Thursday, December 16, 2010

Running: It's Not That Hard, You Just Have To Be Patient

The other day as I stepped into the mud room after returning from a long day at the studio, I heard something really unusual. It was such a rare sound, that I actually had to pinch myself. Was it real? Could it really be? And yet, I kept hearing it. I didn't want to make any noise and possibly end the sounds of peace and harmony, so I slipped off my shoes and in socked feet gingerly reached for my camera phone. Like a panther stalking it's prey, I crouched and stealthily maneuvered around the island in the middle of the kitchen. I snuck up on the source of harmonic sound that was not unlike what the ancient Greek sailors must of heard when lured by the sirens with their enchanting music and voices. I was awe struck.

There, seated at the kitchen table, were my 10-year-old daughter and 15-year-old daughter working together on some kind of art project. Dumbstruck, I heard my older daughter say, "That's great. You're doing that much better than I could do." Followed by my youngest's reply, "Thanks, it's not that hard, you just have to be patient."

I snapped a picture to preserve this monumental moment. Being 5 years apart, and the older one just recently emerging from the demonic possession phase of 13- and 14-year-old girls, peace and harmony between the two is rare at best. Oh they love each other and if the youngest is the least bit bullied by a classmate, the older one is there in a heartbeat to protect and stand up for her little sister, but the day-to-day co-habitation has often been a little rocky.

You know running is a bit like the love/hate relationship of sibling love. And it's not much unlike what my daughter said about that art project, " It's not hard, you just have to be patient." I've seen both my daughters have the patience of Job with other friends and family, but with each other, the fuse can be a bit short.

Runners, especially new runners can often be impatient with results. They see other runners running with ease and want to be just like that. Kind of like wanting to be just like big sister. The thing is they haven't realized all that "big sister" has gone through to get to where she's at. On the flip side, sometimes experienced runners can forget what it took to get to their current level of running and may have unrealistic expectations for someone just starting out.

New runners need to realize that it takes about 4-6 weeks to acclimate to a particular distance and/or intensity. So, while they may be able to run 3 miles, it may take 4 to 6 weeks of running 3 miles before that 3-mile run becomes an easy run. Can you run further during that 4-6 weeks? Sure! But just remember that in that 5th week when you may be running a 4 or 5-miler, the first 2 or 3 miles may feel good, but the last 1 or 2 miles may tug at you. Why? Because you've run past what you're body's acclimated to. But, keep at it and in a few weeks, that same 4th or 5th mile that tugged at you will feel good and it will be the 6th or 7th mile in your run that will be tugging at you.

Another good rule of thumb for new runners is not to increase the overall weekly mileage by more than 10%. So if you've run a total of 15 miles one week, the next week, try not to increase the total mileage by more than 1.5 -2 miles. Making small increases in your weekly mileage will help reduce the chance of injury. 

One of the biggest mistakes new runners often make is falling victim to the "feel-good syndrome." The feel-good syndrome occurs when you're out on a run and your at 5-miles (to which you've acclimated to) and you feel so good that you run an extra mile. (That's fine.) But then you add a 7th mile. (Probably okay.) But it doesn't stop there. Before you know it, you're at mile 10. Doubling your mileage (even if you feel good) can really tax the body and set you back by taking longer to recover the next few days. Just because "Big Sister" ran a 10-miler doesn't mean you're ready for it yet. Remember that she worked her way up to 10 miles too. She didnt' just start out running a 10-miler.

Whether you're brand new to running or training for your 10th marathon, remember what my wise 10-year-old told her big sister, "It's not that hard, you just have to be patient."

If you're in the Greensboro, NC area and thinking about running for the first time, I'd love to have you join my next beginning running group. The 12-week program begins on January 11th. For more details [click here.]

22 comments:

Teamarcia said...

Hooray for beginning runners! It's still hard for me sometimes but wow the payoff is enormous.
Hooray too for sisters that get along--I know all too well how fleeting that can be.

RunnerDude said...

Happy Holidays, Marcia!!

Lauren said...

I absolutely agree, patience is the number one aspect a runner needs, not only beginner runners, but even long time runners. With running, I found that patience slowly grew. It wasn't something I just had, it had to "happen" to me. (And it continues to "happen" to me)

Thanks for a nice post!

Merry Christmas!

RunnerDude said...

Thanks, Lauren. Merry Christmas to you too!

Andy Bowen said...

Nice post,patience is indeed one of the keys to successful ultra runs.

I think you could just make one slight change as I first read it as "It's not that hard, YOU just have to be" and sometimes I think that is true too.

RunnerDude said...

So true, Andy. Sometimes, you do just have to "be" and enjoy the moment good or bad. Thanks!

Chanda M. DeFoor said...

Good reminder to be patient!

ChrisWojoMI said...

When I'm going through those miles that "tug" at me, I constantly remind myself that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But I was dedicated enough to lace 'em up today, and I was the one who put on the 3-4 layers to run through the Michigan winter, and I will be stronger, leaner and faster by getting through these rough miles.

...now, if only I can figure out how to get my kids together at the table like that!!!

Jen said...

Good reminder even for those of us who have been running a while. Patience is a hard thing for those of us with short sided vision. I'm glad your daughters were having a moment of peace. That's really great!

The Runner said...

Good Advice RunnerDude!

Julie @ Hotlegs Runner said...

I love this post! Thanks for the reminder. I do sometimes sneak in an extra mile to my long run just coz I feel good that day which only resulted to my injury before my marathon. Luckily, I was able to recover. Yes, I have learned to be patient. =)

Kerrie T. said...

This is such a good post. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Last spring, I hurt myself 4 weeks before my first marathon and was unable to run it. I cried and stuff and whined on my blog.

But looking back...I'd only been running for about 9 months. No wonder I got hurt. I did too much too fast. I didn't build a base before I started my marathon training program. What a noob!

Anyway, this time, I am taking things veeeerrrrrry slow. I've lost a little weight. I'm doing more strength training. I'm starting to see the results of being patient. :)

RunnerDude said...

Hi Chanda! Patience is hard, but new or seasoned, it sure comes in handy.

RunnerDude said...

Hi Chris, you definitley are a lean, mean, running machine!

Getting everyone to the table is not easy, but we try really hard to have dinner as a family. It's funny, if life get's busy and we're scattered here and there, the kids will actually ask for a family dinner. I think it adds some stability and calm for them.

RunnerDude said...

Hi Kerrie! Sorry to hear about your first marathon experience, but sounds like you're doing great now! Keep it up!!

Melyssa said...

Love your blog.

Patience is something I am always learning. Especially when I injured my toe. I would try to run and it would hurt so I had to step back and let it heal for over a month!

Now it's healed and I'm starting to run again. Slowly building up my distance and endurance once again. It will be all worth it in the end.

RunnerDude said...

Hi Melyssa! Yep, it will be well worth the wait. I was laid off of running for almost 4 months once with a heel fracture and it just about killed me, but I did as the doc told me and when I did return to running, I was stronger and had my best running season ever.

Detroit Runner said...

Great post for beginners!

RunnerDude said...

Thanks Detroit! Great reminder for the seasoned too.

wendy said...

Sweet and so, so true. For experienced runners as well as new! Thad, it has been fun watching your business grow. Too bad you're not in Minnesota, I'd love to have you as my coach! : )

RunnerDude said...

Thanks Wendy! That means a lot. Hope you guys have an awesome holiday!

Sara said...

Great article. My training group had it's first run of the winter season yesterday, and there was a large turnout of new runners - it was awesome! This article really speaks to me as I will be helping them along their journey to 13.1 and need to keep these things in mind myself! I've only been running about 2 years, but I am helping this season make sure that no one gets left "behind." What kind of training group do you run? That is SO COOL! If I was near you, I would definitely come check it out!! :) You have a lot of good advice worth listening to! Merry Christmas!