Personally….keeping up with the Pack

Natural born Runners – are they born that way?

Nike Women's Half & Full Marathon - San Francisco
Nike Women’s Half & Full Marathon – San Francisco

In April I signed up for the Lululemon Seawheeze half marathon with my sister. Good thing we were fast because it sold out in minutes.  Part of the attraction is that you get a cute pair of booty shorts and it seems more like a party than an actual run.  Anyway, we started training last month but I just had to take two weeks off due to an annoying asthmatic cough (and a slight back injury) which happened all an once. I managed to re-join the Running Room group last Sunday where we did a manageable 8K run (reluctantly chosen over the 10K group). While I was secretly happy that it wasn’t much longer than that, I did wonder if I should have pushed myself for the extra 2K. I just didn’t want to chance wheezing my way through the Seawheeze run in  August.  Then it occurred to me that maybe I’m not a natural born runner.  Some people just seem to keep up the steady pace without falter.  Others like me are unpredictable – sometimes I have tons of energy and feel like I can go even longer than the actual planned run and at other times I’m done after about 10 minutes.  What gives?

Starting out:

Practice patience, grasshopper. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a happy runner.

If you want to become the kind of runner who can’t wait for the next workout, it’s going to take time to get there. Truth is, the most common mistake new runners make is running too much too soon. For example, some new runners set a lofty goal to go couch to marathon in three months. Don’t get me wrong, it can be done. But these runners are more likely to spend their time in the “bite-me zone” of hurt and pain. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

I’ve seen way too many runners cross the finish line only to toss their shoes in the closet to collect dust because they’ve burned out by overzealous goals. Invest in running. Take your time to find the joy, and you’ll be a runner for life. If you are about to take your first steps, think about running 30 minutes straight in a few months (or a 5K event). With the pressure gone, all you need to focus on is putting one foot in front of the other. Set a smaller goal for your first running session. For example, aim to finish and go a little farther than you have to and complete your workout in a good mood. Set another goal for your second workout and so on, and so on.

50,000 people runners can't be that stupid can they?
50,000 people runners can’t be that stupid can they?  The Annual largest 10K run in N. America.

Consistency is the secret to success. It’s all about creating momentum.

I use to play with dominoes when I was a young girl, and I’d line them up on a table close enough together that when I knocked over the first one, the rest came falling down in a breathtaking sequence. This is exactly how running works as well. You want to maintain the momentum from one run to another to maintain a consistent progression. If you space the workouts too far apart, you begin to lose the wonderful effects of consistency (improvement). If you find yourself in a bind and unable to get in your normal 30-minute session, head out for a quick 15 minutes of running (or even a walk). A shorter workout is better than none at all.

Running is like life. It will have its ups and downs. Ultimately, it will come down to what you do on the down days that truly pays off in the long run. Be prepared to edit, tweak and modify to ebb and flow with life’s running interruptions. It’s not about perfection, but rather keeping your running momentum flowing.

I learned to run from a course - of course I did
I learned to run from a course – of course I did!

I like to get high: It’s the best part of running and it doesn’t happen all the time. It’s a euphoric state that is experienced by not only runners, but by anyone engaged in a vigorous workout.  Boxers and bikers have reported similar states of being, as have weight lifters, cross country skiers and rugby players.  The high itself is described as a feeling of well-being, to being one with the world or to a total out of body experience. It is typically related to longer periods of vigorous exercise rather than shorter, easier workouts, possibly due to the stress the body undergoes as the major muscle groups begin to run short on glucose. The experience of the high also seems to rely on the individual makeup of the runners themselves, with some experiencing it at 5 miles, while others must run 20 before the euphoric feelings kick in.

run1 (2)What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.    An intimate look at writing, running, and the incredible way they intersect, from the incomparable, bestselling author Haruki Murakami.While simply training for a New York City Marathon would be enough for most people, Haruki Murakami’s decided to write about it as well. The result is a beautiful memoir about his intertwined obsessions with running and writing, full of vivid memories and insights, including the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer. By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, relevant both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in athletic pursuit.

Available at

I won’t talk about what I talk about when I talk while running.  So there will be no book.





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