I have a love/hate relationship with running. On one hand, or should I say foot, it takes everything out of me. It drains me in a way that not many other things can. It leaves me breathless and with my heart racing so fast that I think it might run right out of my chest. It leaves me at the brink of exhaustion and sweating so much I feel like I am literally melting. On the other foot, I realize that the reasons I hate it are actually the same reasons I love it. Running will reach right down to your “sole” and in the long run will help keep your mind, body, and health on track. Ha! Don’t mind my runderful run puns.
In all seriousness, there is no worse feeling than the struggle of running, fighting at every step to keep your pace and feeling completely out of breath and almost to your breaking point, only to be met with occasional shin splints and side cramps along your way. There’s no worse feeling than seeing how far you still have to go when you’ve already reached and exceeded your energy limit. Yet as much as much as I hate that feeling, I equally love the feeling once I finish. It is a literal high that it is very addicting. The feeling of accomplishment and pride in finishing such a depleting task is so gratifying. The rush of endorphins flowing through your body is worth all the work it takes to feel it. It is physically rewarding, but even more so mentally rewarding. There is such a great sense of victory being able to mentally overcome a challenge that you didn’t know you could; to push yourself over your limit and come out swinging like the fighter you are or training yourself to be; to break down any preconceptions that you weren’t strong enough to do it; to not listen to your body when it was tired but to let your mind carry you through. Yes, moms, these are the reasons to run. These victories on the track only prepare you for life’s big run. Its not only incredibly beneficial to your heart and health, but it builds up the mental strength to overcome life’s obstacles and in turn helps you be a better parent. It teaches us resilience and endurance, things that our children will see and model after us. So run. Run like Ryan Gosling is waiting for you at the finish line if you must, but just run.
I will be posting frequently about running, as it is a passion of mine and one I think you will find incredibly rewarding. The best things in life don’t come easy, but that’s what makes them so great, right? The sweet ain’t as sweet without the bitter. The best thing of all is that you don’t need a whole lot to get started. Mostly you need the will to do it. Other than that, some good running shoes, a good music playlist, and a jogging stroller for the children who will eventually become your extra source of energy on the track, your motivation, and your reason to succeed each time. Whenever you feel like giving up, just remember who’s watching.
I’ve compiled a short list that will help you get started. So read then go run. I want you running like a motha’!
- Find a good running shoe. Shoes make all the difference. Invest in a good pair of kicks. Do your research on the best type for your foot. My article on Running Shoes for the Sole will discuss this in more detail. This is a must in order to have the best running experience possible.
- Decide the best time to run. Planning your runs ahead of time will help you get into routine. If you wait until you just find time to run, its never going to happen. So decide if early morning or afternoons work best with your schedule. At the beginning of the week, decide what days you will run and stick to them.
- Download an app. There are hundreds of running apps to download on your phone that will help you track your progress, from how many miles you’ve ran to how many calories you’ve burned. This will also help push you to go a little further each time. You will see your endurance change within the first week. Don’t get discouraged and remember its a marathon, not a sprint. Allow yourself time to build up to your goals.
- Invest in a jogging stroller. If you are taking kids along with you on your runs, it is important to have the right kind of stroller. You can’t use a regular stroller to run. Do some research and find one suitable for you. You don’t need an expensive stroller. You can find many that are reasonably priced and do the job just fine. You can also search for lightly used ones in good condition to help with the cost, as well.
- Download a good music playlist. I can’t tell you how many times music has gotten me through a run. Music can make a big difference in your running. A good song can be enough to help you catch your second wind and get you to the finish. So make yourself a good playlist that you love or download an online radio station that plays the genre of music that pumps you up.
- Be safe! As you run, remember to take safety precautions. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water before and after your run. Stretch before-hand and do a light warm up, such as power walking, before starting your run. Be aware of your surroundings. I recommend running in a well lit area where there are plenty of people around. For extra safety, I carry mase with me.
- Sign up for a 5K. You don’t have to immediately do this, but many 5K runs are scheduled months in advance. So sign up for one even if it is 3 or 4 months away. It will push you to stay on track and motivate you to reach your running goals. Once you conquer your first 5K, it will motivate you to sign up for a 10K, then a half-marathon, and someday maybe even a full marathon. I have conquered all except the full marathon, but its on my bucket list.
Use these tips and get started and remember that no matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone else on the couch. You have to start somewhere and it all starts with you. So get on your mark, get set, RUN!