29 June 2011

Running, love or not?

I grew up thinking I was a horrible runner.  Seriously, I hated every moment I had to run and gym class was a nightmare.  I can't lie and say that part of my hatred for running didn't come from horrible gym classes as an elementary and middle school student.  When I was in seventh grade my gym teachers decided to introduce the 'ten minute mile' as the way we would be graded.  Give me a hundred push-ups or ask me to walk up and down stairs for a minute and I'll do it, easy.  Running, however, was a different matter.

blurry Emilia about to go out on a run

I couldn't do the ten-minute mile.  Honestly, I can only just do it now.  What I didn't realize was that the other kids couldn't really do it either.  I thought that everyone could run it easily because they all seemed to finish on time and I was there slogging through the whole thing.  That wasn't true.  After a couple times I realized that all the kids who were finishing 'on time' were actually cheating.  It wasn't so much that I was an awful runner, just that I was actually keeping up with the timing.

Recently, for some reason, I began to become intrigued about running again.  Maybe the reason I hated it so much wasn't because I couldn't do it, but because I didn't give myself the chance to get better.  I wanted to be able to run that ten-minute mile effortlessly and immediately.

horrible photo of me getting ready to go running...i have a small room

So, I got the book Running Made Easy and read it pretty much front to back.  I felt inspired, it didn't make me feel silly for not being able to run; the book presented the information in a way that made sense to me.  I've always loved to walk; you don't really have an option when growing up in New York City, so the incorporation of walking into the program made me feel like even I could do this.

And I'm working on it.

The program is very similar to Couch to 5k.  What I like about having a book is that it provides me with all the information right there.  Whenever I need inspiring, I turn back to the book.  Whenever I have a question, I turn back to the book.  It is almost like having my own personal coach right there.

So far, I've noticed that I am able to run so much longer than I could previously.  I am not a fast runner, I doubt I ever will be, but right now I'm working on increasing the amount of time I can run before feeling like I need to walk.  Sometimes I don't want to run; yet some days I'm itching to get out and get running. I've noticed that my eagerness to run doesn't influence my performance, some days I naturally can run longer and some days my body just isn't feeling it.  I no longer get annoyed when the amount of time I run isn't quite what I'd like it to be, I just chalk it up to the day and know that I'll try my hardest another time soon.

disgusting on my return from running

My advice to people interested in running?  Go for it!  Get yourself some nice sneakers, some cute workout gear and get going.  Start out walking, increase your walking speed, break into a slow jog, and go for as long as you feel like you can.  Don't push yourself too much, don't worry about going quickly, don't worry about how long you can go for, just go.  If other people pass you by, don't try and speed up. Running is about YOU, not about anyone else.

I enjoy running outside and mixing up my routes as it prevents me from getting bored, yet if all you have is a treadmill in a gym, go for it!  You might find that works even better for you than running outside.  There is no right answer for everyone; there is only what works for you, which is EXACTLY what you need to find out.  Maybe you enjoy running with music, I personally don't, unless I'm at a gym.  Are you a morning, afternoon or evening runner?  There are so many details you get to figure out about yourself. These details aren't daunting, but exciting.  Starting to run means you get to discover so many new aspects about yourself and your body.

Some people find running a good time to think, others don't think at all and just zone out.  Whatever your running style is, that's perfectly fine.  Even if you give running a good try and decide it's not for you, that is perfectly okay.  There should be no pressure, so if you don't enjoy it, don't do it!  There are more important things in life than running and there are so many different types of sports you can try, there will be one you love and want to spend all your time doing.

Even now, though I'm running pretty regularly, running is not my favorite sport or way to keep fit.  I enjoy it, but if I could ice skate around the park everyday, you can bet I'd be doing that.  That being said, I genuinely enjoy running.  I like setting goals for myself and reaching them; running gives me an outlet to do that.  If I didn't like running I would not continue to lace up my sneakers in the morning and head on over to the park.

The verdict?  Running is a love for me, though it is NOT and all consuming passion.  I doubt it ever will be.  I run because it gives me time to think, clear my mind and challenge myself.  When I get a little bored, I try to throw something into my routine to shake it up.  Sometimes instead of going for a run, I'll go for a long walk.  I run my way, on my time and, most importantly, for myself.

What about you?  Do you love running?  Why or why not?

Un Bacione,


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