Last year, I got reinvested in running. I’ve always been an ok runner, but never particularly great. I’d go out and run 2–3 miles at a decent pace, consider it a good workout, and be done. Then it’d get cold out, or rainy, and I’d go a few weeks (or months) without really running, and I’d lose a lot of my progress.
But, last year, as I mentioned, I got reinvested. I asked for cold weather running clothes, I bought new running shoes, and really started working with the Runkeeper app on my phone. I was trying to run at least 4–5 days a week, and then working up to a decent 4–5 mile run on the weekends. I felt pretty good about things, but I wasn’t really getting in better shape or improving my endurance or times.
Then I got sick. I traveled abroad, came back, traveled some more, and then traveled some more. I was sick for almost two months. After a couple doctor’s visits, I had finally kicked the lingering cold. It was time to get back out running.
I could barely run a mile; a slow mile.
I assumed something was wrong with me, so I went back to the doctor and had them check me out. They didn’t find anything.
Over the course of a couple of months, I’d regressed back to basically square one.
I remembered reading about Matt Cutt’s 30 day challenges where you do something every day for 30 days. Could I run every day for 30 days? A friend of mine had gone running every day for years, so I knew it was possible.
I started out slow—moderately paced 1–2 miles runs. I built up to faster paced runs. Then I built up to 3–4 miles. And that’s where I left it, because that felt comfortable.
My wife (who’s run multiple marathons) put it all in perspective one day: “Why do you stop at 4 miles? Why don’t you stop when you’re done? Why don’t you finish?”
It sounds stupid, but it really was a perspective shift for me. The next day, I did 6 miles. I took my 4 mile route and just kept going until my legs hurt.
I started aiming for longer runs on weekends. I signed up for a half marathon.
Towards the end of my 30 days, I aimed for a 10 mile run. It sucked, but I finished it. Since I’d been running every day, my pace for longer runs was close to my pace for shorter runs. For the first time ever, I was able to keep pace with my wife on a long run.
Why am I sharing this? Honestly, it’s to keep myself motivated to keep running. And, if anyone comes across it, maybe they won’t feel so daunted about getting started running.
There were a handful days I didn’t run more than .25 miles. Those were days when I didn’t run in the morning, got home, and just needed to get out to keep the streak going. I threw on my shoes and ran around the block. I think I averaged about 2.5 miles/day over the month.
The key: just get going. Don’t push yourself too hard. Just try to run a little one week, then run a little more the next week. Mix up city running with country running. Do whatever you need to just check off that day.