How I Got Into Running
Running! Once an activity I dreaded beyond belief, to an exercise I actually pay hundreds of dollars to participate in once in a while. I was one of those people who tried running several times in life and hated it more and more every time I attempted it. I always felt like running was this necessary component of weight loss — as if no other cardio option would be as effective.
I also had this bad habit of trying to run a whole mile head on, as opposed to slowly building endurance and strength to actually teach myself how to run properly and avoid injury. I always set myself up for failure, and gave up before ever giving my body the chance to experience a true love for fitness. It's kind of weird how we sometimes take drastic measures because we are so desperate to shed the shame of our weight, that we cannot fathom the idea of taking it slow.
When I began my weight loss journey, changing my diet and eating habits was the number one priority. I focused on nutrition and decided I would tackle exercise after I developed a better relationship with food. So for the first five months, all I did was make an effort to move my body more, which happened to be in the form of long walks. I would walk to work, get off a subway stop early to get more steps in, or take a stroll around Central Park on the weekends.
After I felt comfortable enough to start this part of the journey, I started running — very slowly. I downloaded the C25K app and began training on the treadmill. The program is set in a way to help you gradually get into running, and each session is about 30 minutes long. So this might include a 5-minute warm-up, 20 minutes of alternating between walking and running, and a 5-minute cool-down (the app will tell you when to walk/run). Each week you run a little more, until you can complete a 5K (3.1 miles). You can also repeat weeks/days if you feel you aren't quite ready to progress to the next stage.
And that's how it happened! I made the effort to really try — by going slow and setting small goals, I found that I actually love running. It's therapeutic; nothing clears my head more than listening to my headphones, hitting the pavement, and enjoying the outdoors. I've now competed in multiple 5Ks, 10Ks, and two half-marathons (and signed up for the Disney Princess race again next year!).
But something I want to stress hard here is that you DO NOT need to run to lose weight. If you try, and find that you just don't like running, do not force yourself to run. Fitness is about finding something you genuinely enjoy, and it should be a way to relieve stress and have fun. Maybe your thing is spinning, or Zumba, or strength training. The point is, running should not be this daunting burden in your life.
Running across the finish line for the first time is exhilarating, and you might even find yourself addicted to the success and pride that comes with it.