A couple weeks ago, I got an email from a reader who was looking to get into running. She said that she wanted to start increasing her mileage, but didn’t think she could do it. She asked for advice and to hear about how I first got started running, and what’s written below is what I told her. I figured given my second half marathon is coming up on Saturday, this post would be well timed! If you want to start running but don’t know where to start — this post is for you.
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I wasn’t always a runner.
You might read my blog now and think that I’ve always been able to run 10 miles, or 11 miles, or even 13 miles — but that’s not the case at all!
When I first graduated from college in 2004, I ran occasionally, but I’d never run more than 3 miles. I mostly stuck to using the elliptical and weight machines, but every once in awhile I’d go for a run on the treadmill, or outside. But I still couldn’t make it past the 3 mile distance.
In 2006, I signed up for my very first 5k race. It was the “2nd Annual Gulf Coast Relief 5k” for which the proceeds went to help revive the New Orleans area following Katrina. A big group of my friends and I all signed up for the race (which was basically the whole reason I signed up), and I remember being so nervous and excited that morning standing waiting for the race to start. And then — what a thrill! Races have such an incredible energy because there are so many people — both on the sidelines AND in the race itself! I loved running among all the others in the early morning light, listening as we passed people cheering us on. It was over in a flash and I was SO proud crossing that finish line! My first race and I was hooked. (If only I had a photo from that race!)
Flying high from that accomplishment, I decided it was time to delve into the world of over 3 mile runs. Tentatively, I agreed to sign up for a 5 mile turkey trot on Thanksgiving Day, 2006. My dad, uncle, and brother also signed up for the race, which really helped my motivation. I remember that race as being the day I really believed that I could run longer distances. Running is never easy, no matter how much you do it, but that’s part of what makes it great. It’s always good to challenge yourself. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone!
It wasn’t until 2009 that I delved into the world of longer races (10k’s, 10 milers, and eventually my first half marathon), but that first 5 mile turkey trot was what gave me the confidence to really believe I could do it. I remember signing up for the Army Ten Miler while I was still living in Prague and being SO excited and nervous about it! Races have really been the best form of motivation for me to increase my mileage. I returned to the U.S. that summer excited to start challenging myself and increasing my mileage for the race!
Previous Race Recaps:
- Jingle All the Way 10k (Washington D.C.) — December 2010
- Operation Homefront Freedom 5k (Charlotte, NC) — September 2010
- Zooma Half Marathon (Annapolis, MD) — June 2010
- Cherry Blossom 10 Miler (Washington D.C.) — April 2010
- St. Patrick’s Day 8k (Washington D.C.) — March 2010
- 10k Turkey Trot (St. Petersburg, FL) — November 2009
- Army Ten Miler (Washington, D.C.) — October 2009
I can’t believe that I used to barely be able to run 3 miles and now I’m about to run my second half marathon on Saturday in DC! As you all know, I’ve been training with a big group of my grad school girlfriends, and on the one hand, I feel like we just started training, but on the other hand — it seems like FOREVER ago that we had our first few group runs!
It’s been a fun (but challenging!) couple months of training and we’re all ready to rock this weekend. Here’s to what will hopefully be a great race and a great weekend!
If you’re a runner, how did you get started? And if you’re not a runner but want to become one — tell me how you’re going to start :)