I've never been able to run. In grade school, I could never run the mile for the presidential fitness test (do they still do those?). And the running I had to do for high school volleyball was so agonizing, I didn't attempt it again until years later. When I did, I hated it. It took me months to build up to run a mile, and I couldn't run much farther than that, so I soon quit.
Fast forward about 15 years, when I told my personal trainer earlier this year that I can't run. He was quick to encourage me to give it a try...trying new activities would challenge me in new ways, he argued.
So I started running intervals during my walks. I started with a minute, progressed to a minute and a half, and eventually got up to two minutes. But there was no way I could run much longer than two minutes, so I just assumed I'd never be able to run.
But then I realized: my intervals were at a very fast pace, and my heart rate was around 80-90%. What if I slowed my pace down? I got out my Garmin Forerunner and watched to make sure my heart rate didn't get above 70%...and the first time I did that, I ran for 26 minutes with a two-minute walking break! I was stunned. A year ago, I thought it would have been impossible. I did it once more, and the third time I tried, I was able to run 29 minutes continuously. It was really tough for me, and I was panting at the end like crazy and was dead tired, but I was proud of myself.
Then a friend told me about ChiRunning, which is about effortless, injury-free running. Effortless, huh? I got the book the very next day!
I've spent the past week reading it and learning about the technique. The ChiRunning website explains it better than I can, but it's a blend of T'ai Chi and running that focuses on using core strength.
I tried the technique yesterday morning for the first time. WOW! It really was much, much easier than the heavy, plodding running I'd previously done. I had no problem doing 30 minutes continuously and felt like I could have done more. I'm just starting so have a lot more to learn (there are a lot of things to focus on), but I'm thrilled to learn this technique that's making something that's always been so grueling so accessible.
I'm so excited about it, I signed up for my first 5K! It's the Run Around the Square in Regent Square, and I'll be running it with my sister on August 27. Wish me luck!