Sunday, September 16, 2007
1 Some Words of Encouragement For CT5K/Running Newbies
Hello there CT5K Newbies (& New Runners),
I'd like to give you some supportive words of encouragement!
First of all, pat yourself on the back for having the motivation to begin this program. What's important is, not how fast you're going or even how far you're going, but rather just the fact that you're getting out there & doing it! Every small step counts, no matter how much of a struggle it might seem to be in the first few stages! Every day you do this program, you'll feel a little bit stronger, a little bit more motivated, and a little bit more confident in your capability to complete your workouts.
Also, take heart & encouragement in knowing that it'll definitely get easier along the way!
Look for positive reinforcements (supportive people, useful ideas & behaviors, sound advice & reading materials, etc.) that'll spur you on & give you the necessary encouragement to keep going!
The best part is that once you start seeing & feeling the changes in your fitness level & your body's overall appearance, it'll be a big boost to not only your self-esteem & outlook, but a reinforcement to keep working out. Believe me, once your pants start getting too big or you get that runner's high & feel that extra burst of energy kick in during your runs, you'll want to keep going!
Take it from me, a person who's almost done with the program (with only one week left!): It is possible to successfully complete this program, & successfully get into shape without overdoing it or injuring yourself!
Look at all of the wonderful benefits you'll reap & all the exciting experiences & changes you've got to look forward to in the next few weeks!
Some people start seeing significant changes in as little as one to two weeks into the program!
And by choosing to make fitness (& thus yourself & your health) a priority in your life, you know that you'll feel so great about yourself & your accomplishments.
Not only have I lost over 10 lbs in 8 weeks from doing this program, but I have a completely different outlook as well. Exercise has once again become a regular part of life, and my priorities & health habits have changed in tandem with the former priority.
Before I end this post, I'd like to give you specific tips to help you pace yourself on your runs & also maintain good running form:
For the former, I recommend that you run at a comfortable pace. A good test to see whether you can handle your current pace (over a prolonged period of time) is to speak out loud while you're running.
Now, if you are running alone, and worry that people might think you've gone cuckoo, you might want to wait to try this until there's no one around on the trails. ;-) Of course, if you run with a running buddy or running group, this test will be a piece of cake, & probably much less socially awkward for you as well. ;-)
If you can comfortably carry on a conversation with your running buddy (without panting or being completely out of breath!), then you know you can handle your current pace. If your breathing is labored & you can't speak, then you obviously need to slow down!
To address the later issue of your running form, your arms should flow loosely at your side, and your hands should be relaxed (i.e., & not tight fists!). Your body should generally be as relaxed as possible, so that your running motion is effortless & natural. If you forget what "natural running" looks like, just watch small children & that you should give you a pretty good reminder.
Also, it's best not to be overly self-conscious about your form. While you need to pay attention to it, it should be more of a gentle mental notation than an overly studied effort. Too much pondering & obsessing about your form will ultimately be counterproductive.
Another helpful tip to visualize your form is to develop what I like to call a "running mantra." And no, this will not be a lesson on meditation or Buddhism. ;-) Rather, pick some words that have meaning to you & conjure up positive images that help you remember your running form & motion.
If it helps, you are welcome to use/borrow my running mantra, which is "long, strong, stretch, stride." I say it to myself at various moments during my runs, & find it to be reassuring & useful. I frequently use it when I'm getting tired & losing steam, & thus, especially need to refocus on my form, or when I'm at the final stretch & need some extra speed, or in any other instance in which I want to visualize my form or re-energize my runs.
To my running buddy (if you just so happen to be reading this post) & others who are just starting the CT5K program, I just want to say that I applaud you for your efforts & hope this post has helped you in some way!