Thursday, December 29, 2011


 I was a late bloomer.
While nearly everyone around me had taken up the hobby of running, my big butt was glued to the couch watching re-runs of The Newlyweds on MTV.
I mean, I'd occasionally dabble in the sport of running, but it never went further than a couple [miserable] runs.
My attempts at becoming a "runner" were often road blocked by one thing or another:
too hungover from the night before, too tired from studying all night, lack of confidence, lack of motivation...
The list of excuses went on and on.
But, to be honest, a big part of me never took to running because I thought I was bad at it.
In high school, I was the punk who WALKED the mile which was a requirement for every student's annual fitness assessment.
Yeah. I would never be caught doing that today. Ah, high school.

Anyway, with the encouragement of friends (primarily my college roommate, Frankie), I made a commitment to myself to give running a chance.
Without excuses.
I wanted to be a good runner.
I knew what I had to do. I had to practice running to be a good runner.
I wasn't a natural Olympic gold medalist runner (and nor will I ever be!).
So, I started small (about 1 mile) and worked my way up to longer runs and even ran a half marathon in 2010.

BAA 10/10/10 Half Marathon

Even today, I am by no means a "great" runner, but I'm sure as hell better than I was in high school.
And I'm not even a diehard, life-long runner like my college roomie, Frances.
I'm practically a newbie in the grand scheme of things.
So, so what if I'm not running as fast as I'd like to be?
I'm RUNNING! I'm doing something ACTIVE! And it's FUN!

Looking back, running was my gateway into the world of fitness and a healthier lifestyle.
Running got me off my ass and into shape.
(There is a lot more to "getting in shape" than just running, but just the act of being active helped push me in the right direction)
 I just needed a little help from friends and a little reality check.
And after running for several years, I've accumulated a couple tips I've learned along the way that I'd like to share with you.

Just in case you too need a little help from a friend.
(or, for the seasoned runner, these are just some things I've learned along the way -- maybe they'll help you too!) 

LM's Top 10 Running Tips:
  1. Pace yourself. Start slow and gradually pick up the pace. You don't want to end up exhausted half way through your run.
  2. Invest in a good pair of sneakers, it will truly make a huge difference. If you're from the Boston area, Marathon Sports specializes in finding you the right running sneaker. Frankie recommends Fleet Feet as good resource for people outside of the Boston Area.
  3. Try running outside -- it's fun and certainly more entertaining than the treadmill. Take in all the scenery around you.
  4. Before hitting the road, map out your run with online apps like Knowing your distance before heading out will help you pace yourself and you'll be more likely to stick to your plan.
  5. If you run the same loop everyday, try switching it up. It's good to shock your body with a new running loop!
  6. Make sure your belly isn't full or empty: wait about 1-2 hours after you eat before hitting the road.
  7.  Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. It's hard at first, but after a while it becomes meditative and almost second nature. Also, inhale through your belly (not chest) when you breathe.  This article talks about belly breathing.
  8. It may seem counter-intuitive, but if you need a break, don't stop completely -- just slow down to a manageable pace.
  9. Watch your posture. Don't slouch forward, keep your head up and shoulders back, pick up your knees!
  10. If you find yourself at a brutal hill, repeat the mantra: "NOBODY BEATS YOU UP THE HILL!" (Frankie, the true diehard runner, taught me this one. Thanks Fran!)
Happy running!


Frances said...

So proud of you, Lo! Welcome to the runner's club.

Love you,
Frankie (your college roommate)

Stephanie @ Ultra Ambitious said...

Love these tips! I think the key to any fitness plan is just to have fun. Because at the end of the day, if your not having fun then what's the point? Glad you're lovin' running :)