A funny thing is happening.
People are asking me for running advice! Friends are calling and e-mailing. At the end of my Weight Watchers meeting, people wait to talk to me. It's very interesting and flattering. While I don't know all the answers, this is what I've learned so far...
1. Running is cool because it's the quickest thing that you can work out and see results with. Each day being able to run just a little further, maybe even a little faster - and that's tremendously rewarding.
2. Don't go into running thinking it's a good "cheap" form of exercising. Cheap is sit-ups and push-ups. Expensive might be snowboarding or skiing. Running isn't either of those. Running can be affordable but you're going to have to do some investing in stuff to do it right. Good sneakers, good socks, even a decent MP3 player - all necessities. Also, if you are interested in racing, they all come with fees. Add to the mix some good running bras, athletic gear and possibly a gym membership if you live in a place with bad weather a lot of the year - and well, it's not the cheapest thing on the block - but it's also been worth every penny spent in my opinion.
3. Pushing yourself slightly beyond your comfort level will not kill you but will make you stronger.
4. Pushing yourself too much beyond your comfort level will not make you stronger and might kill you. (or at very least, cause you to injure yourself and thwart all your good intentions.)
5. Don't sign up for a big race (like a marathon) with the goal of "just" losing weight. While you may shed pounds and all - this journey is not easy and it's going to take a helluva lot more personal reasons than just a smaller size to keep you motivated.
6. There will be blood, sweat and tears. Well maybe not blood (at least not yet for me) but there's been plenty of sweat and even a few tears. These long runs are HARD. When you are on a treadmill for two + hours for 8, 9, 10 mile runs - there's pain involved. And stretching, and heat, and ice and advil and with-in a day or two you begin feeling better again but with running, (at least for me) my body is always "just" healing and then I'm pushing myself again and it's getting re-fatigued. I never get used to anything because there's always a new challenge.
7. Long run days will kick your ass. Do not plan to do anything but rest after them. I've literally iced, showered and then slept for hours.
8. Don't look sideways. (Sooo hard!) Work at your own pace. Do not worry about what your neighbor, friend, guy on the treadmill next to you is doing. Sure, look for encouragement and inspiration but don't beat yourself up if you're not at the same level. You'll get there.
9. On the flip side, totally OK to secretly smile when you're besting the guy next to you! ;)
10. Running is exciting, interesting and more fun than you've ever thought it could be if you give it a good shot. Besides physical fitness, running is rich with lessons about life, accomplishment and goal setting. It provides confidence like nothing else does. Other runners are always happy to welcome you to the club and it's been a really great club to be earning membership with!!