Training Week #1

Well, now that the first official week of training for the upcoming half-marathon is under my belt, I’m checking in to share how it went. I don’t expect most people to be interested in these details but by posting each week, I know it will keep me accountable to my training plan and also, I’m hoping that by writing it down, I’ll be able to look back and see that I really am making progress. If you’re new here, I’m a non-runner who really loves food that just signed up for my first half-marathon. Heaven help me.

Last Week’s Workouts:

-4 mile run (two Saturdays ago) – not part of the official training but I wanted to see if I could do it and try to identify what kind of starting point I was at. I ran it. So slowly I should have been walking. And then I died. I was sore for daaaaaays.
-Two 2-mile runs during the week (Tuesday and Thursday)
-Stretching and weights (arms and lunges/squats) on Wednesday
-3-mile run outside on Saturday

The Good:

The shoes I bought for running are awesome. They are really, really comfortable and my knees and feet haven’t been sore at all (now my quads and calf muscles are another story). Here’s a link to the shoes (although I found them locally for about $89).

-I’m not confident enough right now to run with other people and have the benefit of talking/companionship to help get through the run; instead, I’ve been listening to an audiobook. It’s just a silly fiction book not really worth recommending but it has helped the time go by quickly (ok, as quickly as it really can when I’m plodding along). I think I like this idea of running to audiobooks. Granted, it might be one factor in running slowly but I’m afraid without something to keep my attention, I’d just stop and sit down in the middle of the road and not go one step further.

The Bad:

-I’m not going to lie, I feel a bit discouraged coming off of week #1. I thought I’d be in better running shape than I am (which is kind of laughable since I haven’t been running regularly). I’m soooo slow. I wasn’t entirely sure after the 4-mile run how fast I was running but based on time from start to finish I knew it wasn’t in the 10-minute mile range like I assumed it would be. Then, on Thursday I ended up running on a treadmill (long story because I despise treadmill running) and realized I’m running even slower than that – probably more like 11:15 minute miles. I’m not going into this really caring about time  – honestly, I just want to finish the darn race, but it was a bit discouraging to realize I’m slower than I even thought (and I already knew I’d be slow which makes me really, really slow in reality).

Fitting in running has been the hardest challenge. I knew to make it work, I’d be running in the early morning before my kids are awake or later at night when they are in bed (both times when Brian can be home with them). It’s still very dark both of those times and because I’m not keen on running by myself in the dark (thanks to a very scary running experience in college) and like I mentioned above, not wanting to run with anyone else right now (I’m seriously self-conscious about it), last week was challenging trying to fit it in. Tuesday, I decided I could jog in the morning after dropping off three of the kids to school and before I needed to get on with my daily schedule by putting Ty and Cam in the double jogger. Like, how hard could that be? Um, yeah. It was ridiculous. Pushing 70 pounds of child and dragging a rambunctious puppy nearly made me weep with self-pity. I didn’t run very far before deciding it would have to be a brisk walk and then felt kind of bummed all day that I couldn’t even accomplish the first real day of running. Thursday, I convinced Brian to help me pick up a treadmill from a very generous friend willing to loan it to me for a couple weeks. The behemoth treadmill barely fit in our front door and my hopes of storing it away in our bedroom and running there in the mornings were dashed when Brian announced it wasn’t moving another inch. So now it sits just a little to the left of our entryway. It’s reeaaallly hard to miss. Hello, treadmill. But hey, it’s there. I ran 2.25 miles Thursday on the treadmill and again, it was hard. This is when I realized how slowly I’m really running and got a bit discouraged. But I covered up the screen with a towel, blared my audiobook (I’m so hip) and did my best. I’ll have to endure the treadmill a bit more until it lightens up outside in the mornings (I thought I could go run at our high school track in the mornings with a friend who wanted to walk but it’s all locked up) and then it’s outside all the way. Treadmill running is kind of killer for me.

-I did a full body strength workout with a friend early Wednesday morning and completely overdid it – like, I couldn’t walk up my stairs the next day, not even kidding, and it made running painful the rest of the week.

Upcoming Week/Goals:

–This week I’m planning on running 2 miles on Monday, 30-40 minute strength workout Tuesday (arms, core and legs), run 2 miles on Wednesday, another 30-40 minute strength workout Thursday (arms, core and legs), rest on Friday and a 3 mile run on Saturday. That’s all assuming the week goes as planned, which it rarely does, so I’m also prepping myself to be flexible (not one of my strong points).

-Thanks to some of your feedback, I’ve altered my training schedule just a bit (it doesn’t really matter right now but it will in a few weeks) to incorporate a few more miles during the weeks 13-20 (it seems my overall weekly mileage was a bit low). I’m sure that schedule will continue to change as I go along.

-Rachael (story here) recommended an app to train for a 21K (half-marathon) – she used it and loved it. It’s a 12-week program which of course I’m not ready for yet (the half-marathon I’m running is 19 weeks away) but I looked into it and definitely think it’s a possibility when I get to the 12-week out mark. I like how it gives you prompts, hints, guides while you are running.

-I’m not running for time this week – just building up endurance. And so I’m just going to tell myself it’s ok I’m slow as long as I’m still putting one foot in front of the other.

-Dude, I need a lot more water than I’m currently drinking. I’ve always been a bad water drinker but it’s been noticeable this week. So more water it is as well as upping my protein a bit (cottage cheese is my new friend for lunch).

I Can Do This (I Think)

This must all sound so elementary and silly to real, live runners, but it is my reality right now and I have to tell myself that the first week might be one of the hardest (getting out that front door for the first time was brutal). I appreciate all of you who have checked in to motivate, give advice, sign up for the race, let me know you’re a running newbie (or a running expert)  – and everything else. I really would not have the dedication to do this if it weren’t for all of you. Thank you! On to week #2!

89 Responses to Training Update: Week #1

  1. Deena Caunt says:

    Good luck with this. I’m pretty sure a half marathon would finish me off, but, hey – at least we have the love of audio books in common lol.

  2. Rachel says:

    This week wasn’t awesome for me either. It wasn’t a big change from what I was already doing (I’ve got 3 or 4 weeks in my training plan before the mileage really starts to step up from where I’m currently at), but for some reason, the mentality of knowing I’m training for something BIG for the first time ever was really daunting for me.

    And if it’s any help, I’m always WAY slower on a treadmill than I am when I’m just running outside, so don’t let the treadmill time get you down. I’m not very concerned with my time, either, but it is kind of discouraging to see how slow my times are on a treadmill! I just cover up the timer and watch Friends and don’t think about it 😉

  3. Diana says:

    Awesome. You’ve got this!!! Try to get over fear of running with people. Running company is amazing for both moral and fitness. Think of it more as social hour than workout or competition. It isn’t necessary to find someone of your same speed/fitness level either. I’m at the faster end of the spectrum, but still get up at 530am 1x per week to do a C25K program with a friend. We average 15min/mile and I love it. We get to catch up on weeks events and I get to see her progress. My two dogs come along for moral support.

    As for the first week being the hardest…unfortunately I think it takes a month or two for body to adjust. And there will always be crappy days/weeks. Hang in there. Running can be fun. Excited for weekly progress updates. Good luck!

  4. Maria G says:

    Hey, I have the same shoes! I’m gonna make a suggestion. Perhaps a half-marathon is a bit much? Have you considered doing instead a 5K or a 10K? Since you’re not a runner, I would start smaller and work my way up to doing the half-marathon. Just a thought.

    Whatever you decide, I’m behind you!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Maria, I know what you are saying and trust me, I’ve wondered the same thing, but I’m committed and am determined to do it, especially since I have 19 weeks still to train. I think feeling discouraged is probably a natural part of this process for me since I tend to overanalyze everything. My run today went MUCH better so my confidence is slightly boosted. I’ll probably hit highs and lows all throughout but thanks for the comment. I appreciate the support!

  5. Ryan says:

    I had up a group training program for the full and half marathon in Tulsa. Congrats on your decision. 19 weeks is a great amount of time to train, especially since you are starting from not running. I have 400 participants in my program and I would say about 60 of them would be really happy to be able to run as fast as you do. We certainly have plenty that run your pace or even way faster, but that’s actually a very average pace for the half. Keep up the good work!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ryan – thank you so much for chiming in. I can’t even describe how helpful everyone’s input is. Thanks for making me feel slightly better about my pace (and the time I have to train!).

  6. The good news is that you’re only competing against yourself. You can do it!

  7. breanne says:

    i remember when i was training for my first half and i kept saying, “I’m not a REAL runner..” to people. and then one day i saw some quote that talked about how it didn’t matter how fast you were or how far you went or if you ran races. if you put one foot in front of the other and ran…then you were a runner. you’re a real live person who runs. you’re a runner. don’t doubt yourself 🙂

  8. Rachael says:

    You finished the first week! Congratulations!

    Can you watch TV or read while you’re on the treadmill? I do most of my winter running on the treadmill, and it’s totally doable if I have something to distract me. My husband built me a shelf that I can use for either my laptop or to prop up a good book. Thanks to the distractions, I can usually log 40-50 treadmill miles during a snowy week! (It also really helps with finding the time to run–I can either run when the kids or napping or after they’re in bed.)

    Secondly, I would suggest that you shift your rest day to Thursday. I run a LOT and I really need a rest day after three days of hard workouts–if I go for 4 days I’m dead on the fourth day and it takes me longer than one day to recover. If you’re doing two strength days and two runs before a rest day, you’re going to be exhausted! I assume you’re also taking a rest day on Sunday, so if you shift it to Thursday that will spread your rest days out a bit.

    Okay, done with the completely unsolicited advice. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      I love unsolicited advice, Rachael. 🙂 Thank you for suggesting that! I’ll definitely take a look at my training schedule and I think I’ll know better how I feel after I, you know, get through more than one week. But I like that idea of having Thursdays as a rest day and I think you are right – if I can find something distracting on the treadmill it might help. Right now there’s no room for a shelf but my audiobooks are helping and I could probably figure out a way to get Netflix on the iPad and hook that up somehow.

      • Tanya M. says:

        Yep! Just download the Netflix app on your ipad and log in (assuming you are already a netflix user). Easy peesy!

        I hear you about trying to fit it into the day. I’m already getting up at the crack of dawn to get older kids off to school, so I’d have to get up by 5am to be done by 6am… and that’s not gonna happen! When I run on the treadmill I’ll setup the “table tent” (I think I saw you post a similar thing?) or bring out the puzzles/toys and let the kids play next to me while I run. When all else fails, hand them the ipad with netflix and let them watch a 20 minute show/or play games while you finish your workout. Happy kids+Happy Mama= happy family when Mom is able to exercise and be showered by 10am.. or noon. haha!

        I’m so excited for you! I would LOVE to join you, especially since Provo Canyon is only 25 minutes from my house!! I’m turning 40 this year and I had already decided I’m doing something to offset the “freakout of turning 40!” 🙂 I’m either running a 1/2 marathon or doing an olympic triathlon–not sure but it’ll be something to prove to myself I’m in the best shape of my life (after having 5 kids!) 🙂
        If I settle on the UV 1/2 I’ll for sure let you know! GOOD LUCK!! YOU CAN DO THIS!! 🙂

        • Tanya M. says:

          P.S. I have the same Asics running shoes.. just the Nimbus style! It must be good karma! 🙂

        • Mel says:

          We are leading such similar lives! I hear you on all those strategies to keep the kids occupied while I exercise (and yeah, the 5 a.m. wake-up call is a little brutal). I told Brian the other day this is good prep for when I turn 40 in two years. I think if I take ok to this half, my goal is going to do 4 half marathons the year I turn 40. He kind of looked at me like “why don’t you just get this one under your belt first.” Yes, good point. If you settle on this one, let me know!

  9. Rachael says:

    Oh–and expect the second week to be harder. Your body is still going to be recovering from the first week and you’re going to ask it to do more. Just hang in there!!

  10. Jodylbs says:

    Just a few comments, treadmill running is slower for most people so don’t be alarmed! Is there a track you can go to to let the kiddos play in the middle and you run the track? I know you said one school was locked (which seems weird to me because our schools here in seattle double as city facilities so the track is open to everyone). When I’m really not feeling motivated sometimes we do a family run/walk so we get the kids on their bikes and all go out together. Some of it involves me running ahead just a bit and circling back (we go on a city trail) but at least I get a run in. If you start to feel really discouraged back off of your miles. My feeling is you could make larger increases later in your training schedule to get back on track but getting over that first hump is always hard. You got this though, you’ll be fine.

    • Mel says:

      Thank you! I’m thinking the track may open back up when the worst of winter is over but I’m not sure. I actually didn’t realize treadmill running could be slower until everyone mentioned that today. Suddenly I’m not feeling as discouraged (even though I still know I’m on the slow end). Thanks for the help!

  11. Jennifer says:

    What book are you listening to? I love audio books and podcasts when I run or workout.

  12. queenann says:

    You may have been discouraged, but reading this was helpful to me! Inspiring actually.

  13. Lisa says:

    I run way faster outdoors than I can on a treadmill; I swear the speeds are not anywhere near right. I’m training for a duathlon (run-bike-run) happening Memorial Day weekend. If I wasn’t already doing that, I would definitely have jumped on the half-marathon wagon! The second week is usually hardest for me in any training I’ve done (physically; mentally the hardest is the second day for me), but once you convince your body that this IS happening, it usually gets much easier from there. Best of luck!

  14. Heather bell says:

    Way to go!! One step at a time. It will build up:)

  15. Kathryn Shaffer says:

    Hi, I just want to tell you that I was super nervous to run with people for a few years. I had a friend that kept asking me and I always said no. Finally, I said yes and never looked back! We talk about everything and time just flies. By the way, we usually only run at an 11-12 minute pace. It really helps to have a running buddy or two… Or a group.

  16. Jess says:

    Good for you, Mel! There are bound to be some set-backs but you’re doing great! Thanks for sharing the good and bad – it’s inpsiring!

  17. Hey Mel,

    Great start! Don’t worry about speed, it’s not that important in training especially at the start (in fact going too hard often causes injury which is the one thing that could stop you). You’ve got lots of weeks to build up your base and if you persist with the miles both speed and endurance will naturally follow. These first couple of weeks will be hard as your body adjusts but once you’ve got a routine you will see the improvement and it will be motivating!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Jason – comments like yours are helping me feel like I actually am doing ok. And you are right, I have a lot of weeks ahead of me and that is comforting.

  18. Ashlee says:

    Mel,
    I know we’re not best friends, but we should be! And I think we would get along really well! I love your food and am super proud of how decadent your desserts are. Mmmmmm…chocolate.
    I’ve run one half marathon and it was super hard. And i know how you feel. It gets discouraging…Especially when you have no control over your schedule because of kiddos!
    If it makes you feel any better, you got me to commit to another half! I’m totally running the Utah Valley Half with you! So thank you, and hold on tight! If i can do it, you can!

  19. Jessica says:

    I promise it will get easier! And I’m in the same boat with running times. It gets easier when the sun is out longer. And don’t underestimate the workout you get when pushing a running stroller! You should expect to go slower. But over time you’ll fly when you aren’t pushing it and two kids. And last but not least, you are a real runner!!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Jessica – I actually had that thought as I was pushing that crazy heavy jogging stroller “the next time I run, I’m going to feel weightless without this thing!” That wasn’t exactly what happened, of course, but it did feel suddenly a LOT easier!

  20. Lisa Barton says:

    I also run in the Asics Cumulus… They are aweomse!! Congrats on a successful training week! I love half-marathons!
    -Lisa
    Grade 4 Buzz

  21. The first week is definitely the hardest!! You are doing great! You inspire me to get back into running–it’s so hard to find the time when you have kids. I feel like I’m always squeezing workouts in and long runs are hard to find the time for. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  22. Liz says:

    I’m not a runner, but I do strength training…when I’m not shoveling snow and gathering firewood…but anyway, have you read about tart cherry juice for muscle recovery?

    I first saw it here: http://www.cookincanuck.com/2014/06/tart-cherry-mango-smoothie-recipe-half-marathon-countdown/

    I do fairly well with recovery but at 59 1/2 sleeping well has become an issue. I’ve been drinking the tart cherry juice for 2 weeks. Sleeping improved immediately. I can’t really speak to the other but both Dara and her husband felt it helped them after their half.

    Not a runner, but cheering you on and love following these posts!

  23. Marci says:

    I know you’re probably getting an overload of comments, but I wanted to quick chime in. Running has been the thing to get me through tough, stressful times (twins!) but it only became that when I started enjoying it. And to enjoy it it needed to not be so hard to run (which came slowly with increasing my miles gradually, especially frustrating the first few months after having a baby) and I needed to have a time to do it that was all about me. I couldn’t enjoy it when I felt like I was ignoring people or inconveniencing them. My solution? I wake up at 4 everyday and run on my treadmill and watch good stuff like celebrity apprentice, Worst Cooks in America, Rachael Ray, etc. I know that sounds a little crazy, but I feel so free to run and enjoy myself at a time when I have no other responsibilities. Try it! Just do it!

    • Mel says:

      Wow, Marci – 4 a.m.? You are insane (in a remarkable, I-Admire-You way). I agree though about the balance of making it work for everyone. I think I’ve realized some days it will and some days it won’t but by golly, I’m getting my run in no matter what! I seriously wish I had the guts to get up that early. That’s awesome.

  24. Rachel says:

    I love your honesty. Trained for a marathon when my daughter was a toddler, and other than for the actual competition, the stroller came along. I ran with friends, and pushing the jogger was the great equalizer. If anyone wasn’t breathing hard enough, they got the stroller. It was like doing mini intervals. At one point in the training the kiddp started to get bored, so I purchased cartoon episodes for my husband’s ipod. Don’t know how old your youngest is, but a little screen time got us thru a lot of miles. Good luck and thanks for sharing!

  25. Terry says:

    Here’s a quote from an unknown source.

    Read it three times … the last time aloud !

    “There will be days you don’t think you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime of knowing you have.”

    Yes, you can do this !

  26. Jackie says:

    Good for you for doing it! That is huge! I just started last week, VERY SLOWLY!!! I did 4 miles on Saturday. It took me around 45 minutes but I didn’t even care because it’s way more than I have EVER done! I know what you mean about not wanting to run outside when it is dark and cold out and I don’t blame you one bit. I have been running the track at our gym and I have a feeling I’m going to get very sick of the view from that track in the next several weeks. I have been running with my 10 year old though and it has been so great! I love having that extra time to spend with him and have this goal we are working on together… plus he does not let me slack off!

    • Mel says:

      Yay, Jackie! I’m so proud of you! You and I are seriously on the same page and I am so happy you are on this journey, too. That’s awesome your 10-year old is right there with you!

  27. Cindy says:

    I’m telling you, running with someone will make this much better. It will build your confidence. You will just have to DO IT. I was the same way. There are people who are just as fast (in your eyes, slow :)) as you and will want those walk breaks.

    I used to be way faster than I was and trained all the time. Now, I am around the 11ish mn/mile mark and I take walk breaks. I would NEVER HAVE DONE THIS years ago but over time, I got over it. I still give myself kudos when I go faster, or when I don’t take walk breaks but I am no longer hard on myself if I do the other two.

    And by the way, sometimes when I don’t take walk breaks? I’m still doing 11ish minute miles.

    Of course, you’re the only one that can control the mental battle. My mental battle is just getting outside and training/running. I love it and yet, it’s still a struggle.

    But I do have people I can run with. And yet, I can still enjoy a run on my own.

    In fact, I did a fun run this past weekend on part of the course that I will be running for my half marathon in April. I didn’t go with anyone and didn’t know anyone. I ran on my own. But running “with someone”, even strangers, is motivation enough. I went faster than I ever have (10:40 mn/miles) in the past six months (I used to run 8 mn/miles in 5Ks and once did a 2 hour half, where my goal was to go sub 2 hours…so not a fast runner but not where I am today).

    The fact that you are writing about it, crying about it, and struggling about it, is great. That will keep you accountable.

    Great job!

    • Mel says:

      Thank you so much for this, Cindy. I really liked reading your experiences and your take on running “fast”. I think what I’m learning from all these comments is that I’m doing just fine and I probably need to relax about the time thing and just let it go. Thank you!

  28. Michelle says:

    Mel, as a woman who was once in your position, I can relate. I started running about 5 years ago as a last ditch effort to lose weight. I’d never run before – not even in high school. When I started, the most I could walk/jog (and it truly was more walking than jogging) was less than 2 miles. I recall feeling just as overwhelmed and discouraged as you talk about feeling. But my persistence paid off and July of 2010 I completed my first half marathon. After finishing, I swore I’d never do a marathon – that’s just crazy. That was 7 marathons ago. Never in my life did I imagine that I would be able to call myself a “real runner”. But I’ll let you in on a secret. YOU are a real runner, just by putting one foot in front of the other. The beauty of running is that everyone is on their own journey. Don’t cause unneeded stress by comparing yourself to others. And certainly don’t be self conscious about being social and running with others. I’ve been there, I felt that way too. But as someone who has been both faster AND slower than those I run with, I can tell you that you are not holding anyone back. We have all been that “slow” runner and anyone who loves running is going to be encouraging and not look at you as being too slow. Running has blessed my life in so many ways. It helped me through an ugly divorce, recently through an abusive relationship, and has brought so many wonderful friends into my life. Congratulations on this journey you are embarking on!

  29. Ann says:

    Mel I am following along with your training schedule as well and my pace is very slow. I run between 11-12 min/mile. I have read numerous times that doing a speed training day each week helps but I have shied away from that. I guess I’m just afraid of injury by pushing myself too hard. This is why I liked your schedule, slow and steady progression. But if anyone has some tips on speed training I would love to hear them! You mentioned you have made some changes to your schedule for the weeks 13-20. Do you think you could post the changes that you make each time for myself and the other readers who are following along with your schedule please?

    I am here in cold snowy Manitoba Canada and I am also running on a treadmill. I listen to music when running and find that when my mind starts to wander where I plan out my day or I think of something other than running the time seems to pass much quicker. Also the faster the beat of the music the quicker my pace is even though the treadmill is set on the same speed.

    Keep going Mel! I know you can do this and so can I! There will always be good and bad days, but the bad days will make you stronger for the next time!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Ann! So happy we are in this together. And yes, I’ll definitely post the changes to the schedule (they don’t really impact anything until, like, week 16 and so I’ll post it in a few weeks just in case there are other changes. I actually just checked out the book “Run Less, Run Faster” that so many people have recommended and it might give some good tips, too. I know what you mean about the speed days. I’ve just decided since this is my first half marathon, I’m going to focus on what you said: the slow, steady progression. I kind of feel like if I try to incorporate too many other factors, I’ll be really overwhelmed and more prone to injury. So slow and steady it is! I’ll keep posting update and am so buoyed up knowing you are doing this too!

  30. April M says:

    You can do it Mel. If I lived by I would run with you…. as a non runner I think we would help each other on. I may not start running but I am inspired to find time to exercise. Keep up the good work. Miss you tons!!

  31. Karen K says:

    I totally understand EVERYTHING in this post you sent. You should try the Galloway method (run 5 min, walk 1 min). It will REALLY help you to get thru those longer runs that are coming up. Do NOT worry about time right now. I’m sure you’ve figured out that running is probably a bit more mental than physical. You CAN do it. BUY A FOAM ROLLER for those knots in your muscles. It will hurt, but it helps a LOT. Go to Runner’s World for LOTS of good info. Best of luck to you 🙂

  32. Jovony says:

    I love your honesty. 🙂 Kudos to you for setting such a goal and going for it. It certainly is not easy when you have little ones to tend to and work around. Long, dark winter days do not help. When the days get a bit longer, I’m sure you will do great! Thanks for sharing and not pretending it’s so easy. It’s hard. Great job! Just keep pushing..

  33. Jessica says:

    Stucj with it Mel! When I first started training for my first half-marathon, I walked four minutes, ran one mile, then repeated for 30 minutes. I slowly built up until I could run for 30 minutes. Even then, I ran so so slow – usually 12+ minute miles. It wasn’t until the end of my training that my speed finally started picking up to a 10 minute mile pace. Just keep putting in the time and don’t get discouraged. I still hate the first mile of every run. But you learn to mentally and physically push through the more you train. Best of luck!

  34. Helen says:

    Mel great job with week 1. As someone who has run many 1/2 marathons and completed my first marathon last year way to go. Running is hard! No way around that. Do not worry about your time. Just think about crossing the finish line and getting that medal put around your neck! I am not fast but I am consistent. Keep up the great work!

  35. Jennifer says:

    I’m new to running as well. I did a Couch to 5K program over the summer. I love using a GPS tracking program on my phone when I run. I use MapMyRun, bit there are a lot of great options. That way, I know my page exactly and can celebrate those great runs when I do well. I’m still 12+ minute mile, but I still really enjoy it!

    • Mel says:

      Good for you, Jennifer! I’ll probably be at an 11-12 minute mile forever but after reading all these wonderful comments, I’m beginning to think that will be JUST FINE!

  36. Hi Mel – I started a walk/run thing in the fall – decided I needed to move my body A LOT more than I was – I used the app “map my walk” – my first goal was to run a mile (not as easy as I thought-took about 2 months) but the sound of the app voice in my ear telling me “1 mile” was really encouraging. I too listen to podcasts or sirius radio while running. I am now up to 4 miles at about a 10 minute pace – yes, it took me about 2 months of solid running (no walking) to reach that goal, so take your time – my body used to feel like I had been hit by a bus but it’s gotten much better. I run outside every other day (even in 20 degree temps) My clothes are fitting much better although the scale hasn’t moved much (trying not to have that discourage me) I bought Asics sneakers too and they are amazing – like supportive pillows for my feet! I never spent that much on shoes in my life but they are so worth it! Breathing properly is the toughest for me – I really have to think about it (then I think about it too much and have an anxiety attack that I’m not breathing enough – aaahhh!) Hang in there – I know it’s tough with little ones to fit it in your schedule. You can do – I’m 48 and not a runner – if I can do it, you can too!

    • Mel says:

      Way to go, Patricia! You are awesome! I love knowing about that app – several people have recommended it now and I’m going to have to look into it. Thank you for inspiring me!

  37. Torrie says:

    I’m really excited for you! Three years ago, I decided to tackle my lifelong goal of running a marathon, even though I, too, was completely a non-runner. In fact, before I started my training, I had never run more than 4 miles at a time in my life (and that was literally just one time). But even though the first couple weeks were brutal, I was AMAZED at what my body could build up to do. I absolutely know you can do this because physically at least (not time-wise), I was in the exact same boat.

    If you care to read about some of my journey (although I’m sure you’re busy enough!), here’s the link to the series:

    http://autodidacticambitions.blogspot.com/search/label/26%20Before%2026

    The best part? After my marathon (which I also ran pretty slowly), I ran a half and drastically reduced my time per mile. (So don’t worry–you WILL get faster!)

    • Mel says:

      I loved reading your story, Torrie! I thought that was the coolest thing that you and your husband stayed together the entire time. Seriously awesome.

  38. T.R. says:

    Hi Mel,

    Hang in there you will get so much stronger and better. I’m training for the LA Marathon in March. Nope I don’t run, I’m a walker and a slow one at that. LOL I’m in the slowest walker’s pace group my running club has. But March 15 I will walk, crawl, slug my way across that finish line. :O) It’s my goal. I’ve been wanting to do a marathon for years.

    However when I was doing the C25K over the summer they actually recommended that you train one or two paces slower than what you normally run/walk and then during the race you will actually do much better than you think. So if your pace is an 11mi then they suggest you train at a 12 mi pace. I’m not sure about the science behind it BUT apparently it works. :O)

    We do Saturday runs/walks and then during the week we all do our own training. This Saturday we will be doing 23 miles. Last Saturday was 14 miles. It took me about 4 hours to do it including bathroom and water station breaks. So I just wanted to let you know you are not alone and you are doing great. I will be thinking about you this Saturday. I personally listen to music when I’m out there. Something to get me going.

    Oh and check out map my walk/run. They do the same thing. It’s great. I’ve logged all of my Saturday trainings.

    • Mel says:

      You are an inspiration! Good luck with your 23 miles this Saturday AND your marathon. Suddenly my little run this Saturday doesn’t seem that hard. 🙂

  39. KMDuff says:

    I hear you! I can’t run with a double jogger and a dog either. I’ve tried many times. It’s a disaster. So either the dog gets left behind or the kids need a sitter or both. Running by myself is luxurious and when its cold, I’m on a treadmill at a gym watching HGTV. I like being outside and running but I also like not freezing to death. As another slow runner, I strongly recommend the run/walk interval method, you build up – right now I’m doing 5min walk/5 min walk, but about to switch to 4/6 and then 3/7, until i’m at 1/10 and then maybe 1/15. The walking helps and also keeps you injury free longer. Also – count your cadence occasionally. 170 steps per minute and make sure your foot is striking under your knees, not in front. http://greatist.com/move/proper-running-form-tips

  40. Linn says:

    I’ve never commented on your site before, but I have followed it for some time. It is fabulous!

    When I saw that you had signed up for the Utah Valley Half, I definitely paid attention as it was the first half marathon I ran last year and I loved it! (If you can love a half marathon.) The day I finished it, I signed up for the one this year (it helped that I got an AMAZING deal). So knowing that we were running the same race, made me pay extra attention.

    After the Utah Valley Half, I went on to run two more half marathons last year. Which was ridiculous, because I trained about two weeks for each. No I am not kidding and yes, it was dumb, dumb, dumb. I improved my time each time, but it was just not a smart thing to do. After the third, I found out I had put a good-size stress fracture in my foot and because it was pretty bad, I could not run for almost three months.

    Just two weeks ago, my doctor cleared me and I started running again and I am so happy I can hardly stand it (although I can’t stand running, so this makes great sense)! I’m just so grateful to be running again and so excited to actually be training for the half more than two weeks in advance. I can’t wait!

    All of that, just to say you can do this (truly, if I ran three half marathons after having my sixth baby with A LOT of extra weight on me and with little training, ANY ONE can do it)! You really can! Keep up the fabulous work and thanks for the training schedule. I had something very similar in mind for my 20 weeks and have tweaked it here and there (and will continue to I’m sure) to work for me. But many miles down already and I am feeling so happy just to be able to be allowed to run each morning. Thanks for the extra inspiration!

    PS. And if this comment isn’t long enough, I am SO MUCH SLOWER on the treadmill than outside. I know a lot of people are the opposite, but honestly, like 2-3 minutes per mile slower. It is crazy cakes. I would get so discouraged on the treadmill, then run outside and it would make me feel like a rock star. So now I just do my best on the treadmill and don’t get that hung up about the time. My focus is on getting in the miles I need to each day. Okay, that is definitely enough for me. Good luck and thanks again!

  41. Sarah says:

    Sometimes heading out the door to run in the most difficult part of the entire run! I would really encourage you to work up the courage to find a running partner. It makes a huge difference to me both before and during a run – before I’m committed and don’t want to let my friend down and during, well, the conversation keeps me distracted and moving forward. I loved reading your training update!

  42. Cara says:

    Way to go on your first week!! It’s easy to get discouraged, but remember that you will have those days frequently, lol! I am primarily a treadmill runner (especially with this crappy MN weather) and actually really love it. I watch the A&E show “The First 48” and time flies by. And I could totally be a homicide detective now, just sayin…

    One thing that has helped with my speed is running at a higher speed (7 or 8 for me) for one minute, then back down to a comfortable pace for 2 minutes, back up for one and so on and so forth…Also jacking up the incline during that minute is killer!

    You got this, don’t be down on yourself!

  43. Helen says:

    I’m slow in joing this comment thread … But I wanted to thank you Mel for your real life experiences, it really helped me feel so much better, especially because I’m facing very similar challenges just finding a reasonable time to get out and do it. I’m too nervous to run/walk in the dark alone .. But I’m not much for company either, mostly because I am slow. Pushing a stroller is my option .. Not easy. I did a 5k (pretty close) today … Just really brisk walking with the stroller I guess it’s better than nothing .. Thanks for the inspiration, I will preservere !!

  44. Lisa D says:

    I love that you are doing this!! I can totally relate to pushing the double stroller and having the dog come along too. Been there a few times. I remember one time making my oldest get out and walk because the stroller was so heavy! 🙂 Yep, awesome mom right here! He could see I was literally on my last breath of air, and ran next to me for bit. Just keep going and it will get easier and when it gets easier it becomes more fun. It seems like there is never an easy time to fit it in, but it is worth it when you do. It helps when the days get longer and you have a few more hours of light to work with. Its much easier to get up when its light too! Just keep running, just keep running! You can do it! Can’t wait to continue reading the running journey. You will be hooked after this!

  45. Kristen Norby says:

    You’re being too hard on yourself for pace time. 11:15 isn’t bad. When I first started running years ago i was at an 11:30-11:45, but i was just happy i was doing it. A couple years in I’m at a 10:05-10:15 but I’m usually just happy if I’m under 10:30. You’ll get there with work. Just enjoy the experience as much as you can. Also, just remember that your first race will automatically be a PR (personal record), so that’s always nice 😉

  46. Julie B says:

    I know you probably are sick to death of all of the advice, but here are my two cents. I started running after baby number three 15 years ago. It wasn’t really because I thought it would be great, but because walking just wasn’t helping me lose the baby weight and life with 3 children under 4 wasn’t allowing a lot of time. Running was the “fast” solution I needed. My husband bought me a treadmill and I could blast in 20 minutes and call it good. It was rough, but over the years and having two more children, a couple of surgeries, lots of injuries and still battling my weight every stinking day, I have learned a few things that might help you in your running journey.

    1. Call yourself a runner. We start to believe the things we think and say about ourselves, good and bad. You are running so that makes you a runner. Say it over and over while you are running.
    2. Running really fast is mostly genetic and lots of training. The vast majority of “mother runners” run between 10-12 minute miles. If you are trying to increase your distance- like for this 1/2 marathon- don’t worry so much about the time it takes. If you know you’d like to finish in a certain time focus on that later in your training. Right now you are just trying to convince your body to go farther.
    3. The first mile is almost always the most difficult. Playing mind games helps. Telling yourself it will get better soon or repeating a positive mantra or thinking about making a treat later will help you get through it.
    4. The treadmill is your friend. I swear that I truly never thought I would say that, but now I love my treadmill. I don’t have a huge house and my treadmill is an eyesore in my family room, but I love that thing!! If there is a regular route you run outside, use that as a motivator while on the treadmill when you are sick to death of it. Think of where along your route you would be if you were outside. Divide your time into segments and change up the speed. For example, run at your regular pace for 3 minutes and then turn up the speed a mph or two and run fast for 1 minute. Then return to your regular pace. Doing this will help the time go by more quickly and have the benefit of help you speed up your pace a bit.
    5. Find a running buddy for a couple of runs a month. I have run mostly by myself for years and I have come to enjoy that time to think and solve the world’s problems. But I make an effort to invite a couple of friends to run on Saturdays a few times a month when the weather is good. This has been the perfect balance for me. It gives me something to look forward to and motivates me to run during the week. I have one sister and a friend who are pretty fast so I run with them when I am wanting to push myself a bit. Otherwise I have found which friends run at the same “mother runner” pace as I do and aren’t offended by a walk break if someone if having a crappy running day.
    6. Last, 5ks are fun. I have run a number of 1/2 marathons and trained for a full but suffered injuries and lack of family time that I just didn’t find worth the struggle of trying a marathon again. I love 5k races though. I try to find ones that benefit a cause or are in memorial of loved ones. Those are the best. It is nice to run with happy people who want to enjoy the event and are not too worried about being the “winner”. If you are running and doing good things, you are a winner!

    Best of luck! “just keep running, running, running…” (singsong voice of Dory)

    • Mel says:

      Hi Julie – thank you so much for typing up your thoughts on running. I enjoyed reading every word and love the advice from others who have made running part of their lives. I’m sure I’ll be thinking about and applying lots of what you said. Thank you!

  47. Kuddos to you Mel for running while still running a business and a family! I didn’t start running til after the kids were grown so you are already a Rockstar in my eyes! I love your steady pace. Believe me you will run happier and your body will like it better too. Keep up the great training. You got this! 🙂

  48. Julie says:

    I’m following your same training schedule Mel, and I’ve got my 2 & 1 year olds in the double jogging stroller, and my 5 year old on a bike, and it’s been tough- mostly for them! I have to keep circling back to encourage my 5 yr old to keep going, and it’s hard for the little ones in the stroller not to bug each other too much. But I feel so good about accomplishing a run in my day. It has been unusually warm here in Utah, which has made for perfect running weather. I have such a hard time on a treadmill because there is nothing to distract me and I love being outdoors, so good for you for trying that! I don’t have running buddies yet because I can’t commit to a time with my crazy mom schedule, but it truly does make a difference to run with other people. I wish we lived closer so we could run together 🙂 My husband and I trained with his parents for a marathon when we were first married, and between my husband and mother-in-law (both alpha-conversationalists), there was never a quiet moment and it TOTALLY got me through the training and marathon! Good luck next week!!

  49. Natalie says:

    I didn’t read any of the other comments, so sorry if this is repetitive. I’m SO sorry you had a discouraging first week. Running with a jogging stroller totally sucks. It’s so much harder than you think it’s going to be. I did it once or twice and was like, “Forget this!” Same with running on the treadmill. It’s actually a lot harder than road running. My solution when I was training and my hubby wasn’t available to watch kids was to swap kid-watching with a friend. We’d take turns going out for a run. I have also just watched someone else’s kids when she was training because it was a goal of hers and I wanted to help her out.

    I bet you could find someone that would be willing to help you with your kiddos just so you could achieve your goal (or maybe in exchange for some of your yummy breads or cookies?). ASK FOR HELP! It will be far less discouraging when you can get out on the road (sidewalk, trail, whatever) and not have to worry about kids or dogs or the dark or anything else. Good luck this coming week!

  50. Laura says:

    You got this Mel! I just ran 6 miles today in under an hour. I never thought I’d be able to do that!!! Especially 4 months postpartum!

  51. ErinM says:

    I am loving reading about your running journey!! You are going to look back at how far you’ve come and be so proud of yourself!! I am hoping to get back into running and so tempted to sign for the half marathon with you!!! Don’t get discouraged-the first few weeks getting into it are the hardest part. Keep with it though and one day you’ll realize that you’ve become one of those crazies that loves running!!! Keep it up and keep us updated!! xoxo

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