Runnin’ Down A Dream

What makes a runner? Is it how fast she runs or how much time she puts in to the sport?

Some might disagree, but in my opinion, it’s not the speed that makes a runner. It’s the effort.

Don’t let the name “runner” intimidate you even before you attempt to become one. It’s not a name reserved for those who clock in under 8 minutes in the mile run. You can be a runner.

Just follow John Bingham, my marathon-running hero, who is known to enjoy life in the slow lane. Can a runner have a “blazing” pace of 12-minute miles in a race? You bet.

* * * * *

A quick disclaimer: Before you set marathon goals – or any fitness goal running or whatever – consult a physician.

* * * * *

I wasn’t born a runner. I’m not naturally fast, either. OK, I’m not fast period. But, I became a runner.

I used to play soccer in high school, but I let myself go in college. When a dear friend of mine saw me after a few years post-graduation, she gently advised me to take care of myself. I tried running the next day and made it about 2 minutes. Ouch.

It was 2004, and I set a goal that year: I was going to run the Chicago Marathon in two years. But first, I had to become a runner.

The first thing I did was find a manageable plan to get me to a respectable fitness level. Amby Burfoot wrote it, and the guy is a running legend.

It was slow going but I became a runner.

Another great beginner plan to check out is by a well-known running coach, Hal Higdon.

It’s a 30-minute, 30-day plan. I like its simplicity and the fact you are obligated to walk in it.

Take a look at these two plans. Does either look like something you could do?

To my running friends, how did you get started?


About kareiner

I'm an active mom who loves to cook. I'm passionate about health and fitness. I'm no expert, nutritionist, personal trainer or miracle worker. I just like being active and I like good food.
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5 Responses to Runnin’ Down A Dream

  1. Jennifer G. says:

    When I was in college I wasn’t being very active and my friend and I were complaining to our runner friend that we were not runners and we did not enjoy running. He told us that nobody likes running until you start doing it and suggested that we try running for a month and he was positive that we would learn to love it. And if we didn’t then we would really know that we didn’t enjoy running. So we both decided to try it and he was right. We felt great and we enjoyed our talks while we did our morning runs. I definitely recommend giving running a try. 🙂

  2. Kevin Reiner says:

    3 specific events led me to be a “runner”. First of all, about 5 years ago I ran a 5K that benefited the local YWCA. I didn’t think I’d have much of a problem with it, but I was huffing and puffing after only 1 mile. The thought of quitting entered my mind more than once. But I fought through and walked most of the way back, finishing with a mixed feeling of accomplishment and terror.

    The second event occurred a couple of weeks later. I had a regular checkup with my doctor and he told me I was very close to being considered obese. This blew my mind. Thirdly, my future wife Kim (also the author of this blog), was training for her first marathon with Team in Training, and I accompanied her on her trip to Honolulu for support (and it was fricken’ Hawaii). It was an amazing trip, but I had difficulty just running from vantage point to vantage point to cheer her on. I think I only ran maybe 4 miles that day, but I felt like garbage. Kim had little sympathy, and with good reason. One image that will never leave me is of a 85-year-old blind Japanese man, running with his guide, smiling the whole way.

    That was the last straw, and I decided that I had to turn my health around. So I signed up to do the Team in Training Lake Tahoe Century Ride. With the help of some great coaches, mentors, and friends, I completed that ride smiling. A couple years later I decided to give this running thing a try and ran the Chicago Marathon with my nephew Jake. It was extremely difficult, but I made it. Its one of my proudest accomplishments because I never considered myself a runner.

    And today, I’m still fighting the fight. I am hoping to accomplish a half iron-man this summer. Kim pushes me everyday to be better, and I appreciate the hell out of her. I don’t know what shape I’d be in had we never met. I still have a stellar beer belly from college, but it is slowly shrinking. My advice is to find a good plan and focus on what you need to do each day. You will slowly see great improvements. If you think about the long term plan too much you’ll just get freaked out. And my last bit of advice – you are stronger than you think you are. Much stronger.

  3. Kelly Robinson says:

    I’m not a runner…..yet. I will make it there though. My goal this spring is to prove to myself that I can do it and prove my husband wrong by finishing a 1/2 decent time. And just to say I did it, I’d like to do a mini-triathlon this year too. It would be great to say that this year I was able to lose 100 lbs because I trained for 1) Trek up the Tower, 2) a 1/2 marathon and 3) a mini-tri.
    I know I can do it and with the inspiration of those that are going through the same rigourous training as I will be for those 3 events, we’ll rock it!

  4. Ticha says:

    I had a friend in college who consistently asked me to join her in her workouts, sometimes running. I was pretty overweight at the time and confused by her invitations. I had had always thought of myself as the ‘brainy’ one, not ‘athletic’ and up until then I thought they were mutually exclusive. She got me into the 5Ks. Team in Training got me into the fun stuff – full and half marathons!

  5. I didn’t think I would like running. I’m a cyclist and the years of pedaling has taken a small toll so I decided to try running in my off-season to help the muscle imbalances I have due to cycling, as well as the hope it would strengthen my core.

    I’ve been at it off and on since October. I had some euphoric moments like jogging through my old neighborhood where I grew up. I’ve also jogged at night and on hiking trails. I like that I can get a run in when time is tight, like running over my lunch hour. I work downtown so it was fun to run the boardwalk at the river front. Another first!

    My first love is the bike, but I think having running in my back pocket will ultimately make me a more balance athlete and it’s something I can do with non-cycling friends.

    And for those still on the fence, my coach had me start out doing only 30 minutes where I had to alternate walking for 5 min. and then running for 1 min. I did this for two weeks. Then I walked for 4 and ran for 2, for another couple of weeks, and so on until I could run for an entire 30 min without stopping. From there I just kept adding onto the overall time. It worked. I didn’t end up having as much soreness and I didn’t end up hating it like I thought I would.

    Give it try!

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