So You Want to Run: Beginner’s Edition

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My journey to running: 10 years ago, I was employed full time, working on my master’s degree full time, and planning a wedding/honeymoon. I was stressed, overworked, NOT taking care of myself and spending hours upon hours every day in front of a computer. It should be no surprise when I say: I gained 40 pounds while I was completing my master’s program.

After graduation, I knew I had to get my life in order. I didn’t feel good and I was overwhelmed by the hole I dug for myself and all the weight I now needed to lose. I had become accustomed to the busy schedule of work and school so once the school element was lifted, I realized I had a lot of time after work to do something to better myself. I started running.

I had heard from some co-workers that they successfully completed the “couch-to-5k” (C25K) program. By description alone, I knew this was the program for me as I’ve never been an endurance athlete on any level.

For those unfamiliar, the C25K program starts beginner runners on interval training at a basic level. For example, the program may have you run for 30 seconds, walk for a minute, run for 30 seconds, walk for a minute, and so on. There are numerous C25k programs available online. This one here is the most similar to what I used. And – bonus – there’s an app for that! The C25K app will tell you when to run/walk. Much easier than using a stopwatch!

Of course, beginning the program and new workout routine didn’t come without annoying injuries. Shin splints and plantar fasciitis plagued me for many months. I learned new stretch techniques and as my body became accustomed to the new regimen, I moved past those annoyances and haven’t been bothered since (luckily). I still incur hip pain occasionally but then I focus on some hip friendly stretches and that pain resolves. For those runners having recurrent pain, it’s always important to see a professional to ensure no permanent damage is occurring and there are wonderful local sports medicine facilities in our area (Bellin and Aurora, for example (and both have free injury assessments)).

I stuck to the training, repeated weeks when necessary and eventually built up my endurance to running miles straight through with no walk breaks. Never in my life would I have thought I’d be able to run for 2, 3, 4, miles straight without stopping. I lost the 40 pounds and gained a lot of confidence in myself and my abilities.

Here in Green Bay and the Fox Cities, we’re fortunate to have so many beautiful trails to run and walk and there are numerous local run clubs that can help you stay motivated while also making new friends.

My run club experience has been with the Green Bay Chapter of the national run organization: Moms Run This Town/She Runs This Town (MRTT/SRTT). The run club participation is FREE and while my participation in the club has ebbed and flowed with the demands of my professional and parenting life when I do get involved in attending events or monthly challenges, I am still welcomed and supported by my running community of strong and fabulous ladies. And the best part is – there is truly a woman of every ability and pace that participates in the run club. I promise you that you will meet someone who is running intervals like you, has the same pace as you, or is training for a race that you hope to train for also. It’s all about taking that first (and, admittedly intimidating) step of going to your first event and meeting new people.

For the past 10 years, running has been a constant behavior. I physically and mentally feel different if it has been too many days since my last run.  It’s been there for me when I was grieving the loss of loved ones and it’s been there for me to celebrate great days. It’s been there for me to stay active during pregnancies or to give me a jolt of energy if my babies kept me up all night. Running is my outlet and gets me into nature and fresh air. It’s my “me time” and that is something ALL moms need.

Check out these helpful running resources:

The official C25K website

Local running clubs:

Green Bay Running Club

Fox Cities Pace Setters Run Club

Moms Run This Town/She Runs This Town

               Local chapters:

               Green Bay

               Seymour

               Appleton

               Manitowoc

Local running trails:

Fox River Trail

East River Trail

Packerland Drive Trail

Duck Creek Trail

Mountain Bay State Trail

Baird Creek

Reforestation Camp

Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve

 

For races to join this winter read Don’t Let Winter Weather Stop You From Running These Area Races!

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Amanda was born and raised in Green Bay and returned to the area after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where she obtained her degree in psychology and business. Shortly after moving back to Green Bay, Amanda attended Silver Lake College where she completed the master's program in management and organizational behavior. Amanda works full time and when she is not caring for her family or being a focused employee, she enjoys running, biking, skiing and hiking. Amanda lives in Green Bay with her husband and two children. She and her husband look forward to teaching their daughters how to ski and bike and hope their children enjoy being active outdoors. Amanda loves that the Green Bay area has a lot to offer in terms of trail systems (great for biking, running, hiking and skiing!) and Green Bay is conveniently located to some great ski hills all within a few hours drive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the great article, Amanda. I would love to stress to new runners that you can be any size and shape, you can run or walk any distance, any speed, and still be a runner! Give it a try and you’ll get rewards from your commitment.

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