recommended it and all the blogs & books talked about training programs, so I just decided to give it a try. It’s been up and down–I don’t get through all 3 runs every week, but my consistency is getting better. And that flexibility has been key for me. If I skip a run, no big deal. Just pick up the next one. If I feel really bad one day or I’m too busy, I shift my running days and do it the next day.

      The longer runs are definitely a good feeling. I never imagined hitting this kind of mileage. This weekend, I’m planning to run to a yoga session, but I had to come up with a roundabout route because straight there is too short for my weekend run! That’s a bizarre problem I never before imagined.

      100 miles is awesome!! According to Nike+, we’re pretty close in mileage for this year, so maybe we should work together to make 100.

      • That is s bizarre problem, but it is a good problem to have also! I just looked at my NIke+ and it says I am 23.54 miles behind you this month. That is so awesome for you! I’m going to have to play catch up! I’m only at 18.56 for the year! I think working together to get to 100 miles is a great idea. I do much better with other people who are doing it with me!

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