I get asked all the time “How do I start running?”, “I want to be a runner, what do I do?”, “How did you get to where you can run marathons?” Honestly – running has always just been a part of my life, even when it wasn’t me that was running. I grew up with my dad religiously running EVERY. DAY. Rain or shine, 0 degrees or 110, sleet, snow, hail…didn’t matter, he ran. When we got old enough, it was the highlight of the week when my brother, sister or I got to ride our bikes alongside him. I always thought I was doing my Dad a favor by keeping him company while he ran – back then we didn’t have cell phones, music or podcasts to stay entertained (and safe) while on the road. Later on, I realized that was a total joke. My dad pushed me up so many of those hills, still running the whole time. Then I’d FLY down the hill and look back thinking I should slow down and wait for him and he was right there the whole time. LoL. I totally slowed him down and he only let us come so that we could spend time together and he could share his love for running/fitness/living an active lifestyle. When I get asked those questions, I tend to think “Just go run…Just do it.” (Thank you Nike) It’s easy!
After I ran the NYC marathon last November, I knew it was time I take a break from running. I was burnt out, fighting injuries and just tired. But outside of running, I didn’t know how to stay fit, in shape and active. I was a little lost and all the sudden sympathizing with all the people that had asked me “How do I start??” My husband, Matt convinced me that I needed to try getting into the gym and “lifting.” I’ve definitely spent time in the gym over the years, but only for stuff that would contribute to my run training. Lots of self weighted stuff, stretching, etc. Actually lifting weights was foreign and intimidating. Matt wrote out a work out for me. I did it. It was awkward, not super fun, painful and the next day I couldn’t move. I told him something was wrong. I did something wrong, I don’t know what I’m doing and this hurts, I had back surgery I’m scared I’m going to hurt myself…. We have a home gym, but if I had been in a public gym, I would have added “everyone is looking at me” and “I looked stupid” etc. His response “you’ve never done this, its going to suck a little, keep going.” I reluctantly kept going, thinking he was crazy. Eventually it got better. I was getting stronger and less sore. I realized that my answer “just go run…just do it” wasn’t enough. It has to be followed up by “and keep doing it!” I think so often we doubt what we are actually capable of and quit before we really get started! Don’t get me wrong – If you are new to exercising, easing into it and being cautious is definitely a good thing. If you feel pain in your joints or something that you think really can’t be ok, go see your Dr. But if it’s just muscle soreness, you’re going to be ok – keep going, stick to it! It sucks, sometimes real bad, but it will get better!
Moms – I know you’re exhausted. There are soooo many things on your plate and working out, as much as you would like to, just seems like too much to add. I get you. I had 3 kids in 3.5 years. While we are now in a much easier phase than some of you might be, there were and probably will be times that it takes a back seat. But I try to think back to those bike rides with my Dad and how it taught me sooo much as a kid. What we make a priority in our lives translates into what our kids make a priority. For us, teaching our kids the importance of being healthy and active is something that is really important and it’s a HUGE part of what motivates me. That doesn’t mean you have to be in the gym every day or run a zillion miles…If you’re in one of those “I can’t take anymore” phases, go for walks with your kids or jog beside them as they ride their bike, play ball in the yard or let them “workout” with you in the living room while you follow an exercise video. I promise you it’ll be worth it and you’ll be thankful you did!