Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Addiction Sets In

My friend Mel asked me how I became so addicted to running. Her follow-up question was how can she become addicted to running. I can answer the first question no problem, and I can offer some advice on the second question.

My addiction did not take hold the first time I ran. The first month or so that I really started training was terrible. I would say I hated it about 40% (or more) of the time. Running wasn't as easy at 35 as it was when I was as a teenager. I was running 7 minute miles in Jr. High and now I could barely run 7 minutes. That realization really got into my head. It made running  mentally and physically challenging for me. I struggled so much during those first weeks.

Then one day it happened. I became a runner. I wish that I could tell you that I had some epiphany; that the Running Gods smiled down upon me, their latest follower, and opened up the heavens while hosts of Heavenly Angels sang the Hallelujah Chorus. It was a little more subtle than that. My runs started to suck less. I could run up the hills I previously had to walk up. More and more, I looked forward to my runs. 

The rest is, as they say, is history. I got better and better with each run, and I continue to get better each time I go out. The best part - I still have a long way to go. Each run is a challenge in its own right.

To answer Mel's second question as to how she can become addicted, well, I can provide some pointers. 
  1. Get out there and run.
  2. Pace yourself. So much of my trouble during my first runs resulted from me running too fast too soon. 
  3. Sign-up for a 5k. This will give more reason to get out there and run. This is especially helpful when you first start out running.
  4. Join a Couch-to-5k program. You will be running with other beginners and that could make all of the difference.
  5. Find a running club in your area. The running club I belong to is a tremendous support team. 
I cannot guarantee that you will become addicted to running after following these tips. Hey, it's worth a try. 

Before starting this or any other exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor. I did.

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