I distinctly remember asking Diane to run with me about 5 years ago and her response to me was a big fat “he** no. The only time you will catch me running is if someone is chasing me, I can’t even run around the block!”, she told me. This was not because she didn’t exercise regularly. Diane loves to hike and rock climb, but starting a running program can feel overwhelming. I finally convinced her to join me on the river path for a walk with a little bit of running sprinkled in. The fact of the matter was, Diane needed a running partner that wasn’t going to take no for an answer, and that person was ME! Since that time, Diane has run two, half marathons and several local 5­ – 10Ks. While I had been bitten by the running bug years previously, it was exciting to watch “the bug” sink it’s pincers into Diane. Best bug bite EVER!

Starting a running program, no matter how organized you are, can seem intimidating, but with the right plan success is attainable. There are numerous running plans, but it is important to take a few things into consideration before choosing which one to follow.

  1. Your runs need to be scheduled into your day and week, or you will most likely talk yourself out of it. It is also important to be reasonable about how many days per week you will run.
    Our Suggestion: Starting with 3 to ­4 days is appropriate so you can rest or cross train the other days.
  2. The running plan needs to match your fitness level. If it has been awhile, (months? years? NEVER!?) then you will want to start with a run/walk interval program.
    Our Suggestion: Start with a total time of 20­ to 30 minutes, with 4 to ­6 1 minute run and 4 minute walk intervals. As your strength and endurance improves (not huffing and puffing so much) the intervals should be progressed by 1 minute on each end. For example, increase to 2 minute run and 3 minute walk, then 3 minute run and 2 minute walk etc. You will eventually be able to run 20 to ­30 minutes consistently without stopping.
  3. Running gear is minimal, but important. You do not need a lot of equipment, which helps save on cost, but running shoes are key. Going to a specialized running store, like Eugene Running Company, where they can do a gait analysis and put you into the right shoes, is extremely beneficial. Running shoes have a shelf life and should be replaced every 200 to ­300 miles, especially if you’ve got a little extra junk in the trunk when you start your journey.
    Our Suggestion: If this is not possible, don’t let it delay your start! Buy a pair of lower end or last year’s model shoes (I do this anyway!) to start in and keep costs down. It’s better than wearing the shoes you’ve already worn a walking pattern into.
  4. Keeping yourself motivated by signing up for an event, like the Run Momma Run Winery Brunch Run this weekend, can be very helpful to keep you on track. Eugene/Springfield is a great area for local running events that are fun to participate in and get you introduced to the running community.

Diane has a couple of things she would like to share about her experience and feels they were very helpful when she started running:

  1. For the first month, I actually felt HEAVIER after I ran than before (too many things jiggling). But I also felt accomplished and that kept me going.
  2. I concentrated on breathing OUT more than breathing IN. If you empty your lungs, your body will automatically fill them up again.
  3. I used a mantra in my head whenever I got panicky about how hard I was breathing, how far away from my car I was getting or how much I wanted to yell at Megan for convincing me to run. My mantra was “Relax” and “Settle in”. Others might use words like “Fight through” or “Doing Good”, whatever keeps you going.

Do something healthy for yourself. Try a “couch to 5K” and get a friend motivated to go with you, because misery loves company, just ask Diane! You can put together new running routes with mapmyrun.com to keep it challenging and interesting. Anything to get you out there and moving. Running has never come easy to me, but I promise, it feels so good when you are done!

Heal to Live!

Megan and Diane