How to Become a Runner Overnight 

It all started in a weight room. As I grunted and strained under the guidance of my favorite training partner, she pitched a curveball my way (as if convincing me to deadlift wasn’t insane enough).

We should go for a run around Wash Park,” Heather suggested.

My response? “Ha, okay. Good luck with that one.

Because here’s the thing: I’ve never been into anything remotely involving cardio endurance. I lived for years under the strict rule that I don’t run unless I’m being chased. Why run when you can walk instead?

Reluctantly, I laced up my too-small sneakers and met my four-woman training crew near the pond at Washington Park. I felt almost sick with dread – I already hated running, and there was no way I’d be able to complete this 2.5 mile circuit around the park.

Then something unexpected happened. My feet began to hit the pavement in a rhythmic pitter-patter, my lungs filled sharply with cold Colorado air, and my entire body woke up from a hibernation I didn’t realize I had been in. I hardly made it a mile before I need to pause for fear of my body bursting from exertion – but within seconds, I wanted to run more.

So I did. And then I ran again the next day. And the next.Running at City Park in Denver, CO.

It seems that I’ve become a runner. In a few weeks I went from being allergic to running to acquiring four pairs of running shoes, signing up for the BolderBoulder as a sponsored participant, and even doing a photo campaign for a major nationwide running brand.

So how does one become a runner overnight?

You just run.

In four short days, I’ll be running my first race. The BolderBoulder is the Front Range’s most beloved 10K – a true community event where speed doesn’t seem to be quite as important as having a memorable adventure while cruising through the streets, down slip-n-slides, and past live music. For once in my life I didn’t let my pursuits become encumbered by logistics or gear or personal limitations – I just put on shoes, and ran when it felt good. Some days, it didn’t feel so good, so I didn’t run. Becoming as runner has been one of the most organic recreational experiences I’ve ever had.

I’m no expert, but if you too have the itch to feel your feet slapping trails, here’s some rookie advice:

  1. Drink a lot of water. The #1 piece of advice for anyone doing anything outside. Hydrate.
  2. Invest in proper running shoes. I ran in too-small sneakers, hiking boots, and even hybrid water/trail shoes before realizing how important proper footwear is. Now that I run in Adidas and Skechers shoes, my body feels better, my feet feel better, and frankly, I don’t look like such a noob.
  3. Start with a friend who will pace you properly. Turns out, I have an issue with running way too fast. Luckily, Heather is an excellent pacer and taught me how to run slow. Because running slow = running further.
  4. Be mindful of your body. Running hurts, and your body will respond accordingly. I picked up runner’s knee within the first week, and had to tone it down while my joints got used to all the pavement pounding.
  5. Choose dirt over pavement. If you can, run on trails. I’ve found that it makes such a difference to run on soft surfaces instead of concrete. Not to mention the major upgrade in scenery when you go from a jog around the block to a jaunt through the trees.

Runners, what advice would you give to someone keen on the idea of dabbling with running?

Comments

  1. says

    YAY! So happy to hear the running bug caught ya 😉

    I was really into races for a while, but now I stick with running when I want, as far and fast/slow as I want, and welcome walking breaks whenever. I realized how fun running was for me when I stopped trying to be so competitive.

    I wish the area I lived in had more trails, but unfortunately it’s mostly pavement for this girl. Unless I run on the beach, which as wonderful as it sounds, is miserable! I need to work at it though 🙂

    The right running shoes is #1, glad you found a pair that your feet like! Can’t wait to hear how your race goes!

  2. says

    Isn’t Heather the best?! Though I have yet to run with her (she always asks me to!), she definitely influenced my decision to start running. I, like you, never ran before unless I was being chased. “What do you have to lose?” Heather always insisted. So I tried it out last summer. This year, I’ve been slacking, but as the weather warms up, I hope to get in many more runs. Great rookie tips and congrats on the Bolder Boulder!

  3. says

    That’s how I started too. Just go out and run. Though I did get a little shove from the doctor telling my mom she was diabetic and that I should eat better and exercise because it was genetic.

  4. says

    I know the feeling. It is weird when you have the thought, “I don’t have to stay here, I can keep moving, doing, seeing,” and all of a sudden you itch to get up to do something and running becomes something that lets you do that often.

    Hurt my knees so I haven’t been able to do any running for 2 months, but just took a bike ride today and that did the trick!

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