Wednesday, February 11, 2009

There's An Athlete Inside...

This morning I tried a new variation to my schedule.

I woke up at 7, before everyone else and got out the door to the gym. By 7:35, I was on a treadmill starting to work out. I walked/ran for 30 minutes...I call it "wogging" because I'm not really running at 5 mph. Lol. I walked about 20 minutes and I wogged for 10. But I can only run for 5 minutes at a time. I suck.

None of my clothes fit anymore. I've only gained about 10 pounds from last year at this time, but it's enough that I'm uncomfortable. So, I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.

I want to be a runner. I do. But I hate every minute of it. Period.

I don't know if it's because I haven't given it a fair shake, or because I just talk myself out of it. Either way, I need to figure something out. I like being active. I enjoy many other activities. So, the plan is to get to the gym and do something at least 3 days a week. Hopefully, I can build from there.

As I walked through the parking lot to my car this morning, I realized that I felt good. If for nothing other than sanity, I need to do this. For me. If nothing else, it clears my head.

So, any tips on running? Will I ever love it, or is it something I'm just going to hate, but suffer through?


  1. does your gym have tvs? do you have an mp3 player with music to listen to?

    I like to run. i don't love it, but i see the best results with it. my gym has tvs all over the place so if i can put on house or law and order, i'm usually distracted enough to get through the run.

    or if nothing is on tv, i use music that makes me want to dance (i stink at dancing, no one wants to see that)

    Awesome job hitting the gym though! I'd say start slow. Give yourself credit for getting there and running. once you're comfortable try going a little longer or a little faster.

    maybe once a week try to add a few more minutes or another few tenths speed?

    hope that helps :)

  2. I dislike the treadmill but LOVE ellipticals (I hate the pounding noise of the 'wogging'). Ellipticals will also save your knees in the long run. Also, don't forget to do some muscle machines because muscle burns three times more calories than cardiac. My hat is off to you!

  3. I tried to be a runner on the treadmill once in my life (many years ago when I was in a size 10). I hated every minute of it.

    I do really like ellipticals though. That I can do (and my knees like it better too) lol

  4. i got nothing but support for you!

  5. I don't love the treadmill, but I have come to LOVE running outside. I think the "better" you get (I am VERY slow, but by this I mean longer distances) you just may find yourself loving it. There's a great site called mapmyrun dot com where you can plan a route and it calculates the mileage for you. That might be a motivating factor like the treadmill, where you get to know exactly how far you went.

    Also, have you thought of joining a group to train for a race? Our city has a big 10k every spring and the club that puts it on also has training groups to help people get ready. Sometimes a great motivator is just knowing someone is waiting for you.

    I hope you come to love it!!

  6. Hmm. I consider it a good day when I run at what my treadmill thinks is 4.5 mph (though the nike+ thinks it's more like 5.5 to 6 mph), so if you are managing to walk at 5 mph, that's quite a feat!

    I don't know what to say about hating every minute of it. I loved running pretty much from the get go. I built very slowly into it and was doing a couch to 5k program, only I pretty much did every week's program twice before moving on (so I took 18 weeks to complete the 9 week program). I'm a very "statistics" motivated person, so seeing myself run farther and faster each week really helped with the sense of accomplishment- are you using some sort of system or did you just hop on the treadmill and go?

    I ask, because, dude. Running for 5 minutes at a time is a huge step! I think on my program, it wasn't until week 6 that I began running five minutes at a time. The key really is to push yourself, but gently, so if 5 minutes kills you every single time, cut back to three minutes (or less). Just set yourself a steady pace, run your three (or five or whatever) minutes, and walk for 3-5 minutes, then run again, until you've done about 30 minutes of exercise. Then next week, increase the running time by a minute or so, and possibly decrease the walk time in between.

    Also, I absolutely could not run without my iPod. There's a race coming up that forbids headphones "for safety reasons", and I will not be registering for it because of that (I mean, seriously. Are they forbidding deaf people from entering the race? And if not, then why does it matter if I can only hear my headphones? Grr.). Also, I have the little nike+ doodad that I rave about all the time. I love being able to see such precise progress. And I love the training programs they offer.

    I never thought I would be this way, but I am really driven by metrics. I, too, have the athlete inside, but for me, the competition is with myself. I need to have a goal to achieve. I need to have a set of stats against which I measure myself. Some people are like this and some people aren't, but I never thought I was like this, but by trying a training and tracking program, I found out that I am.

    Running outside can be a great change of pace if you feel that the treadmill is boring (I don't), BUT, if you have been running only indoors, prepare for your times to SUCK when you go outside (that, enough, was motivation for me to continue to run indoors. Well, that and coldness outside, plus horrid allergies and asthma, both of which are aggravated by outside air). I would recommend sticking with the treadmill for now while you are building your pace and figuring out your general stride, etc., but if you're at a gym, I presume they have fancy auto-incline changing treadmills with programs, etc., so do some hill or speedwork occasionally to mimic the road (if you ever plan on running outdoors- otherwise, you can skip this until much later when you are trying to build speed or strength. I'm only now fussing with the incline on my treadmill because before it just wasn't necessary). That said, at least give road running a try, once or twice. In good weather, I will do a run every couple of weeks outdoors (so H and I can run together).

    Also, I second the idea of finding a running group, but only if you feel good about it. I, generally, haven't found that I enjoy running with other people. I feel flabby and out of shape (even though I'm really not), I feel pressured to do what I don't want to do, plus I just prefer to be inside my own head when I run, so running in a group forces me to actually socialize, which is not an aspect of running that I enjoy. Like I said, I prefer to compete with myself. I don't like to talk to anyone while I run (though I certainly have been known to sing, and loudly...).

    So. In summary, here are my recommendations:
    First, if you aren't already, start using a program like any number of couch to 5K type things (This is the one I used). Even if you feel too advanced, just start from the beginning and pace yourself. You will be a better runner for it, and before too long, you will definitely be easily running much farther than 5 miles.
    Second, find what motivates you, and do it! If music does it for you, then do it. If tracking metrics works for you, then do it. If you are motivated by social pressure, then join a group. If you are bored by treadmills, try outside. Just see if there's any aspect of running that makes you like it more, and do that. I am so ritualized in my runs, it would make some people sick, but I like it and it works for me.
    Third, you must not ever again use the words "I suck", because it's simply not true. You have to motivate yourself and instead, I would say WOOHOO!!! You ran for five whole minutes without stopping (see my blog archives from last summer where I typed that exact sentence. Seriously.)!!! You got up at (what, for me, is) the crack of dawn, got out of a warm bed, got dressed, got in your car, drove to the gym and got on a treadmill. I cannot do that, even still. If I didn't have a student schedule and a treadmill blocking my view of the television in the bedroom, I might never have started running, 'cos mornings just don't do it for me.

    So. You can do it! I know you can! Look at what you've done already!

    And seriously, anytime you need advice about being a beginning runner (which I still am...), I'll be glad to share whatever I know. You can email me, or just drop me a comment on my blog (email is on my blogger "about me" page). Best of luck, but I know you don't need it- you'll do just fine!