Saturday, August 23, 2014

Learning to Run Happy: True Confessions From a Netflix Loving Diva

So, it's been quite some time since my last post and while my little blog may be feeling neglected, it was for a good reason.  For the last two and a half months, I decided to start another exciting challenge.  The challenge?  Pushing myself to get myself off the couch, away from Pretty Little Liars on Netflix, and go outside and run.

Now I've always been a petite lady and probably haven't grown much since the seventh grade so exercising for me wasn't really a priority, but that doesn't mean I felt great on the inside.  With the day to day stresses of learning to be an adult, exercise can be a great stress reliever.

In past years I have tried to take up running.  I would run a little over a mile around the block, get back home and want to die.  Those running days didn't last very long, until earlier this summer.  Near the beginning of June I met two of my high school friends for dinner and we began discussing running.  I mentioned how I really desired to experience that, "runner's high," that so many long-time runners rave about.  My friend suggested the Couch 2 5k program to me to help me run longer distances without wanting to fall over afterwards.

A week later, I purchased the Couch 2 5k app for my phone and immediately hit the road.  This program takes new and in-experienced runners from being a non-runner to running a 5k or 3.1 miles in nine weeks.  The program I chose was three, thirty minute workouts a week.  You begin slow with one minute intervals of walking and jogging.  Throughout the weeks, you lessen the dependency on walking to build up to all running.

Those first few weeks were rough, getting out of bed at 5:30 in the morning to complete my workout, but it was a great feeling coming home from work knowing I was done with my run for the day.  For the first time, I stuck with this program and completed every workout as scheduled.  And guess what? I learned to love running,  I remember being terrified for the first workout without any walking, but it was a great feeling to complete the workout!  Over the nine week program I went from barely making it past the one mile mark to running almost four miles at a time.

I just finished the Couch 2 5k program two weeks ago and have decided to take on the next challenge of building up to a 10k.  While I haven't signed up for any official races yet, I hope to complete my first 5k soon and potentially run a half marathon a year from now.  I look forward to running each day and have finally experienced the infamous, "runner's high."  Sometimes, the first mile to two miles of a run can be painful, but something happens after that point and you just run.

Another added benefit of running is the wardrobe!  I didn't own one piece of active wear in my already overcrowded closet, but that quickly changed the more I got into my running.  The right pair of running shoes can make a huge difference in your running as well.  When I knew I wanted to stick with running, I invested in a pair of Brooks Glycerin 12s.  These are a neutral running shoe with great arch support.  

Below are a few of my favorite items for running that I've discovered on my running journey...

Left to right...
1. Brooks Utopia Thermal Hoodie II-While it's still too warm to run in this jacket, I purchased this on sale directly from Brooks for fall and winter running.  This jacket comes in four colors and is rated for 40 degrees and below.  There are also several nice details on this jacket such as thumb holes, an inside pocket for your phone, and a slit in the hood for your ponytail!

2. Nathan QuickDraw Plus Water Bottle-This all-in-one water bottle is great for longer runs on hot days.  The handle is snug and sturdy.  The front pocket is great for holding your phone, keys, ID or a small snack.

3. Brooks Glycerin 12 Running Shoes-I basically only owned athletic shoes from Kindergarten through my Senior year of high school.  After the age of 18, high heels became my shoe of choice.  When I began the Couch 2 5k program, I ran in an old pair of Nikes I purchased over five years ago.  I told myself if I stuck with this running program, I would treat myself to a real pair of running shoes, so two months into the program, I purchased the Glycerin 12s.  They are like running a cloud, not to mention they come in really appealing colors.  For someone like myself with high arches, these shoes fit like a glove.  I plan to purchase another pair of these same shoes once my current pair are worn out.

I'm looking forward to continuing this running journey and sharing it on the blog.  If you've ever considered taking up running or tried to run without much success, I would highly recommend the Couch 2 5k program.  To read more about the program visit their website here.

Until next time...