My Journey With Running
This year marks my first time trying to get into endurance running. Following a knee injury and 2 surgeries between 2017 and 2021, running was not an option for me without serious flare ups. I was noticing a serious lack of cardio in my routine, and did not feel particularly inclined to cycle beyond the dryer and warmer months here in Vancouver which did not leave too many options for some longer, low intensity cardio.
After navigating my knee rehab and undergoing my second surgery in 2021 to deal with the complication from the first surgery - I was finally able to run pain free.
Though extremely grateful that my body was finally able to perform the task of running, I soon noticed I didn't particularly enjoy it. My background in running and sports were never endurance-based. My experience with running in particular was as a sprinter having competed at the varsity level for the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay races. In other words, run full speed for the short distance between point A to B. Needless to say, the concept of pacing was completely foreign to me, and my initial approach to running reflected that. Through some trial and error and after following a more structured training plan, I comprised a few tips to share based on what has worked for me.
Tip 1: Keep it leisurely!
Especially if you’re new to running, pushing yourself to your limits right away will likely not be a sustainable way to start. I definitely had this issue while starting out but dropping the ego and slowing the pace has kept me motivated and helped my body respond well to the new activity.
I am incredibly grateful to live on the lands that I do and have access to such amazing green spaces. If accessible to you, I have found that picking a running route that cuts through parks or takes you on some nature trails is a great motivator to keep the pace leisurely. When I find I am pushing the pace a bit faster than I had planned, taking a quick glimpse at the scenery helps to slow things down and make the run that much more enjoyable.
Tip 2: Run for time!
Whenever I used to occasionally run, I would always have a set amount of kilometres in mind. This may work for some, but I found it only motivated me to finish as quickly as I could to “get it over with”. Going into the run with a time in mind has worked better for me and allowed me to adjust the intensity for the given day so that the run itself would be sustainable for the full time. Additionally, I also found that by allotting a certain amount of time for a run is a great way to seamlessly structure the workout into your day.
Tip 3: Find a running buddy!
Definitely a personal preference for this one, but I have enjoyed occasionally having a running buddy on my runs for a couple reasons, especially on my lighter pace days. One, it’s fun to socialize and share the experience with someone else. And second, if you’re aiming for an easier jog to start, having someone to chat with can keep you accountable for keeping the pace slower - if you can’t carry the convo with your buddy, you may be going too quick!
Just like with working out in the gym, having an accountability buddy can be a great way to keep you motivated and on track to meeting your fitness or health goals.