About 6 years ago I decided I needed a regular physical fitness routine. Reading the obituaries and seeing the young ages of the deceased, and hearing stories from friends about various ailments, had me convinced I needed to get fit and stay fit but going to a gym and aerobics classes etc. did not fit my schedule or budget. My husband had been a regular runner for several years and we had done some running together, but I never loved it, and I never did it regularly enough to become good at it, or like it. It was so easy for me to put off also, I’d use any excuse to be unable to go for a run on any particular day.
I started where most individuals start anything nowadays… the internet! There are tons of beginner running programs on the world wide web, but I couldn’t make anything stick. Well it did not work for me and running, I could never get to that point. Runner’s High? However, what other exercise is so affordable and convenient. Running was something that I could get the most benefit from for the least amount of time spent. I didn’t need to go somewhere to work out, I could leave right out my front door. I didn’t need expensive equipment that would occupy room in my house, and I could do it whatever time of day or night was suitable for me. I knew that running was actually the only exercise option for me at that stage of my life.
Starting out, I couldn’t even come close to a mile. I would read about interval training, and lots of the online programs tout the benefit of it for speed, strength, and weight loss so that’s where I began. Interval training consists of walking for a short time period, then running for an even shorter time period, then walking again. Beginning this way can help to build endurance for the run part of the intervals. Gradually the running part increases, and the walking part decreases. It worked for me for a little while, but I was still super inconsistent, making it hard to see any real improvement.
What really helped me turn the corner was finding a group to run with. In May of 2012 a new group was forming just for Moms and I decided to take the plunge and join. Not only were there other women at my running degree, but there were others worse and better! I felt like my struggle had been real and there were women who had overcome the same obstacles I was facing and were so inspiring, and others looking up to ME! And the conversations?! Hysterical! The best part was the accountability! Though it was a”class” and I needed to go to a park to attend a program, I committed to make it work because there were people expecting me to be there. We did the same interval thing, but this time I could really see the difference. I’d never been one to push myself, but now I had others pushing and encouraging me. I distinctly remember being really concerned one day because we were expected to run 90 seconds straight! However, I did it! I ran the very first race of my life that fall in age 45. Since then I have run 18 half marathons (13.1 miles), two marathons (26.2 mi) and 1 50K (31.2 mi). From anxiety about 90 seconds to running for nearly 7 hours straight! Yep, I know what that’s now. Another unexpected benefit is that running on my own, my door out, on my schedule has gotten much simpler, because running is more enjoyable. I am more fit than ever in my life, feel more in control of my emotions, and feel that I am setting a good example of a healthy lifestyle for my kids.
Not every town has a running group for mothers so some gals will have no option but to turn to the internet and books to get inspired. In any event, I encourage you to keep trying, as persistence will pay off in the long run. For those of you who live remotely or do not have a lot of running community I’ve attached two great resources to get you started on your way to a healthier more fit lifestyle.