Teach Me How To Run

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I'm not embarrassed to tell you I have the C25K (couch to 5k) app. I'm embarrassed to tell you how many times I've started the program and quit (even more embarrassed to tell you how many times I haven't gotten past week one, or that my running shoes are from, like, sixth grade!). I just can't get into it. I can't get into exercise. I'm not good at it, and I have a bad habit of giving up on things I'm not good at.

I can ride my bike for miles, leisurely, and if you distract me, I'll walk for hours. In Paris earlier this summer, Brian and I only rode the Metro twice — to the airport and back. We'd walk from dawn to dusk, and it was so relaxing. So it's not that I can't exercise, I just really don't like it.

But I'm giving it another shot. I'm running a race this year. I'm determined to improve. I don't have to be the best runner. I don't even have to be a good runner. I just have to not give up. I have to give my body time to better itself and my mind the space to focus on one activity at a time. Part of the reason it's so hard for me to exercise is because it takes away from other things I deem more important — the articles that are late, the pieces that won't edit themselves, the bath tub that's growing a charming layer of filth. I need to learn that it's OK to step away and devote time to improving my health and focusing on nothing but that for 30 minutes.

I eagerly dusted off my running (gym? workout? what do you call those things, even?) shoes on Thursday and went for a run by the lake. Before I left I was already frazzled. Where do you put your keys? How do you make sure your shoes don't come untied? Once I started, things only got worse. Should I breathe in through my nose, out through my mouth? Out through my nose? In through my mouth? What music should I listen to? Why am I the only one who can't keep her headphones in? Is my back too arched? It feels too arched. What if I'm thirsty? Should I jog in place at stoplights like those overachievers we mock in the car? Can I take $5 and stop at the empanada joint around the corner?

Perhaps I should leave the questions unanswered and just dive into it, but I've tried that too many times before. So, I want to know what tips you have. What kind of exercise are you into? How did you get into it? How can I make my only form of exercise not be chasing the ice cream truck? Most importantly, what are today's hottest running tunes? Any advice is appreciated!

9 comments:

  1. Aw! Good luck, girl. Pandora has a lot of running/fitness stations. If you just search "fitness", a lot will come up. "Alternative Endurance Training" has some good indie/alternative running music. Good for you for taking it so seriously!!

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    1. Thank you!!! I knew Pandora had to have mixes, but I couldn't find any for the life of me last week. And I've used that workout mix you made me last year 100 times already. Just on the el to get my adrenaline pumping on my way to work.

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  2. I did Couch to 5K and just ran my first 5K today! Normally I don't think it's a good idea to spend money before you know you're actually committed to something, but I really needed some gear. I got some nice running pants that have zipper pockets for my keys, and some good sports bras. I have an armband for my iPod. My headphones would always pop out, too, so I bought some RunPhones (don't get the black one, it doesn't fit right and I had to return it). I listen to audiobooks to keep my mind distracted and so I can't hear my breathing. I sometimes run with my water bottle in hand (only filled up a little bit or it leaks and splashes all over my hand), but lately I've just been drinking a little before I leave and then more when I get done. I double-knot my shoes. And I don't worry about how to breathe or how my foot hits the ground. If you can just get up and get out there, I call that an accomplishment!

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    1. So proud of you for running the 5K, and for finishing the program!!! Trying pants with zippers (duh, what an easy solution) and an audiobook next week. I have a friend who swears by listening to NPR while running, but I always figured that'd make me sleepy. Worth a shot ;-)

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  3. My tips:

    1. Runkeeper app tells you every 5 minutes in your ear how far you have gone and maps your route for you with GPS. It's fun to know while you're running and great to see when you are done!

    2. Tie the key on your shoelaces if you don't have a pocket.

    3. Make a running playlist with songs that you like (i.e. Jessie's girl and any good 90s jams).

    4. Don't worry about how fast you are going. Just go slow and see how far you can go!

    5. Just breathe however you want. I've read that you should breathe in your nose and out your mouth, but I'm so out of breath when I run that I just breathe in air whatever way possible. Normally it's me gasping through my mouth.

    We should do a 5K together! Turkey trot is always a good one.

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  4. Thanks, Em! Can I steal your playlist (aka Corie's, probably) next time I see you? I'm definitely down for doing a 5K together. The Turkey Trot is so soon...and so cold...

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  5. I love that app. It will definitely help you get into running. I'm training for a triathlon now and the running is always the hardest part for me. I just do what you stated above, just keep moving and it gets a little easier. As long as I'm moving forward I'm happy with my progress! Good luck with your running! Let us know how it goes. :)

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    1. I've always wanted to do a relay triathlon! I love biking, and I don't mind swimming... just want someone else to do the running ;-) Good luck with yours!

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