About 6 years ago I decided I needed a regular physical fitness routine. Reading the obituaries and seeing the young ages of the deceased, and hearing stories from friends about various ailments, had me convinced I needed to get fit and stay fit but going to a gym and aerobics classes etc. didn’t fit my schedule or budget. My husband had been a regular runner for many years and we had done some running together, but I never loved it, and I never did it regularly enough to become good at it, or enjoy it. It was so easy for me to put off too, I would use any excuse to not be able to go for a run on any given day.
I started where most people start anything these days… the internet! There are a ton of beginner running plans on the internet, but I couldn’t make anything stick. You know the whole thing about doing something for 21 days to make it a habit? Well it didn’t work for me and running, I could never get to that point. Runner’s High? Never achieved it! I always felt that running was drudgery and something I had to force myself to do. But what other exercise is so inexpensive and convenient. Running was something that I could get the most benefit from for the least amount of time invested. I didn’t have to go somewhere to work out, I could leave right out my front door. I didn’t need expensive equipment that would take up room in my house, and I could do it whatever time of day or night was convenient for me. I knew that running was really the only exercise option for me at that stage of my life.
Starting out, I couldn’t even come close to a mile. I’d read about interval training, and many of the online programs tout the benefit of it for strength, speed, and weight loss so that’s where I started. Interval training consists of walking for a short period of time, then running for an even shorter period of time, then walking again. Beginning this way helps to build endurance for the run part of the intervals. Gradually the running portion increases, and the walking portion decreases. It worked for me for a little while, but I was still super inconsistent, making it hard to see any real improvement.
What really helped me turn the corner though was finding a group to run with. In May of 2012 a new group was forming just for Moms and I decided to take the plunge and join. This was a godsend! Not only were there other women at my running level, but there were others better and worse! I felt like my struggle had been real and there were women who had overcome the same obstacles I was facing and were so inspiring, and others looking up to ME! And the conversations?! Hysterical! The best part was the accountability! Although it was a “class” and I had to go to a park to attend on a schedule, I committed to make it work because there were people expecting me to be there. We did the same interval thing, but this time I could really see the difference. I had never been one to push myself, but now I had others pushing and encouraging me. I distinctly remember being very concerned one evening because we were expected to run 90 seconds straight! That’s right 1 ½ minutes of running, and I was freaking out. But I did it! From there it was all uphill. I ran the very first race of my life that fall at the age of 45. Since then I have run 18 half marathons (13.1 miles), 2 marathons (26.2 mi) and 1 50K (31.2 mi). From anxiety about 90 seconds to running for nearly 7 hours straight! Runner’s high? Yep, I know what that is now. Another unexpected benefit is that running on my own, out my door, on my schedule has become much easier, because running is more enjoyable. I’m more fit than ever in my life, feel more in control of my emotions, and feel that I am setting a good example of a healthy lifestyle for my children.
Not every town has a running group for moms so some gals will have no choice but to turn to the internet and books to get inspired. Either way, I encourage you to keep trying, as persistence will pay off in the end. For those of you who live remotely or don’t have much of a running community I have attached two great resources to get you started on your way to a healthier more fit lifestyle.