Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation here and on their blogs — asking questions of each other and responding. Others are absolutely welcome to join the conversation, as well. Learn more about the ladies of Blogversation 2012.
Today’s question comes from your Blogversation hostess, Colleen: @cnewvine on Twitter.
My husband, John, and I recently started running.
Neither of us was especially excited about this decision.
To be honest, we’ve only gone a few times and we’re still doing a mix of walking and running, so it might be too early to tell if we really like it, but I think it’s fair to say it’s not a hobby we were enthused to pick up.
John’s tried running before, even went to a good sporting goods store to have his stride analyzed so he could get the right shoes for the way he runs. He didn’t fall in love.
I’ve been pretty vocal about disliking running. Basically unless I was being chased by a tiger, I couldn’t imagine anything that would motivate me to put that much pounding on my ankles and knees.
Then I turned 40. And the sad, sad truth is that as we get older, our metabolism slows down. I could either cut way back on how much I eat and drink or find a way to burn more calories.
Since I really enjoy eating and drinking, I sighed as I laced up my running shoes.
Our first few run-walks weren’t as bad as I expected.
We’ve been trying to go for walks when we get up in the morning so we were already getting used to getting up and out the door. So it wasn’t a huge struggle to find time for exercise. And even the running itself didn’t feel as awful as I expected.
Years ago, I interviewed a researcher at University of Michigan who studied self talk — the way we process what we’re experiencing in life. He said some people exercise and think to themselves, “oh, this is hard, it doesn’t feel good, I’m not good at this, I’m sweaty and that’s uncomfortable …” Others feel the same signals from their bodies and think, “I’m challenging myself and that’s great, sweating and breathing hard mean I’m pushing myself to be stronger and healthier, I’m getting better at this all the time …” Those who interpret the physical signals of exercise as positive tend to be better athletes.
I decided to approach running with as much positive self talk as I could.
I acknowledged to myself that I haven’t done cardiovascular exercise regularly in a while so it’s OK if I can only run a few minutes before I have to stop. That doesn’t mean I’m a failure as a runner. Just a beginner.
When my knee started to ache, I shortened my steps a little and noticed it felt better. Then rather than using that as an excuse to quit, I committed to asking some runner friends how to strengthen my knees. (now in my morning exercise routine: squats and lunges)
And as we ran through the park on the East River, with the Manhattan skyline just over the water, I enjoyed how it felt that my husband and I were taking care of ourselves, together, in our Brooklyn neighborhood. I liked that people walking their dogs saw us as a couple on their morning run.
I don’t love running yet. But I love that we’re making an effort together.
Are you a beginning runner, too? Here are a few resources: