A Few Steps Before Taking Those First Steps

As you may know, after a ten year absence, I’ve taken up running again.  Though I started in late April, I didn’t have the nerve to write about it until now for fear it’d be yet another false start.  Well, here we are in early July, and I’ve managed to stick with it.  I think–hope–it’s a habit now.

Because I’ve had so many missteps over the past ten years, I knew this time there were a few things I must do in order to better achieve success.

My first step was to plan.  Plan, plan, plan.  In the past, I started too fast, too soon.  This time, I told myself that I wouldn’t run more than ten minutes for the month of May, fifteen minutes for the month of June, and twenty minutes for the month of July.  In fact, my goal is to move up five minutes incrementally every month until I top out at forty minutes.  Maintaining a habit of forty minute runs is my ultimate goal, and where I was when I inexplicably quit running a decade ago.  Furthermore, I told myself not to worry about running four times a week until I built up my general fitness.  I’ve quit in the past because of aches and pains associated with doing too much.  For May and June, I planned for at least two runs a week, but no more than four.  If I only managed two runs, no problem.  I told myself by July I’d reach that four runs a week goal, and so far I’m on track to reach it.

My next step was to get a good pair of shoes that fit my body.  I’m six feet tall, two hundred and twenty-five pounds.  I carry a lot of mass around when I run, and I need a shoe that can work with my body type.  I needed an expert.  I headed to my local running store cleverly called Often Running.  There a man spent a lot of time with me, suggesting many types of shoes, watching me jog a little in them, and generally dispensing wisdom.  Like me, he is no longer in his twenties and admitted his best days of running were behind him.  Along with the expert shoe advice, he gave me a lot of great advice about being a little bit older and getting back into running.  I know shoes cost more at specialty shops, but the expertise and comfort he provided proved more valuable than the twenty dollars I would have saved at a box store.  He also told me to come back with any questions, concerns, or problems.  You can visit Often Running here.

Third, I hope to start a running group soon among those with whom I work.  I belonged to a small running group during my best years of running, and they regularly inspired me and made a somewhat tedious sport fun.  I left the group when I moved, and my running soon thereafter ended.  That’s not a coincidence.  As of right now, I don’t think I can run and maintain a conversation, but by August I’ll be ready.  If you work with me, expect an invitation to join soon!  It will be fun to enter road races with a diverse groups of runners.

Also, in the past I only ran, and that proved disastrous.   This time around, starting in September, I’m going to incorporate hills, stairs, and sprints in the routine.  Varying my workouts will prolong my enthusiasm to continue.

Finally, I told myself upfront I’m not going to obsess about this.  I’m running primarily to get in better shape, improve my cardiovascular system, relieve stress, and model proper life habits to my young daughters.  I’m thirty-seven, I have lots of obligations, and I’m not going to freak out if I don’t hit my “four run a week” goal.  I understand my tendency to get grumpy if I don’t meet my own expectations, and I’m reminding myself to remember why I started running again in the first place.

Thanks for reading.  My next “Runner’s Hi” will be about pain.  It was there in the beginning.  It’s mostly gone now.  I’m going to write about how I changed some things up that resulted in it abating.

If you see me out there, remember to say hi!