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How to start running

Running IS For You. How To Start And Succeed

Photo source Weheartit

Some of you already know Claudia: university pal, fellow traveller and unlimited (and very chatty) friend.  

She’s been featured in the past in my ‘Blogger of The Month’ series and she’s interviewed me in her own blog too which is a MUST read (the blog, not my interview). No need to say that she’s a very powerful (bilingual) writer. And she loves sports.   

 She, like most of us, couldn’t bear the idea of running, but just because of her innate stubbornness, she never really stopped trying and, eventually, achieved THE ultimate goal: she now loves it.   

 Running is a wonderful and very cheap sport that we all should try. I personally think it’s plain cruel but maybe I should just look up to my friend and try, really try, at least once in my life. Here I leave you with her experience, her tips and how to succeed.  

If something makes you happy, why don’t you do it?

By Claudia Lorenzo

I could say I run because I love it, but I wouldn’t be a 100% honest. Now I run because I love it, but the path to here has been a mixture of little funds, willpower and stubbornness.  

The first time I tried to run – ignoring that dammed ‘Cooper Test’ at school which leaves you wanting to murder Cooper and all his family – I tried to do in El Retiro. I didn’t even last a full song and many friends told me not to give up, that I could also try power walking. I’m not sure if this applies to you but I have a massive sweet tooth and walking up and down Castellana is not enough for me to keep fit. I need a ‘Shock Therapy’. I need to sweat. My mistake at the time was to talk myself into the believe that running wasn’t for me and stop trying.  

But then it came the lack of funds, the exile, emigrating, whatever you want to call it. I left Spain and that’s when I found out that gyms are expensive abroad so I thought the best thing I could do was to get myself a pair of trainers and learn, really learn, to run. I even looked for an online running plan to get started. My best score was twenty two minutes jogging with no breaks. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, they all ended up being too small, or that’s what I thought. I would go to and from McCarren Park, would go around the running track a couple of times under an 8am sun feeling how my heart was about to fail on me and then I would come back home to have breakfast – I would rather have food after running than throw everything up during training -. In LA I stopped running because, to be honest, my neighbourhood was quite ugly and I got all paranoid thinking of the amount of smog in the city and how little I was going to last without suffocating.  

In the end I came back home to Spain and I did the most illogic thing ever: I joined a gym and started on the treadmill. One of the most boring experiences of my life. Me being a bit insane made me ‘compete’ for the first time and run the San Silvestre marathon in my home city. To be perfectly honest ‘compete’ is a big word since, my friend ‘Vero’ and I, only managed to do the sad 5km in the hardest 35min of our lives. However though, I liked participating in a marathon. And I even loved more the fact that I got to finish it.  

In Edinburgh  I was lucky enough to move near the Meadows, a stunning park where I jogged, never more than half an hour, while it rained, snowed, the sun shun and the winds blew – a very Scottish custom -. And there’s where, going downhill, I thought for the first time – I never have epiphanies when going uphill – that running made me feel in peace in certain moments. Not long ago I had seen a quote in an article saying ‘If something makes you happy, why don’t you do it?’ and I thought that it would be very stupid to stop running which, sometimes made me happy, just because I couldn’t bear not to finish the run. It would come. But I stopped running again when the summer came.  

At the beginning of April I decided to put on my running shoes once more time. The first day I just thought “Let’s see what happens”. Twenty-three minutes later, astonished, I got back to my apartment. After almost nine months without training – even though I still practiced sports-, my body had endured running longer than ever. A month later I ran 6,5km for the first time without stopping to walk, without feeling intimidated by the slopes, without feeling on the verge of death by the time I got home.  

I run because I’m stubborn and because I had enough willpower to try again and because I need cheap training. But now I also run because I like it, because I feel better, because my body and I love each other better knowing all the things we can do together. I also run because of how I feel when I finish. It’s true that you run with your mind, but it’s also true that you run with your soul, with the joy provided by crossing El Retiro park at eight in the morning under the sun or the pleasure you get when running up Moyano slope (a quite famous and awful slope in Madrid, close to the park) with enough oxygen to recover your breath without needing to collapse on the floor. I run without thinking I’m running, amazed at the surroundings, appreciating the environment, the city, the countryside, the park, any place I’m running through.  

I run because I feel better with myself, because it clears my mind, because it fills me up with energy. But, above all, nowadays I run because it makes me happy. 

Three basic rules for girls who run:

  1. Good running shoes: even though I haven’t been able to spend money on those shoes that analyse your footstep, they will be my next acquisition. Running is good for you, as long as it is done with sense and good equipment. Whatever you’re wearing on your feet is an essential.
  2. Me being a girl let’s say… curvy, I give as much importance to my feet as I give to my boobs. There are two details that scare the Hell out of me and that I have read in running books for women. One, breasts that are not well supported can move up to 21cm while running. Two, they do not move in horizontal motion but in an eight-shape. It hurts to only think about it. Moral of the story: high-impact sports bras. If it’s your right size it will support much better. The only time I don’t use it is when I do Pilates.
  3. You always wear more clothes than you need. Don’t wear too many clothes. However, personally, I appreciate gloves during winter. There is nothing worse than running with cold hands.

 

Three books I recommend:

  1. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami: I have to confess that when I read he used to run double marathons I stopped for a while because I got tired by only thinking about it. But it is inspiring.
  2. Running Like a Girl, by Alexandra Hemsley: I started reading it in a bookstore and stayed there for an hour, unable to let it go, laughing by myself. I like that she’s someone who, before she started to run, she didn’t want to. The narration of her first marathon is invigorating.
  3. Mujeres que corren (Women Who Run, although I don’t think it’s translated into English), by Cristina Mitre: I just read it and it’s very useful for getting exercise plans, healthy diets for sportive people, equipment and so on. Very practical.

 

Will you start running like the wind? Are you already a runner?

 

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