Running is an activity that is healthy for your body, mind, and spirit. It, like anything worth doing, can be tough to get started and to sign up for your first official race can be a daunting task. Many members of our team here at Gone For A Run are runners, some have ran for years and many are new runners. Getting to the 5K starting line is a journey, and one we have each experienced in our own ways. It takes commitment and determination, though the feelings of pride in your accomplishment as well as an improvement in your overall well-being after reaching that goal is something that is both rewarding – and something that never can be taken away from you. Want to know what it’s like to go from a new runner to the 5K finish line? Get a sense of the emotions, the struggles, the rewards – and advice to new runners by reading on for some excerpts from a new runner’s journal.
Journal Entry 1
I’ve decided to participate in the company 5K run this year, even though I haven’t ran that far since high school. It’s sort of intimidating, but I’ve found anything worth doing is also worth the challenges we face. I don’t know how to start, but I feel it would be a good goal for me since I haven’t been that active these past few years. Also, I would love to lose a few pounds and have more energy. I don’t know if I can do it, but I am going to try. Wish me luck!
Journal Entry 2
Okay… I’m going to get started. I’m going to do this. I joined a local beginner runner’s training group, and so far, they are very supportive. I can only run a few yards before gasping for air. I took their advice and I’m taking it slowly – and not getting discouraged. I’m now walking 20–30 minutes every day. Next week, I’ll start a mix of running and walking – one minute of running alternating with two minutes of fast walking, three days a week.
Journal Entry 3
As the weeks have progressed, I am able to do more running and less walking and it has even started to get easier. I also felt better – certainly, mentally, as I was overcoming obstacles I hadn’t realized I was actually creating for myself. No more of that – this is happening, and I can feel my body getting stronger and faster, while also learning (some more advice from more seasoned runners) to listen to my body and recognize when I can push a little harder or need to rest for a day.
Journal Entry 4
I can now run non-stop for 30 minutes. If you asked me four weeks ago I would never had believed it! I’m loving the additional benefits of slimming down, having more energy, and meeting great new friends. My training group has given me some valuable advice. Focus on going longer when you run and not faster. And go at the right pace. There’s a simple rule for that: if you can’t talk when you are running, you are going too fast. Running is about having fun and feeling good and not putting too much stress on your body. If you need to walk more at first or slow your pace down it will help you reach your goal more quickly, and minimize chances of injuries. Also, warm up with dynamic stretching before starting and cool down after the run. Don’t forget to eat well, hydrate, and get a good night sleep. Also, try to cross train at least two days a week, and incorporate yoga, biking, swimming, or other activities you like as well. It reads like so many rules, but it’s really helpful and makes a lot of sense when running.
Journal Entry 5
I’ve found I can run longer and faster than I ever have in my life, and I’ve been training for a few months. Will I be the first to finish the 5K? Highly unlikely… unless everyone else drops out. But I’m increasingly confident I will be able to finish, which is not something I would have said when I started doing this. I can’t believe I actually used the word “intimidating” to describe running, when, in reality, it’s using your body as intended – and having a good time doing so. My daily runs have become my “me time” and I find my head is more clear when I get home after a run and I’m already thinking about ways to make the next run better and more productive.
Journal Entry 6
I did it! My first 5K. And I finished! I proudly wore my first race T-Shirt and medal all day – I think I earned that right. I’ve never felt better and I’m already looking ahead to my next race. I’m going to stick with a 5K, and probably do a few of those before working my way up the race chain. 10K. A half marathon. A marathon. Those are all in my long-term plans, and while I won’t be ready to do them tomorrow, next week, or even next month, I will one day and that’s the important part. Running has just become a part of my life, to the point I look forward to my daily runs.
This is not an uncommon experience for someone who is just beginning to run. And once that first goal is reached, more often than not, yes, running does becomes a lifestyle. We have witnessed hundreds of runners using our Virtual Race Series as their first running goal. It is a great way to get started and motivated to run and get to that race goal. Check out the Gone For A Run Virtual Race Series and read all the motivational accounts at our Facebook page. Happy running – and don’t forget to share your success stories with us, either on the page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.