If you had asked me 5 years ago if I’d ever be a runner, I’d have laughed at you. I’d have insisted that it just wasn’t something my body was built to do. If you had told me I’d ever run a half marathon (let alone 14 weeks pregnant!), I’d have called you a liar.
Did I ever mention the half-marathon on my blog? I don’t know that I did because I was pregnant but hadn’t shared that yet. Anyway, I ran a half-marathon last May at 14 weeks pregnant. I ran it with my Mom and it was awesome but truthfully, I don’t suggest attempting to train for a half-marathon in your first trimester. Luckily, I was already running 6-10 miles regularly when I signed up so I didn’t need to train too aggressively.
The funny thing about having a blog for so long is that I actually wondered if I’d already written this post. A little search of my own blog (something I do an embarrassing amount, even just to remember the events of my own life) brought me to this guest post, written by Bri Bliss (who I still love) – How to get in to running if you hate running, published in April of 2013.
Right there in my intro, I tell you that I wasn’t a runner but that it was one of my 30 before 30 goals. Don’t ask me what my other 30 before 30 goals were. I’m 30 and I promise I didn’t do all of them but I also promise that I probably don’t care about half of them by now.
That said, I guess I achieved one of them because I’d confidently call myself a runner. Also, Bri was right about everything in that post and I definitely used her advice to become the runner that I am today.
For me, the biggest thing was intervals. Initially I’d get so discouraged when I’d try to run 2 or 3 miles and find myself dying at the half mile mark. Bri suggested starting with equal amounts of running and walking. So I started running 1 minute, walking 1 minute, and gradually worked my way up on the running front. Slowly, I’d hit the minute mark of running and I’d feel totally fine so I’d keep going, push myself a little further. I used an interval timing app to do this, by the way. Checking your phone every sixty seconds is not the way to do it.
The other game changer, absolute game changer, was location. I always insisted that I just didn’t enjoy running outside. Now, it’s my absolute favorite. I think it’s because I’d always lived in the suburbs and tried to run either in neighborhoods or on nature trails. Those don’t do much for me. I found my groove when I’d go for runs through the city. Sure, you have to stop occasionally at a light but there’s so much more to see and explore. So if running outside isn’t working for you, try to change up your location.
I’d also note that some people are music people. I am not. I honestly can be in my car completely alone for 10 minutes before I even realize it’s dead silent (here’s where you can call me crazy but you know, maybe what’s in my own head is just more fun…). So music isn’t really a huge motivator for me on all my runs. I often listen to podcasts. Becoming immersed in something I’m actively listening too provides much more entertainment for me than music can. So if music isn’t enough of a distraction for you, maybe try something else.
I also invested in quality gear (another of Bri’s recommendations). I now run in Hoka running shoes. Mine look like this (affiliate link). Let’s be honest, they’re not the cutest. In fact, I got mine on clearance (because they were exceptionally ugly) and they’re pink and purple and basically look like the five year old version of me designed a running shoe. BUT, you guys, they are like running on a cloud. They literally propel you forward. It’s incredible. I don’t bother looking cute on actual runs. I save cute athleisure for days I’m not actually working out (lol).
And probably the single most helpful thing that helped me with running? I sometimes refer to my runs as photo journeys. Cheesy, I know. And a little embarrassing to admit. I set out not to just exercise, but to see as much of the city as possible and take photos along the way. Basically, I do it for the gram.
It might be silly but it’s one of my favorite things. I love finding little side streets or a new mural or a funny sign. If you’ve seen a picture of Philadelphia on my Instagram (shameless plug – follow me!) between March and November, it was probably taken while I was on a photo journey/run. I’d insist that I wouldn’t come back home until I’d taken at least a dozen photos of different cool spots that I could use on my Instagram over the next few weeks.
N and I just signed up to run a 10 mile race together in May. I’m so jazzed about it. I ran up until I was about 22 weeks pregnant but then it got too uncomfortable and I was always having to stop at random spots around the city to pee. My max distance since Ben was born is 5 miles and I’ve got all of March and April to prep for my upcoming run and honestly, I can’t wait.
How did you become a runner? If you aren’t, what’s stopping you?