Running is the first exercise I ever remember doing. That first place ribbon I won in the 1st grade 50 yard dash was a treasure, its shiny blue satin a reminder of something I’d won and I was proud. I took it everywhere with me at the time. It’s likely now buried in a box deep in mom’s attic along with various other awards and certificates that mark my elementary school years.
Almost 40 years later I’m still running, though I don’t really consider myself a runner. But of all the exercise regimes I’ve tried, running is the one exercise that I always come back to. Aerobics. Step Aerobics. Swimming. Weight circuits. Cycling. Body Pump. Military SEAL style training. All tried. All abandoned. I now know myself well enough to know that I have no interest in throwing away any more money on a gym membership. It will not get used. Or it will for about 3 months and then the inertia required to get me there will be insurmountable.
But I’m up and running again because in a few short weeks, the years are about to roll over another click and I know that it’s about high time that I put a healthy relationship with my body closer to the top of my priority list. Use it or lose it, right? My sedentary career spent sitting for hours in front of a computer screen and developing bad posture has done nothing to help me prevent the osteoporosis that runs in the family. And as it’s been six months since my surgery and I can get a workout in without worrying that I’ll need to pull a Paula Radcliffe along the way, I now feel like I’m in a place where I can focus on exercise.
So I’m determined to make this running thing stick. At the beginning of the year, I signed myself up for a 10K race, the Oxford Town & Gown, which is in the middle of May. I know how I work. I need a goal, something to work toward, something to make me accountable. I now had a goal but my training plan was well, not happening. I’ll blame the winter weather and snow. (It is freaking miserable here people). But I definitely needed something or someone to get my act in gear. Otherwise I was going to have to walk 10K.
Enter Up and Running, a fantastic community of women runners that I discovered through Sas. Now, for the first time in my adult running life, I have what amounts to a personal trainer and a supportive group of women to share it with. While it always made perfect sense to me to enlist a personal trainer for things like weight training, I’d never thought to get advice on running, just thrown my shoes on and gone outside or on the treadmill with no real plan.
But now I’ve got a plan, I’m running sprint intervals, circuits, and fartleks. (Yeah, I didn’t know what they were either.) The last time I remember running intervals was during my stint on the high school track team, running sprints around its L-shaped halls and slowing down just enough to make sure I didn’t wipe out as I made the 90 degree turn. And in just a couple of short weeks I’ve already noticed my running improving. Heck, I was even motivated enough to go running this weekend in a snowstorm. Sure the snow was pelting me in the face, but I was out running, and it was unexpectedly good.
I’ve recognized too that running really suits my personality. I need the alone time when I exercise, running in my own little world listening to tunes and clearing my head. And I find that so many good creative thoughts come to me when I’m running. Which is why I’m finding Up and Running so brilliant, I can run with people who will hold me accountable without actually having to run with people. In my workouts, I can focus on running against the only competition that matters, me.
Well, and this year at the Town and Gown 10K, I’m not letting a guy in a chicken suit finish ahead of me.
Have you started a new fitness plan this year? How’s it going? What’s keeping you accountable so you stick with it?
Spring training? I think not.