Try not to laugh, okay? But I just signed up for half-marathon training.
I don’t run.
I have arthritis in my hips. I’m nearly asthmatic. I just don’t run.
And yet…I’m running.
Okay, let’s be real. It would be insulting to those who run to call what I’m doing “running.” But I’m out there. My legs are propelling me forward. I’m wheezing. It’s running, damn it.
What I want to say is this: You people who run? Stop lying. This is not easy, it’s not effortless, and you aren’t “slow.” I’m slow. You wanna know what slow looks like? Come run with me. Do not tell me you’re slow and then tell me you run an 8-minute mile. That may be slow for the Olympics, but it’s not slow.
Yeah, I’m even looking at you 10-minute milers. And you 12-minute milers. All of you can suck it.
Oh, I can run at a 12-minute mile pace. For about 8 minutes. Then I will die.
And the phrase “let your legs do the work” does nothing for me. Nothing. Either I don’t know what that means or you don’t know what that means, but it’s not helping me at all. I’m not running with my hands here. Of course my legs are doing the work. I fail to see how that’s making this any easier, unless you can devise a way that my lungs don’t have to get in on the party.
Also, that Couch-2-5K you’ve all been raving about? That is bullshit. I’m sorry, but that jump in week three or whatever where you go from running 3 minutes to running 12 minutes? That is not the stuff of couch potato land. And I’m not even a couch potato. And that’s on top of the fact that they pretend that you can do either the distance or time tracks and come out the same.
Let me break this down for you: If I can run at a 10-minute mile pace? You’re right. I can indeed run three miles in 30 minutes. If I am, however, a couch potato, I probably cannot run a 10-minute mile, NOW CAN I? So if I choose your time method (which is by far the easiest thing to do if I’m running outside and I’ll get to the evil that is the treadmill in a second), I’m just learning to run for 30 minutes and probably ending up about a mile from the finish line.
No thank you, sir.
Never mind the depressing fact that I could run for 30 solid minutes and still not cover three miles. Someone get me some happy pills!
Here are a few of things I have learned in this journey:
1. Save for a very few out-of-the-box thinkers, there is no one who knows what a “beginner” is in the world of running.
2. There is such a thing as running too slow, and it is killer on my calves.
3. When trying to run with someone else, it’s possible that you just might slow each other down instead of speeding each other up.
4. Not everyone was made for running. If you’re one of us (oh, yeah, I’m a BIG member), this will hurt more than a little.
5. Read up on running, but then find what works for you. This whole stop/start/run/walk thing? Ain’t my cup of tea. Also, I like distances not time. See above gripe about C25K.
6. The treadmill is evil. I am not a hamster and I do not want to run for 30 minutes and still be in the same place. No one ever ran a race on a treadmill. Grab your big girl/boy panties and hit the pavement. You’ll thank me later.
7. Get fitted for shoes. I’m serious when I tell you that shoes are more important than…well, pretty much everything. I mean, besides water and breathing.
8. Join a local running club. They’re usually pretty cheap, I think, and you could get some cool bonuses; coupons, advice, free races, etc. Plus, then you know there’s someone out there suffering with you (and if you think everyone else is having too much fun, drag one of your friends along). Having scheduled times to run with other people has helped me in the motivation department. Except on Saturday mornings.
If you think you might want to start running, it’s okay to start slow. Really slow. REALLY slow. Even if you can only run for 30 seconds, you can improve. And running is built with a beautiful reward system. Of pain. No, I keed. I don’t. It’s painful. But it’s easy to tell when you’re improving. A little more time, a little more distance, a little less feeling like death? Those things are all improvements, so reward yourself. With a massage, as all your muscles will be aching.
And not that you care, but this is my running plan (I’m starting today, so I have no idea if this will work, but I’ve tried all the “expert” advice and just feel like a failure):
- Figure out how long I can run at my natural pace (which is about a 12-minute mile).
- Run five days a week. Mondays and Fridays are for resting. Sorry, Christian God, I’m running on Sunday.
- Add one minute to my time every time I run, if I can. If not, at least run as long as I did the day before. (This will pretty much equal out to me adding on 1/4 of a mile a week, which is pretty typical, and it’s just easier to measure the time outside.)
- Walk the rest of the way, but do a full 35 minutes every time.
- Anything I run on the back end is just bonus, and will be done after the 35 minutes.
- Do this until I can comfortably run a 5K.
In two weeks, I will also be starting half-marathon training. I know that I can walk 13.1 miles, if I need to, so I know I can finish, even if I’m not a super duper runner yet. The idea of me training for a half-marathon is just…ridiculous. To me. But damn it, I am going to finish it, even if I have to walk.
WHO’S WITH ME?!
Oh, did I mention it’s over 100 degrees outside already? Yeah…death.