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How To Be Successful...When Trying To Become A Runner

It was back in 2007 when I first decided I was going to try to start running. I wasn't a stranger to exercise by any means. Prior to running, I would work out at the gym by: lifting light weights, and trying different classes. My machine of choice for cardio was the elliptical.

Even after considerable time spent inside the gym, and outside participating in activities like: swimming, biking, and hiking for some reason I was still never happy with the outcome. I blame it on dance and tennis. As a dancer, I always had muscular thighs, and no matter how I worked them out they would never (to me at least) look slender like I wanted them too. Tennis didn't help either. The constant stop and go, lunges, and sprints up and down the court for hours was bound to build up some muscles. (I wish I had a picture of how jacked I looked after coming home from a Nike Tennis Camp where all players were scheduled to play 9 hours of tennis every day. Yikes.)

Anyway, I can't remember how the idea ignited within, or how I decided to do it, but on Easter after eating buckets of candy I realized I needed an exercise evolution. I had heard about the multiple benefits of running from so many people. How running can:
  • Slenderize your entire body, because it works many muscles at a time.
  • That it helps to break down bulky muscles into lean muscles.
  • Burn tons of calories. (About 100 every ten minutes for a 150 lb person)
  • Is great for reducing stress.
I also heard some of the negative impacts running has on the body:
  • It can, over time, really impair your joints (especially your knees) because of the constant impact with the pavement or treadmill. 
  • If you don't have the correct shoes, or the correct stride it could also cause complications in ones joints.
I weighed the pros and cons and decided it was something I was willing to try out. I'm a firm believer in moderation, and slowly conditioning yourself. Although as a teenager I had issues with my knees, because I grew too tall too fast, I recognized that if I were to build the muscles up around my knees, while I started to run that I would be less likely to cause myself an injury. So I incorporated light weight training into my new gym routine.

There was still another obstacle I had to overcome. From the time I was 8 until I was about 18 I had been prescribed inhalers for my asthma. My asthma was brought on by severe allergies, but as I grew up I also grew out of my allergies, and out of my asthma. And although I no longer suffered from the asthmatics cough I still had never exercised my lungs from cardio like many other kids.

So, with some semi-terrible knees, and the lung capacity of an asthmatic I set out to run my first mile. Great start right?

Now, I am not going to sugar coat it. After my first run I was panting like a dog left out in the sun for too long, and my chest felt like it was on fire-burning from the unfamiliarity of it all, but I did it. I completed my first mile. From those humble beginnings I am now able to run up to 17 miles in one run- the most I have ever attained. Many people ask how I do it because they want to start to run (Or, they just think I am nuts).
But if you want to be a successful long distance runner here are some tips that have worked for me:

1. Start slow. I started with one mile, every day, for one week. Then for my second week I ran one mile and a half. For my third: two miles, For my fourth: three miles. I stayed at each interval long enough, and only upped my mileage when I felt comfortable to do so.  

2. Don't force it. Yes, you can force yourself to run four miles the first day, but truth be told the people that I see who do that won't run the next day. What helped me condition myself was that I ran small amounts three, then four, then up to six times a week. Then, I incrementally upped my mileage.

3. Distance first, then time. If you want to be a long distance runner don't worry so much on how fast you are going at first. You can always condition yourself to be faster. There are a lot of people who can run a 6 minute mile...for one mile, but not so many who could run 6 miles total. If you want to run more than one mile, and it's your first time slow down your speed. Try running at a speed of a 10 minute mile and see how many miles you can run.

4. Once you can run 4 miles you can run 6. I know it sounds strange, and you may say "6 miles no way". But many runners will tell you they have a mile they struggle to reach, but once they reach it they can attain more miles. For me, when I was first starting out and had been running for about two months the third mile was always the toughest, but then the following three always flew by.

The main reason why I run now? I love it. It is a great way to relax, and escape. When I put on my music and run my tension or any anxiety I had been feeling gets left on the pavement. I hope these helpful tips, and my story has helped any of you interested in trying to run feel empowered to do so.

Like always stay lovely,


Editor and Curator of

Dusk & Rubies

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