by Anna Stein
(New York City)
My First Half Marathon
After a long on-again, off-again relationship with fitness and going to the gym, I began to realize that I needed more than just a goal of being fit and healthy to motivate me to workout. I needed to find a way to enjoy the journey at least as much as the destination.
That’s when I started running. I began running on the treadmill with the hopes of training for a marathon, but I realized that even then, the goal was too far away. I needed to make running itself fun. So I started running outdoors, entered into some shorter races, found some running buddies, and before I knew it, I was in love with running.
Since then running has helped me loose weight, get in the best shape of my life, and it has given me a great sense of accomplishment after running two marathons and many half marathons and shorter races.
But more than that, running itself has become addicting to me. Running gives me an incredible amount of energy, I’ve learned to experience what we call the “runners’ high,” and I’ve had the chance to meet some great people through my runs.
Running saw me through a fit pregnancy, my running buddies who became some of my best friends threw me an awesome shower, and now I enjoy running with my baby while pushing him in the jogging stroller. He enjoys the ride, the fresh air, and I enjoy knowing that I am setting a great example for him and he will grow up being accustomed to and enjoy running and thus he won’t have the same struggle with his health that I did in my earlier years.
Starting Out Small
To get started running, you don’t have to be an incredible athlete. You can start at whatever pace and distance you are comfortable with. The important thing is to have a good time.
Here are a few tips to get you started with running. Start slow, if it becomes hard for you to breathe, switch to a slower pace. You should be able to carry a conversation or even sing, while you are running, though I don’t recommend this because it can be exhausting.
Something that you may try is what we call the run/walk. You can start out running for two or three minutes, then walk for a minute to catch your breath, then run another 2-3 minutes, then walk for another minute and continue this throughout your run. This helps to give you more energy so you can run for a longer distance without wearing yourself out.
It is also important to run at a slower “warm-up” pace for the first ten minutes of your run and then stretch when you are finished running. Both of these will help you avoid injury.
Pick a Fun Race
Finding a race to participate in makes running more enjoyable and it is also a great way to meet other runners. Anyone from a single runner to the whole family can enjoy running in a race.
You don’t have to be a fast runner or an experienced runner to run in a race. You will find runners running anything from a 15-minute mile to a 5 minute mile and everything in between.
To find a race to participate in, check with your local running store, or search online by looking for races in your area.
You can find more tips, motivation and helpful advice for the beginning or intermediate runner at running-mom.com. Happy Running!