As a Charm City Run Training coach, Charm City has asked me to contribute to their training website blog. So, this is the first of what I hope will be many installments. In my attempt to keep you reading, I think I have to tell you a little bit about myself. Most of this is not an attempt to brag about my running, but it is more an illustration of what training properly can do for you and to illustrate how personal running can and has to be. And, because I think blogging has to be somewhat personal, I will get to how running has changed my life. I have been a long distance runner since about 2005. I got into long distance running by accident, which is to say my wife (girlfriend at the time) invited me for a long run and, like most men, I figured it would be easy, so I went along. A few miles in, I threw up….several times. After several years of running sporadically, I reluctantly agreed to go for a 7-miler with a friend. At the conclusion of this run, I experienced the “runner’s high” for the first time in my life. Within a year of this run, I signed up for and completed my first half marathon and my first marathon. I’ve run races ranging in distance from 5k to 50k (31 miles). I’ve begun and finished five marathons, bettering my time by more than 35 minutes and now have a PR of 2:53:19. Like most runners, I know all of my PR’s…but, let’s face it, marathons are sexy and most people care about marathons, so I will spare you the boredom of my other race times.
I am a self-proclaimed running geek. This means I care about running a lot…it also means, I’ve engrossed myself into everything running. I’ve read about training, nutrition, strength training, at one point, I became a personal trainer and I am now an RRCA (Road Runner Club of America) certified running coach. I love running and I love getting other people into running. I think what I like most about running it that it means something different to everybody. Runners come in all shapes and sizes. Some people get into running to lose weight, others to get in shape, and still others to stay in shape. Some people run races to win, others as a bucket list goal, and others to enjoy the experience. Personally, I run because I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy setting goals for myself and working (hard) to achieve those goals. I enjoy pushing my body to its limits and then pushing a little harder. One of my favorite things about running is – I think you get out of it what you put into it. I am one of the sick people who enjoy the process, not just the result. When I got into running, I traded one addiction for another (and, although I promised to get personal, I will probably leave it at that). I’ve enjoyed what I’ve learned about myself through running. You learn what is important to you, you learn how to suffer, you learn how to fail, and you learn how to triumph. I have met some of my best friends because of running. I have been brought to tears because of running, both tears of agony and tears of joy. I also thoroughly enjoy analyzing my thoughts while running. I have solved all of my problems (or at least I tell myself that), and most of the world’s problems….all while running.
Because this is going to be a blog for a running store training website, a lot of my posts will have something to do with training tips. But, one of the things I think it is important to convey to beginners and, well, to everybody….is that running isn’t always easy. You will have good days and bad days. You will have good races and bad races. You will have days when your easy four miler just isn’t very easy. There will be times when you will feel great on a Saturday and, by the following Tuesday, you will feel like you’ve never run before. I think it is important to know that this happens to everybody. This is normal. I say this from experience. I run six days a week. I’ve run up to 88 miles in one week and I routinely run 70+ miles per week. The reason I’m telling you all this is – I have runs where I have to stop and walk. I have runs where I feel like I can’t breathe. I have runs where I feel as though I’ve never run before. It happens.
I will end my first blog entry by saying that I can’t express enough how personal running has to become. You can’t compare yourself to other runners. You can’t compare races. You can’t compare training plans. There is no one right way to get to the same place. You have to enjoy running for whatever reason. You have to remember that people who are faster than you aren’t better runners…they are different. People who run farther than you aren’t better runners, they are different. I will also tell you – this will probably be my last kumbayah blog post. I’m kind of a suck it up and do it kind of runner (and coach).