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Health & Fitness: Believing in yourself is first step to start running

Health & Fitness by Kristin Overland

 

Have you ever wanted to run a race, or maybe even just run around our beautiful Fountain Lake, but didn’t know where to start? I didn’t start running until I was 25 years old. In six years, I’ve run thousands of miles and learned a lot about long distance running.

Kristin Overland

Whatever distance you dream of running, here are a few pointers to get you started:

Believe that you can be a runner — no matter what type of body you have, whether you are tall, short, overweight, young or old. If you set your mind to something, you will achieve it with hard work and dedication. One of my all-time motivational quotes is, “the body achieves what the mind believes.” Whether it’s an 18-mile run in the rain, or a short speed work out, your body will follow your mind’s lead. Don’t let negative thoughts stop you from going the distance.

Set goals for yourself. If you would like to run a 5k or around the lake, pick a day that you would like to do that, and work toward that. The first race I ever signed up for was a half marathon. I wouldn’t recommend starting with a long-distance run, but signing up for an event holds you accountable. If you pay for a registration, you will definitely want to be there.

Invest in good running shoes. I learned the hard way that shoes are so very important. I was experiencing knee pain and learned that I needed a more neutral shoe than what I was wearing. Visit a local sporting good or shoe store and ask them for their advice. Avoiding injury is key to enjoying running and being able to maintain a healthy routine.

Break bigger goals into smaller ones. If you are out of shape and starting to run is scary, that’s OK! Pick a point and run to that. Maybe it’s just the end of the driveway, a tree or light pole down the road, or the end of the block. Repeat that distance until you can easily make it that far. Then go farther. Run, then walk until your heart rate has recovered, then run again.

Find someone to support you, whether it’s a friend who you know enjoys running, a virtual running motivation group or a personal running coach. It’s vital to have someone to talk to about running, to give you advice and encouragement. Remember that everyone had to start at some point. Everyone goes through phases of being highly motivated or not wanting to run at all. Give yourself grace, but do not give up.

Determine the motivation behind wanting to run. Whether it’s to get in better shape to be more active with your kids; to live a longer, healthier life; to deal with anxiety or depression; or to spend more time outside — or a combination of reasons. Remember your why when you’re feeling tired and wanting to quit. Keeping track of your progress with an app will help you see the time and distance you’ve invested and show how you’ve improved, giving you reasons to celebrate along the way.

For me, my greatest motivation is my daughter. “Strong like Clara” is what I repeat in my head when my legs are starting to give out. She has been through a lot, including two heart surgeries in her two years of life. Thinking of that helps me to push through. I’ve also learned that I am a better mom and wife when I’ve taken the time to do something for me during the day. I can be more focused, more productive and more patient when I’ve done something for myself first.

As parents and employees, we give so much of ourselves that there is little left sometimes. Running has given me something to work on and look forward to. I have fallen in love with the process of training. The buildup of miles and seeing what my body can do. There are not many things as adults that can give us the feelings that crossing the finish line can: pride, fulfillment, gratitude, joy, satisfaction, triumph and accomplishment.

If you’re not interested in running, but would like to start doing some sort of physical activity, I would recommend starting with simple body weight exercises. Just like progressing from the end of the driveway to the end of the block, you can start with just a few reps and build from there. A few ideas would be push-ups, tricep dips, squats, lunges, sit ups and a timed plank. Push yourself a little bit farther each day and see how far you can go.

Whether you want to run a mile, or a marathon, remember that believing in yourself is the very first step.

 

Kristin Overland is a wife and mother of two training for her third marathon.