This summer, I will have been running for TWO years!
I can barely believe it myself – after all, with all the wonderful blog /twitter / social media friends I have made, races I have run and crazy terminology that has become standard in my vocabulary – it leads me to ponder…what was my life like before running?
A lot less active, that’s what.
So two years ago, I decided to change that.
After poking around several sites, I found Couch to 5K and promptly downloaded the app. Since we were living in Orlando, Florida back then, it definitely wasn’t easy those first few runs…..it was hot. I was incredibly out of shape. My running playlist needed work…so many excuses. Somehow though – I kept on, and experienced the runner’s high for the first time and before I even ran that first race, I was hooked.
And that 5K I was training for? SUPER SUCCESS – I picked the Moss Park Forest Run (which was only about 10 minutes away from our house). That two-day event included 5K, 10K or “distance dare” – running both distances both days…I distinctly remember thinking, “wow, I wonder if I will ever be able to run 10K!”
Yet, here I am, training for my third full marathon now, several half marathons, 5Ks, an 8K and 10K under my belt, and dreaming of qualifying for the Boston Marathon – but it didn’t all happen overnight! And my path is just that…mine. Your mileage may vary 😉 See more on My Running Story here.
So, if you’re there – on the verge of completing your first race – and thinking about your next step…consider the following:
- Do you like running? Seriously. Are you running just because “everyone else” is doing it? Or do you actually like it? Okay, even the most dedicated runners might not LIKE running EVERYDAY, but in general, is it something you want as part of your life. (Psssst…It is FINE if it isn’t! Find what fitness activity you enjoy!)
- Do you like/want to run fast? You crossed that 5K finish line – healthy and injury free! BEST ACCOMPLISHMENT EVER, right? TIME is really secondary for that first race…but the second…and third….maybe you’re thinking , “hey, I could do that faster!” So, go forth and do that! Run, run, run…keep running! You’ll be surprised at how your speed increases, and you can work on improving a set distance…I ran my second 5K 2 months after my first, and was so excited at my improvement!
- Do you like/want to run long? 5K sounded pretty darn intimidating at first, right? Well, look at you – you smashed that distance! If you’re thinking about increasing your mileage, try a bridge program, like Bridge to 10K. Remember, you want to increase mileage gradually…create a goal for yourself, and take the time to search for or create a training plan that you can stick to….whether that is a half marathon, full or beyond!
- What do YOU want to accomplish? The running community is an amazing place – so much inspiration everywhere. That being said, it can be very easy to get caught up in the excitement of others and compare your training or accomplishments to one another. Be sure to establish YOUR goals – and don’t let anyone discourage you. Speed and endurance are earned…so what if so-and-so has been running since elementary school and you started two months ago? YOU ARE AN ATHLETE!