It’s Fall here in Munich and the colors are breathtaking. And not because I am gazing out of a window from the comfort of my own warm home, but because I am running around this city’s many paths and seeing Fall in full force everywhere I turn. When the wind blows, crisp, brown leaves fall onto the grass. Colors of orange, brown, and green that I have never seen in person are continuously invading my vantage points. It’s hard to not notice the beauty everywhere. It only adds that I am getting to see all of this while doing my favorite activity – running!
I took a full week off after my first marathon. I have no idea what you are supposed to do with a week off, but I guarantee any nutritionist would have been concerned with my candy and bread intake. I treated myself to some sweets, which isn’t that out of the ordinary, but the lack of exercise and surge of sugar turned me back into a downward cycle of “bleh.” I had previously decided that after a week of rest, I would jump back into my Runner’s High Club training plan to kick it all back into gear and start getting physically and mentally ready for the Houston Marathon in January. When Sunday came around though, I hardly felt like running. In fact I was dreading it. Suddenly running 3-4 miles sounded really long. And it’s never easy to leave a warm house to go outside into a 50 something environment in running gear. Needless to say, Sunday came and went without any running. Monday, I said, Monday I would start.
My schedule said to do a 4 mile progressive run, meaning you should gradually speed up with every mile, which I also REALLY didn’t feel like doing. I actually started to wonder why I even liked to run so much. Shifting my movements into auto pilot I stopped thinking and ended up outside, running towards a path along the river. Soon I wasn’t cold anymore and I naturally fell into a good pace. Approximately five minutes later, the fireworks were going off again and I was in love, with running. Every mile I ran was faster than the last and I didn’t want to stop. During this first run, I was thinking about how much thought went into breaking my rest-week cycle. Considering my obsession with the sport, I would have assumed it would be easier to dive back into my routine. Starting a new routine is hard, but with the temperature dropping and the leaves changing colors, Fall is easily the best time to get into running.
And so, here are the official Miles with Molly Tips on how to Fall in Love with Running:
- Define your “why” ahead of time. Set a tangible goal and think about why you want to achieve it. If the reason is shallow, it’s not going to cut it. Write it down somewhere. Mull it over and make sure the “why” still resonates with you at the end of the week. If you can’t stop thinking about it, then it’s going to be worth your effort to work towards! My first running goal was a half marathon in under two hours. The half marathon goal because I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of achieving something entirely new and outside of my comfort zone. The two hour time goal because I considered anything under that time to be fast and I wanted to be taken seriously. Years of feeling like the family weakling gave me the desire to prove myself.
- Create a plan. Don’t just throw out a phrase like “I’m going to run three days a week.” Pick the time and days in advance (and a back-up option for when life inevitably gets in the way). I found this plan through the NYTimes Running newsletter and think it’s a great way to make running seem less intimidating. This caught my eye because the author broke out how to build up run/walk distances over time. Love your smart phone? Check out the C25K app(couch to 5K). Peruse the plans to inspire your own plan!
- Find an Accountabilibuddy. Have you ever asked a friend to go for a walk/run around the park after work? Make dinner plans after? Odds are someone will see your plan is a good one and want to join you! If your friends can’t join you, tell them about your plan anyway and ask for some support. This sounds weird, but have you ever told a close friend anything like this before: “Hey, I have this new hobby I want to try out and I could use your support, even if that’s just asking how its going once a week?” Probably not, but can you imagine if you did? The answer is obviously yes. Friends typically like to help friends with their life goals, so cue them in.
- Commit to 3 weeks on the plan. You can do anything for 3 weeks, that’s only 3 Mondays. Write it out on paper or type it out on excel. After making it through the first 3 weeks, take a step back and think about how you feel about the whole run/walking thing. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you noticed any positive changes in yourself?
- Do you still have the same “why” motive and desire to work towards your original goal?
- Do you want to keep on the plan or make some modifications?
- If you still hate it and got nothing out of the experience, then I’ve failed you…
- Races are for Everyone. To fully immerse yourself into the love of the sport, registering for a fun run is a great way to kick off your love affair. I say this with caution because you don’t want to run a 5K or (insert distance of choice) without adequate training. If you overdo it you could injure yourself and then you’ll be back in the “bleh” cycle in no time. But, races are really fun and the best part is, most 5K’s are run and walk friendly! It would take you roughly an hour if you walked the whole thing with zero pep in your step and most races have a post-race party with breakfast, coffee, and music. There are worse ways to spend an hour of your day. If you are new to running and want to get the feel for a race, sign up and see what it’s all about. Treat it as a training day on your schedule and run/walk at a conversational pace. Or if the race you sign up for is the goal of your training and you have done said training, then sprint your heart out and give it all you got!
But wait, there is more! It’s a month before Thanksgiving, which means there are the beloved Turkey Trots occurring across the nation. It’s simply just fate. Find a fun run close to you and sign up yourself or your entire family to run/walk. I will personally be doing the Katy Family YMCA Turkey Dash and I am pulling in as many friends and family as I can to share the love with.
Based on my subscriber locations, here are a list of cities and their local fun runs:
Chicago – Turkey Day Run Chicago near Lincoln Park
Southwest Michigan – Twin Cities Turkey Trot near Benton Harbor
It’s cuddling season, so put yourself out there and try your hand at falling in love, with running.