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)
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.
The 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?