Keep Calm and Jog (Or Run) On

For the month of April, I will be participating in the A to Z blog challenge. This means that every day (except for Sunday) I'll share a blog post that coincides with the day's letter.


Jogging or running (in my opinion, both are really the same thing) is one of those physical activities that I NEVER thought I would be doing.

Two years ago, I remember printing out the C25K schedule and making a decision to start running...or jogging. I remember getting up that first day and putting on my workout clothes, knowing that this was going to be easy peasy because I had been spinning for a year. If I could spin two days a week for an hour at a time then I could run for sixty seconds at a time. Right?

Oh my goodness, I remember those first 60 seconds of jogging. I thought my lungs were going to explode and my calves were never going to be the same again. After the second week of working the program, I had to take a long break from running because of shin splints. I was discouraged and very hard on myself. Here I thought I had come so far, but at that moment I decided there was no way I could be a runner. I just couldn't do it.

Fast forward a year. I started doing boot camp which is taught by one of my friends. There is quite a bit of running in boot camp, which really intimidated me. I had to walk a lot of the time. It had been a year since I had even tried to run, so everything I learned had to be relearned. During that time though, I developed a different perspective of running. I decided I wanted to be a runner and I would be a runner. Period.

My friend who taught bootcamp was training to do a half marathon. The run was about 4 or 5 months away. Plenty of time to train. Note: I had never done a race EVER. I decided to run the half too. I printed out a half marathon training schedule and planned out my runs.

It didn't take long into my training for the negative thoughts to begin. I started telling myself there was no way I could run 13.1 miles. I was hard on myself every time I had to stop and walk.  I ended up talking myself out of doing the run. Once again I had quit something.

However, things turned around at the end of last year. In December,  I entered a drawing for a free entry into a local 5K run; and it so happened that my name was drawn. So, on December 5, 2012 my son and I ran our first 5K race. Given that I didn't do a whole lot of training before, it went well. I finished in about 37 minutes. 

I can't even describe the feeling of finishing that run and realizing I had just accomplished a big goal. Thus began a new love for running. 

Last month I ran a 15K, and at the end of this month I will run my first half.

I am by no means a professional when it comes to running, but here are some things I think newbies to running...or jogging need to know:

1) Get fitted for running shoes. They can be pricey but they are worth every penny. Taking care of your feet is important given that you need your feet to run.

2) Learning to breathe correctly will probably be one of the hardest parts of running. I have read so many different resources and asked a lot of other runners about breathing. I have come to the conclusion that a person needs to learn what works for him/her. My friend says she breaths in through her nose and out through her mouth. I can't do that. I have found that chewing gum helps with my breathing. It will take time to find what works best for you. Don't get discouraged.

3) Walking is OK. You are still a runner even if you have to stop and walk every now and then.

4) Cross training is a must. You will become a better runner and your running form will improve when you cross train, especially when you work at strengthening your core.

5) Don't do too much too fast. Work your way up. 

6) Find good, motivating music. It's almost as important as good shoes.

7) Learn to enjoy your running time. It's just you and your body. It's amazing how far you can push your body when you really believe you can accomplish your goal.

8) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS make sure you are properly hydrated before and after your runs. And, make sure you are stretching...especially after your runs. I've learned the importance of these the hard way.

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