When I first started running it really did make me cry. And whine. And complain. And shoot threatening looks at Jesse when he made me run up long hills. And tell him he was evil.
When I first started running I thought it was going to be easy. I had run casually in high school. I had been the captain/member of a dance team for five years. I was "fit." When I started running again I was working as a Flight Attendant. I had stopped dancing about 8 months earlier because my schedule was impossible to maintain with performances.
So when I stepped out the door, and decided to do a three mile run I expected to do that without any problems. Oh boy, was I in for a shocker! I made it approximately 4 blocks before I took a walking break. I ran/walked for 2 miles, and I was absolutely irate that I couldn't complete the run the way I expected to.
My husband, Jesse, is a runner. He can run an 8K in the same time I can run a 5K. He set all of the running records at the university where we got our undergrad degrees, and they have a giant picture of him hanging up in the lobby (see picture below). He get's embarrassed when I tell people that, but I'm proud of him. He is in our University's Athletic Hall of Fame for his running accomplishments.
To be honest, pure stubbornness got me through the initial start of running. I set lots of mini goals along the way. My first goal was to get 1 block further before I had to walk, with my "long term" goal being able to go one mile without walking. I kept using the same running route so I could clearly see my progress. Every time I got an extra block without walking I felt successful. It didn't take long until I was able to make it one mile without stopping.
My second goal was to be able to run for 20 minutes without walking. Once I accomplished that I built up to running 30 minutes without stopping. These mini goals made me feel like a successful runner. I didn't need to compare myself to anyone else. I just had to focus on improving my own performance.
Now I have run three 5K races, won one trophy and placed in the top four female finishers overall at a race. I went out yesterday and ran 7 miles, and felt like I could do 7 more without a problem. Did I become a runner over night? No. It took a lot of hard work and building. Running started as something I dreaded, and only did because I was unwilling to accept that I "couldn't" do it. Somewhere in the process it became something that I enjoy. It relieves stress, and I want to get better at it. Up to this point I have not done any speed work, because I enjoy running at a comfortable pace, for a long period of time. Running fast hasn't really been my thing. I want to improve my 5K time, so that is going to change.
This was my running schedule last week:
Saturday 7/14: 5K Race 23 minutes and 55 seconds.
Sunday 7/15: Treadmill 5K 23 minutes and 29 seconds. Followed by a running/walking cool down for another 1.7 miles.
Monday: 3.5 Mile easy run at a light pace for 34 minutes.
Tuesday: Threshold run. 3.5 Miles alternating 5 minutes at light pace, with 5 minutes at moderate pace for 30 Minutes and 49 seconds.
Wednesday: 3.2 Mile easy run at a light pace, 30 minutes.
Friday: 6 Mile Run at an easy pace for 55 minutes.
I am building my mileage, and will be adding some speed work in the hopes of improving my 5K time. Jesse says that at my current level of fitness I should be able to do 21 minute 5Ks. Thus far I have been completely content to find a comfortable pace and stick to it. If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you, so it's time for a change and a new challenge.
If you have any tried and true techniques for improving your 5K time feel free to share them!