It’s official. I can now call myself a runner again.
We all talk about how much we hate labels yet everything around us has a label – tall/short, heavy/thin, young/old. And most of these labels have judgements attached to them.
Labeling yourself a runner is no exception.
New runners are often hesitant to refer to themselves as runners.
“If I only run 5K’s, am I really a runner?”
“I walk half the time, am I really a runner?”
“I’m just starting, am I really a runner?”
The answer to all these questions is yes. If you run, you are a runner.
And don’t let anyone pass judgement on you for calling yourself a runner.
My First Training Run
I just finished my first training run in a long time (approximately 7 months). It was 25 minutes – 5 minutes of walking on either end with 1 min running / 1.5 min walking intervals in the middle.
It wasn’t a long run and it wasn’t difficult. But if you’ve been on the couch for any length of time, you know how hard it is to get the motivation to do any running at all.
I feel great. I have plantar fasciitis in my left heel and it was acting up when I started but as I ran, the pain went away. The key will be keeping up the stretching to keep the pain in check.
And now that I’ve finished, I can enjoy my post-run satisfaction knowing that I’ve accomplished the first step on my goal to BQ.
Just Make Sure You Get Outside and Run
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as you get off the couch and start exercising again is how to stay motivated. There are so many obstacles that can stand in your way if you allow them.
At this stage, the important thing is that you’re getting out there. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far or how long you go.
Don’t let little things like the weather, your gear, your clothes, or anything else get in the way of you heading out the door. Even if you need to walk the whole way, just being out there making the effort is an accomplishment at this stage.
Keep Track of Your Progress
But even though distance, duration, and pace are irrelevant right now, keeping track of your running is an important step. Not only will these early runs serve as a useful benchmark to track your progress, they also serve as reminders that you’re now a runner.
Whether you’re using a hand-written journal, a spreadsheet, or something more technical, keep track of your runs. In addition to how far, how long, and your pace, record how you felt before, during, and after your run.
After a while, you’ll be able to go back and see patterns and trends that will be useful as you continue progressing toward your running goals.
That’s one of the reasons I started this site. It not only serves as a resource for others making the leap from the couch back into a running program, but it also serves as a record of my own progress on this journey.
Readers, I would love to hear from folks out there at all stages of the process. Are you a new runner or a veteran? What are your goals? Please introduce yourself.