I figure that you guys have heard enough from me this week, so I decided to bring in some help. I once did an Ask Amy's Gym Buddies post, and had a lot of fun with it. So I decided to bring it back, this time for:
Ask Amy's Running Buddies!
So without further adieu, I introduce you to my running pals:
What is your favorite thing about running?
Kacey: My favorite thing about running is how it makes me feel. As much or as little as I feel motivated to go for a run at the beginning, I always feel better in the end for having done it. It's a sense of accomplishment, even for a small run. Pride in having gotten out there and done something good for yourself. You feel physically stronger, and emotionally it's a chance to clear your head, take a mental break, and get some peace of mind. I do some of my best thinking on a good, long, run.
Kristi: It is such a good time to clear your head. When I'm having a stressful day or just not in a good mood, going out and running always makes me feel better.
Madeleine: Since I am really new to running right now it's noticing when I have improved. I ran a 5k without walking any of it for the first time ever this month, and I was REALLY excited. I think I realized recently that being proud of even really small improvements is the best motivation to keep going and not get discouraged when you're a beginner.
Renee: Running is such a release for me. It's my free therapy! If I'm sad, happy, angry, stressed, worried, etc running ALWAYS makes me feel better! (Chocolate does the same but this is the healthier option..hehe)
Would you consider yourself a "natural runner"?
Kacey: Definitely not! I almost am tempted to say there's no such thing as a "natural runner" - it's amazing how much of running accomplishments are achieved by a mental strength and motivation as well as physical endurance. A huge part of achieving any goal you set your mind to is derived from an emotional and mental commitment, and running is no different!
Kristi: I wouldn't say I'm a "natural runner" in the sense that I'm naturally fast or naturally able to go long distances. But when I'm running it feels right, it feels natural, like it was something my body was meant to do.
Madeleine: Nope, I'd say i'm pretty far over on the other side of that spectrum.
Renee: I've been a natural runner for awhile but I wasn't always. Growing up I couldn't stand running and thought it was the worst activity ever! However, my senior year of high school I was very stressed out about a situation and I decided to take my issues to the road and run it out. When I returned I never felt better in my life. It was from that moment on I fell deeply, madly, truly, in love with running.
Have you ever had any injuries from running?
Kacey: I have gotten a stress fracture while training for both of the half marathons I have run in my life - one that started out as shin splints and the other was in my foot.
Kristi: I have what I like to call "weak hips", and they bother me when I'm putting in a lot of miles. But thankfully I have never had a serious injury or anything that prevented me from participating in a race.
Madeleine: Yes, and it's embarrassing. I was in such bad shape a few years ago that I wound up with patellofemoral syndrome after running like half a mile and now my knee makes this really nice cracking sound when I run, or walk up stairs.
Renee: I've been very lucky to not have any major injuries. Besides the typical shin splints, I did experience a strange pain in my lower calf but quickly attributed it to the new shoes I purchased. A new pair of shoes and 2 weeks off running solved my problem!
Do you have advice on preventing injuries?
Kacey: I think the most important part is knowing the balance between challenging yourself and pushing your body too hard. You need to remember to take breaks and let your body rest and recover. Also, it's super important to know the preventative techniques that can keep you safe and healthy - replacing your running shoes after the recommended amount of use, stretching before and after any kind of exercise, etc.
Kristi: Stretch a lot and don't jump into anything without properly training. If you have a big race, or even your first race, coming up, you need to prepare. Start slow and add miles in small increments each week.
Madeleine: Recognize your limitations, and don't push yourself so far beyond them that you wind up with an injury that you could have avoided. If you feel any kind of pain while you're running, slow down and if it doesn't go away stop and walk. Oh, and go to the doctor and get checked out right away if you need to, don't put it off until you've done damage!
Renee: Get your run analyzed! This is the best advice I can recommend to anyone starting out running. It's amazing how shoes can affect your run style and cause injuries if they aren't right for your feet. Everyone is different and should know what their feet like and don't like. If you are looking to start running or increase your miles and think, "Oh my 5 year old shoes will be fine" NO THEY WON'T! Also, listen to your body! If something hurts, stay off of it. Rest and recovery is such an important part of running.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start running?
Kacey: The hardest part is getting started. Whether it's the first mile on a long run or the first run in a training schedule, just getting yourself out there is half the battle - once you're on your feet and moving, the rest is easy! Also, I would definitely recommend training with a buddy or having a goal in mind like an upcoming fun race (just take it from Amy - she's become a running race junkie!!) My favorite runs have been with my Dad - we both signed up for a half marathon, and being in separate cities we couldn't run together but we became "friends" on MapMyRun, and could track each other's progress via the app. It's a great way to record your own progress, and to share with people who are supporting you and motivated in the same way. Plus, having the race together to look forward to was an awesome inspiration and made for such a fun trip together! Look for a local race in your area, or make a trip out of a destination location! Also....having cute running gear never hurts ;)
Kristi: Just go out and do it! Walk or jog around your neighborhood, or ask your friends to run with you. You'll be surprised at how big the running community is. Chances are you already know a lot of people who love running and would love to introduce you to it.
Madeleine: Biggest piece of advice - quit putting it off and go do it. I put it off for years! Know and accept that it is going to be tough at first and you're going to get frustrated, but that just means you have that much more room to improve. It's okay to be slow, and you should be at first. Start slow, both pace and distance, but push yourself every run to do a little more than you did last time. Last but not least find a running buddy, ideally one like Amy that will push you to run a little more when you want to stop and convince you to sign up for crazy races that you are SO not prepared for (ahem, Coronado 10k AMY. Remember how I lost that one?).
Renee: For someone starting out running I'd say to be patient and proud of yourself! Don't expect to wake up and run a half marathon tomorrow. Training takes time and patience to slowly build up your miles. You don't want to over do it and injure yourself. If you've just started out running, you're already way ahead of everyone else still on their couch. Also, running buddies can be the best inspiration and push to help you keep going, so find some!
A huge thank you to all of my amazing running friends! I hope you enjoy their insight and advice as much as I did!
Leave em' some love, will ya?
Oh, and Happy Friday!!