Family life

Running for the right reasons

As Tracy finds her running legs, she also realizes what's motivating her to lace up and hit the road (hint: Prince is one of them)

By Tracy Chappell
Running for the right reasons

Prince seems to get my motor running. No, not in that way. Photo: via Flickr

I admit, I was a little worried the first and second nights of my 5K clinic at the Running Room. Unlike the Learn to Run clinic (which started super-slow) this one jumped right into sets of five minutes running, one minute walking, times four.
The first wasn’t too horrible, actually, but definitely reminded me it had been a long time since I’d been running (and also reminded me that the few times I ran on my own earlier this year, I just stopped whenever I felt like it!). The second night doing the 5 & 1s, however, was brutal. I won’t lie, the thought "I am going to die" entered my mind several times and I was out of breath and had to stop and walk. What was wrong with me? Maybe I wasn’t cut out for running anymore after all?
The way the clinic works is that you have a class on the Monday, then you have group runs on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. You’re strongly encouraged to attend these group runs (anyone off the street can come and run with the groups). I never went to them last year because of scheduling conflicts but, after the first night, figured I’d better.
But that second night shook my confidence. So on the Sunday, I went for a run on my own, using my new Runkeeper app for my iPhone to make sure I was running long enough and far enough. And I did just fine — I had to push myself a little, but my life did not flash before my eyes.
This past week, we stepped up to 7 & 1s and I had no trouble — I actually felt great. And I realized it depends on which of the two instructors is leading — one is definitely setting a faster pace than the other, and it’s too fast for me. As longtime reader Shannon commented on my last post, this is supposed to be our clinic, and we shouldn’t be exhausting ourselves to keep up (at least in the early weeks!). My running buddy was feeling the same, so we just reminded each other that we’re not doing this clinic to compete with the other group members, we’re here to get back into running and improve on our endurance. So there.
On Friday, I really needed to get out of the house and decided to push myself a little farther. I set my app to count out 9 & 1s, just to see if I could do it (I know our Monday class is two sets of 10 & 1s, so I was trying to prepare). And I did it! Three sets, actually, and although I was a bit sluggish through the beginning of the third set, I pushed through it. I managed to run 4.25K in 29 minutes with a rate of six minutes, 51 seconds per kilometre. It’s slow, but actually about what I was doing last year.
I was so happy. This year, I truly am running because I love it. Last year I was looking for an exercise that was easy to incorporate into my life (which this is), but my biggest goal was really to lose weight. I learned that, at least for me, this wasn’t the best way. I didn’t lose any weight while running last year and it frustrated me so much. (Though I certainly gained weight when I stopped running.) I know you gain muscle and you should be more toned overall, but I was a bit disappointed that I was exerting all this energy and not reaping the rewards I wanted to reap. So this year, I have a different perspective. I'm just doing this because it makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. There's something about running away from my life in little half-hour increments a few times a week that feels exactly right.
I’m also really loving running with music. You probably think I’m crazy, but I never ran with music before. I was all about the peaceful solitude of me and the open road. But no more. On Friday, it helped so much to tell myself I just needed to get through Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy and I was done. What I didn’t realize was that it was the extended mix that lasts over seven minutes.
Some of the other songs on my very slapdash playlist were Foo Fighters’ Bridge Burning and Walk, The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, Prince’s I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (fun!) and JLo’s On The Floor. See? Random. But it worked.
Now that I’ve seen the motivational powers of music, I must have more! What are the songs that spur you on when running?

Photo by via Flickr

This article was originally published on Mar 26, 2012

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