Monday, November 5, 2012

Run When You're Not a Runner

Good morning!  Hope you're recovering well after the storm and its repercussions.  In case you missed it, last week on the blog we had a Motivational Monday, a (Paleo) Recipe Book Review, and the final post recapping the Live Lean Eat Green Photo Challenge. Be sure to look back on those!

Today in our running series, we've got Erin guest blogging about her experience running, as someone who is NOT a runner!  There was a day when I was not a runner, either, but she and I are both living proof that change is possible.


Hey everyone! My name is Erin and I am a vegetarian blogger over at Girl Gone Veggie. As a fellow FitFluential Ambassador and huge Dare You To fan when Meredith put out the call for guest bloggers to share their running stories I was really excited. I am not what I consider a runner, but lately I have been running and I LOVE it.

For a little bit more background about me, I am 22 years old, a senior in college majoring in marketing, and a year-long vegetarian! I started my blog Girl Gone Veggie last year to share my life and my journey to health with the world. If you knew me when I was younger you would have never guessed I would become a vegetarian later in life. While I never ate a ton of meat I hated fruits and most vegetables until I was 18 years old. I ate a lot of fast food, didn't live a very active life, and it showed. Last year I made the decision to start thinking critically about what I was putting into my body, and whether those foods benefited or hindered my health. I banned trans fats from my life and started eating boatloads of fruits and veggies. It's crazy to think I now crave them. To fill you in on how I got started running is pretty simple. A few months ago I had a serious urge to get in shape. (Getting engaged does that to you!) I wanted to create a cardio workout routine I could follow regularly, so I headed to my school gym for the first time. I surveyed all the cardio machines and took stock of my options. The stairmaster isn’t very exciting. The bikes always make one of my knees feel funny, like I can’t extend it fully. I never have knee problems so this is very odd to me. The elliptical always feels easy to me. I get in a great workout when I do it and sweat a ton, but I never find myself having to pull strength from somewhere deeper to get through a workout, to really push myself past my comfort zone and just keep trucking.

And then there’s the treadmill. The treadmill I have always avoided because it hurts. Running doesn’t come easy to me, I was always towards the end of the pack running the yearly mile in school and I would end it winded and hurting. I have friends who are amazing runners and I never understood why they put themselves through it. To me running is pain. One of my best friends is a running beast. As she told me running is the sport that is every other sport’s punishment. When teammates goof off or disappoint a coach they’re made to run laps or sprints. If you run, that’s what you do all the time. Running always seemed crazy to me, but I was serious about getting in shape and figured pushing myself to become something better should hurt. So I swallowed my pride that day at the gym, got on the treadmill, and worked on putting one foot in front of the other.

I knew before I did anything I needed to get fit with good running shoes so I did some research and ended up purchasing the Saucony Omni 11s.They are so comfy and perfect for my feet. I need a little support and stability when I run because I'm a slight overpronator. Other than buying shoes I didn’t really have a plan when I started running. I knew I could run for the length of a song before getting winded so I made a deal with myself. I’d run fast for one song and then speed walk the next. Everyone has ways of working out that work best for them, and for me giving it my all for one song at a fast speed and then getting to give 50% and decrease my speed for the next song worked. There were times I’d be running praying for the song to end. There are still songs that when they come on and it’s my run song I dread because I know they’re ridiculously long. But it was an attainable goal for me, a challenge that was hard but wasn’t so hard I couldn’t do it and wanted to quit. And it distracted me from looking at the time and the mileage. I just focused on running which was so important because for me my mind is half the battle. I love running on a treadmill. I’m out of the sun, in an air conditioned room, in a safe environment where my speed is able to be consistently set for me. There’s no cars, no cracks in the sidewalk, no rain or bad weather. I know most runners hate treadmills, but for me and the stage I’m at with running, I love them. Something that I knew from the get-go is that if you don’t play with the treadmill machines they can be a lot easier than running outside. Outside runs involve hills and inclines that you don’t experience if you run on the treadmill at 0% incline. So I never let myself do that. I set my treadmill to the hill mode or the variable mode, depending on which gym I’m at, so that my incline is always varying, regardless of whether it’s a run or walk song for me. 

I am not training for a marathon or some athletic event (although I’d love to be able to run a half marathon someday!). I’m simply running because the more I run, the more I like running, and the more I like how running makes me feel about myself. My running regimen was not created by a trainer and isn’t scientific in any way, but it is working for me. I’ve been running for almost two months now and I have made incredible gains and progress. I used to be happy with running a mile and I can now run longer than a 5k. As I get faster (this is relative; I am still not a fast runner) and feel my running becoming easier, I increase my walking song speed and my running song speed. I’m always adapting and always changing my workout to suit my needs which is keeping me interested and passionate about what I’m doing. I’m sure this will change within a few weeks, but my current running routine looks like the following: Running duration: between 30-45 minutes (depending on if I’m weight lifting afterwards) Running frequency: 3-4 times a week Running song speed: 5.5mph Walking song speed: 4mph Incline: varies between 1-6% Running is just like everything else, if you do it enough you eventually get better. I started off running the speed I’m now walking. It’s also gotten a lot less painful for me. My breathing is much more controlled and my face is a lot less flushed when I run, though I still sweat buckets. I find my legs feeling stronger and my mind much more focused than I ever did before. I may not be a runner, but I am running. And even though it’s on a treadmill, rather slowly, for pretty short distances, it’s still me getting out there and putting one foot in front of the other. And to me that’s all that matters. And that's where I currently am in my running journey. Thanks for letting me share my story with you. And a big thanks to Meredith for sharing her space on the internet with me!

Question of the Day: Do you consider yourself a runner? What type of running do you do?


Thanks, Erin!  You and I are similar in a lot of ways; I really related to and enjoyed reading your post. 

Dare YOU to follow her lead! You don't need to be training for a race to begin a running routine. Just get out there! Hit the road or jump on the treadmill, and just move your feet. You might surprise yourself! 


  1. YES!!
    it's as simple (and as hard :-)if youre me) as stepping outside...



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