For Good, New Runners

Good Content from: Saucony fan, Regan

Hi, my name is Regan, and I’m a runner.

That’s the first time I’ve ever said (or typed) those words. I’ve skirted around it—told people who ask about my running, “Oh but I wouldn’t really call myself a runner!” In fact, I used to tell a lot of people that I hate running. But I’ve got the bug now, and I’m not turning back.

Before 2020 I had never run a full mile in my life. I made half-hearted attempts but told myself it was too hard and that I could get fit in other ways. So I did. I jumped around gyms, boot camps, and even tried several at-home workout programs. Nothing stuck.

When stay-at-home orders were issued in March 2020, I was five months postpartum with my youngest of two sons, and I had just finished a program that helped me lose a lot of baby weight. I knew I had to keep my momentum going but felt lost.

So I started to run.

It was a way for me to keep both my baby and two-year-old happy while getting some exercise in—a win-win for any mom! I would plop them side-by-side in my double jogging stroller and get after it. Running helped me escape from the stress of working at home full time, caring for my boys all day, and the overwhelming mental strain of the pandemic.

Make no mistake, it was a slow start with walk/run intervals, often just totaling 15-20 minutes. But something about my feet turning over on the pavement made me feel alive. It was hard, and it was tiring, and most of the time I was tempted to cut my long-run intervals short, but I stuck it out. I’ll never forget the first time I ran a solid 20 minutes without having to stop and walk. I was making progress and building on that base.

Then I did something crazy. I submitted an application to run 178 miles over one week in June 2021. To my surprise, I was selected to participate in MS Run the US, a 19-man coast-to-coast relay that raises money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. I may not have the experience and miles, but my own personal battle with Multiple Sclerosis is my fuel. Right now, I have strong, capable legs, but not all MS warriors are as lucky, and my own future health is uncertain, so I’m going to take my gift of mobility and use it to push my limits and make a difference.

You see, I started to believe in myself and find purpose in my running. It gave me newfound confidence to conquer things that once seemed impossible. I used to jokingly tell people, “The only way you will get me to run is to dangle a cheeseburger on a string in front of me!” yet here I am, a reformed non-runner, gearing up to essentially run a marathon a day for a whole week.

I ran my first official half marathon at the start of 2021. It was exhilarating, and the moment I crossed the finish line I knew I had officially fallen in love with running. I’m in the throes of training and pursuing something so far out of my comfort zone, but in the moments when it gets too hard and I want to slow down or stop, I hit the gas and remind myself that my worst day on the road would be someone else’s best day.

A 2011 study published in the medical journal The Patient, found that 41 percent of people with Multiple Sclerosis deal with mobility issues and sometimes have trouble walking. Based on the fact that 2.3 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with MS, that means that nearly one million people out there would likely love to be in the rhythm of running, feet striking the pavement, sun shining down on them, no matter how out-of-breath they feel. That’s what keeps me pushing to new limits. I don’t HAVE to run, I GET to. It’s a privilege, and I never take that for granted.

For all of you out there who aren’t sure where and how to get started and feel like you don’t have what it takes, trust me when I say you do. The key to becoming a runner is starting before you’re ready. If you wait until you finally feel ready to conquer running, it’ll never happen.

Strap on your most comfortable pair of tennis shoes (Saucony Triumph 18’s for me!) and just start putting one foot in front of the other. Start small and slow and find the balance between pushing yourself and also understanding your limits. Someday soon you’ll cross over from a love-hate to love-love relationship with running, and you’ll smile and gush about it to everyone like I do anytime some asks me about my training. You’ve got what it takes to get there, just start before you’re ready.

I’ll leave you with my top five tips for getting started and following through with running:

  1. Buy the right shoes. Seriously. I fought through injury for a couple of weeks that immediately went away as soon as I purchased my Saucony running shoes and started spending a little extra time warming up pre-run and stretching more post-run. If you still feel overwhelmed by shoe options, find a local running shoe store and go in for a fitting/consultation.
  2. Wake up and put on workout clothes. Most of us are still working from home a lot, and I find it much easier to get my butt in motion if I put on my running uniform first thing in the morning, even if I’m not running until lunchtime. It’s one less excuse.
  3. Set small goals. Maybe you start out running one minute, then walking two for a total of 20 minutes, and your goal is to flip flop that in two weeks so you’re running two minutes and walking one. Maybe your goal is to run half a mile without stopping. Keep it manageable in the beginning and keep building.
  4. Find a compelling podcast. This has been the key to distance running for me. I love a good true-crime podcast with several episodes to keep me focused on an engaging storyline.
  5. Choose a route that gives you energy. Go to a scenic park, head to a neighborhood trail, or run the streets. Some people like to run in solitude, but others feel more inspired with the hustle and bustle of people. Choose a place where you feel comfortable, safe, and motivated.

Oh, and follow my MS Run the US journey to see me conquer 178 miles in June!

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