I can’t run. I need to lose weight first. I have joint problems. It’s too hot/cold/cloudy/humid/dry. I can’t afford the gear. I’ll look silly.
Sound familiar? It does to me. I thought up every excuse in the world when it came to why I couldn’t run. I even got support from some coworkers at my office gym last year. They told me that only certain people have the “right” body type to run, and other people will hurt themselves if they even try. They told me that you could really hurt yourself, and that it was just terrible on your joints. I listened, and I held those words close, wrapping them around myself and letting them buffer me from the winds of doubt. Doubt because I have a more critical mind than that. Doubt because I knew a lot of people who ran in one form or another, and they seemed to be healthier than ever. Doubt because these people sounded bitter, and bitter people rarely speak truths.
I let it sit and fester for a while, and then I decided I’d try it anyway. I’d just try it. I gave myself full permission to quit, to give up and walk away from the whole plan. So I got on the treadmill and I completed the first day of the Couch to 5K program. It was hard, but I did it. And then, the very next day, I found out I was pregnant! I was overjoyed, and I was also told to stop running. Since it wasn’t something I’d been doing for a while, I wasn’t allowed to keep it up during the pregnancy.
Thanks to cervical issues, I ended up spending five months of that pregnancy on strict bedrest. You have no idea what your muscles do for you, even on days where you just sit around, until you barely use them for five solid months. Just standing up was painful at first, and on my first day off of bedrest I made it a half hour before I had to be wheeled around in a wheelchair.
Now that my daughter is almost a year old (!) and I have finally gotten back to the exercise and healthy eating I wish I’d done all along, the old running conundrum resurfaced. I went to FitBloggin and I met hundreds of bloggers who ran. All shapes and sizes, all ages, all runners. I started to think that maybe I could do it. After all, I’d been working out more and more, and I was definitely feeling stronger. But I had no treadmill, no track, no gym… so I ran on the road in my hilly neighborhood, pushing a stroller.
Day one nearly killed me. I didn’t even make it past the halfway point. But I kept going. I got back out there and I tried it for day two, day three… and now I’m repeating that first week because it feels right to do so. I just completed my fifth week one run, and I am seeing huge progress. Not only can I finish the whole podcast now, but I am speeding up and feeling stronger. I no longer feel like I might die after I finish either. So next week, I’m moving to week two.
You can do it too. No matter what you look like or feel like, you can do it. Just throw out the “schedule” and do it at your own pace. If you have to repeat the first day/week over and over, so what? You aren’t alone. I am a first week repeater, and no one is throwing things or laughing. People are proud of me for getting out there over and over, and people will be proud of you too. I will be proud of you. So get out there. Give it a try, make it through the first week, and reassess. You might find that the swell of pride after completing a run/walk is addictive enough to keep you going. And if it’s not? Stop by Skinny Sushi and ask for help, advice, or support. I promise I’ll be your cheerleader.