I say that I started running in November of 2013. I had a few bouts with running before then, but I didn't train consistently, jumped to longer distances too quickly and ended up hating it. So I say that I started in November 2013 because that was when I started where I didn't quit. I created a training method for myself that listened to my body and made me actually NOT HATE RUNNING.
I have had a lot of friends ask me running questions after they see my posts online. I love to help them by sharing what worked for me, but I am not a running coach. I just want to share with anyone who would like to know how I started running and came to enjoy it when I had always hated it before!
Before coming up with my own method I did some of Couch to 5K. It was an okay plan, but I really wasn't ready for even that. There are things I like about Couch to 5K, like 3 runs per week, and gradually increasing your time running vs walking, but I still hated running when I did this plan. I dreaded the days where I had to run for 8 minutes straight. I'm sure it didn't help that most days I was running on a treadmill, which makes the time go by slowly for me, and that my Crohn's wasn't 100% under control, so sometimes I didn't feel that well, but I eventually quit C25K.
When I started from zero again in November I began by only running what I felt I could do without leaving my comfort zone. I think this was about half a mile. I ran this distance 3 times per week until I felt like I could push myself a little further. Then I went .75 miles 3 times a week for the next week. Then a mile 3 times in the next week.
I totally forgot about speed! I only went for distance at this point. I didn't care how long it took me or if I felt like I was going slow. My goal was to increase my distance to a 5K, but that was looking down the road, I was nowhere near that yet.
By the end of December my furthest distance was 1.25 miles. I ran a 1 mile race in December that was my first race of my real running career. It was a tiny, small town race that began the Christmas parade. There were about 20 people running, no bibs, no timing, but IT WAS SO FUN! It was my first race that I felt like I had trained for. I had worked for this. I pushed myself in that mile and PR'ed by A LOT with a 8:41 mile. And I had NEVER run for speed before this. The excitement of running in a race, no matter how small or unofficial, pumped me up!
I ran another 1 mile race on New Year's Day, which was the Millennium Mile and is downhill. I PR'ed again with a 8:24 mile. I was making progress with my speed, even when I wasn't doing speed work in training.
I kept gradually adding distance through January, while running 2-3 times per week. My last run of the month I jumped up my biggest mileage increase from 1.75 miles to 2.5 miles. I had a 3 mile race coming up at the beginning of February and had never run that far before, so I was feeling some pressure to up my mileage at this point.
At that the race (Snowflake Shuffle), I had still never run 3 miles in my training. I ran a faster pace than my normal training runs and made it almost the whole 3 miles without walking. I hit a hill after mile 2 and walked up that, but that's it!
After Snowflake Shuffle I decreased my mileage on my training runs a little bit to where I was comfortable again (.85 miles, 1.5 miles, 2.75 miles) leading up to my first official 5K. I ran two 5K races in March and was starting to become comfortable at this distance.
At this point I decided that I was ENJOYING running, pushing to new distances and beating my time (only in races). I took a leap out of my comfort zone and registered to be a part of Team Challenge. This was signing up for a half marathon when my longest distance run to date was a 5K.
Joining Team Challenge was the best thing ever! The coaches gave me a training plan, but I didn't follow it completely. I continued to only run 2-3 times per week. The only thing I changed after joining Team Challenge was instead of running the same distance every run during the week, my weekend run was now longer than my weekday runs. During the week I continued to go 1-3 miles per run once or twice and my long run on the weekend increased by 1 mile per week, starting at 4 miles.
When I started doing these long runs I learned something new. You have to go into long runs with a different mindset than the shorter mid-week runs. You know you are going to be running for a while so instead of focusing on "How far have I gone? How long has it been?" you just sort of space out, relax and trot along looking at the scenery. Check out your neighbors' yards, run down new roads, explore.
Learning this new mindset was incredibly important as my runs got longer, peaking at 10 miles in late June, then tapering back down before my half marathon in late July.
To sum it up, my method for running is:
- Start short & slow
- Consistently run 2-3 times per week
- Listen to your body
- Gradually increase your mileage
- Sign up for a few races to keep you excited
- Join a group to keep you on track and meet new running friends
- Have a push goal! (A certain distance you want to run, a new PR or a race like my half marathon, which seemed CRAZY when I signed up)
I hope you got some tips out of my experience that can help you NOT HATE RUNNING! If you have any questions, feel free to ask them!
Hi, I'm Jessie!
I live in NH with my husband and our pups. My favorite things are coaching Girls on the Run, eating good food that I didn't have to cook, helping other people work on their health, volunteering for and running races, watching tv, doing yoga, and spending too much time on social media. #Balance