Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 2 - A Cheering Section is Necessary

The biggest obstacle I've faced in the past is a lack of motivation. I get pumped up to be a runner, but don't picture the interim goals. So when I fail to turn into Steve Prefontaine the first time I head outside, I give up pretty quickly. That's where three things have been a huge help to me. The first is having a plan - by starting with my couch potato to 5K plan, instead of having the general "I want to run" thought, I can tell myself "Today, I will alternate 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking and it will only take me 20 minutes plus my warm up." That's more manageable to me, and I can't find as many excuses not to do it.

The second is having goals - I know that I want to run in the LBI 18-mile race in October, and if I don't start running now, I won't be in good enough shape to do that. In talking with a friend who's been coaching me, he also suggested that I pick a 5K to do at the end of my couch potato plan. That's a short-term goal that's helping to motivate me too. I've decided to do the 5K at the Giants Draft Day party, which my brother-in-law will be joining me for too. Knowing that I have to run 5K in 2 1/2 months is a good reason to get up in the morning and get moving!!

The third thing is the most important for me, and that's having a cheering section. If I'd kept my plans to run to myself, I would be able to find excuses not to get up and run pretty quickly, and no one would be the wiser. I'd be letting myself down, but no one else would know. So I posted about my running on Facebook and Twitter, and emailed my brother-in-law to commit to the 18-mile run in October. Doing that has given me a pretty great cheering section.

After day two of running, I had comments on my Facebook page like "Keep it up - you are doing great - all progress is made one step at a time!" and "nice. stick with it." My best friend told me "I am proud of you for doing it." My brother-in-law sends me funny and motivational emails. And my "coach" has been checking in daily to give me tips and encouragement - "Keep with the program. You are doing great!" When you know someone is going to be asking you if you ran that morning, it really makes you want to get up and do it, no matter how sore you are! Having both a cheering section and accountability has helped me to stick with the plan (yes, even though it's only day 2 - my lack of motivation can be THAT strong!).

For the actual run/walk of day 2, it was both better and worse. I felt less tired when I was running than I had on Monday, but since my muscles were so sore, it was a little bit more painful. But the weather was beautiful, and once I was warmed up, I felt pretty strong and proud of myself. My muscles actually felt less sore by the end of the day! Now I've only got one more day of running in week one, before I ramp it up in week two.

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