How to become a runner when you’re not a runner

At the end of my first MDRA long Saturday run!

Do you consider yourself a runner? My type 1 friends Don Muchow, who I mentioned last week – he’s running coast to coast, and Douglas Scalia, who’s on his way to running 20 marathons by his birthday on 6/20/2020, THEY are runners!!! I liked running when I was in grade school, but since then, I repeatedly have to convince myself that I’m a runner.

It feels like EVERY SINGLE YEAR, I have to coerce myself to start running again and to actually use the term RUNNER on myself. If you can relate at all, please drop me a note!! I need to hear from others who understand my dilemma.

I am nearing the official start of the 16 week training program I’m using to prepare for the Timberman Olympic distance triathlon that will be on July 11, 2020. Thus, as I mentioned last week, I am nearing getting 9 workouts a week scheduled and accomplished. Figuring out how to become a runner when really I’m not a runner has become a primary focus.

Here are 3 strategies I’m using. Let me know what your strategies are!! I really need to know how others do this.

Strategy 1: Go to run intervals every week

As I mentioned last week, my runner friend Jenny convinced me to join her on Thursday mornings at the YWCA for a run interval class. Even though we are about the slowest runners every week, the rhythm of showing up to run class every week has started to sink into my subconscious. Sort of. I do run for almost the entire hour that I’m there!! I even push myself to run faster for some of the loops around the track. It’s the consistency and it’s helping! I can feel my body getting stronger, which is a delightful side benefit.

Strategy 2: Join a run club

My friend Jenny told me about the Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA) and in my quest to BE a runner, I decided to join. Last week I went to the half marathon/marathon class kickoff and last Saturday I did my first group run. Amazingly, there’s a run group called The Terrapins (Note: terrapins are turtles that spend time both on land and in brackish, swampy water. The word “terrapin” comes from an Algonquian Indian word meaning “a little turtle.” from Wikipedia) and the pace of the Terrapins group is 11 – 12 minute miles. I can run about 12 minute miles, on a good day.

I was astonished last Saturday, when we were getting ready to run, there were almost 60 people gathered, and 18 of them self selected to the Terrapin group!!! WOW. For the first mile and a half, I kept up with the group. I even managed, despite my exercise induced asthma rearing its head, to talk to a few different people. Then we reached a little hill that was completely covered with ice. Having broken my ankle twice, I decided that my run for the day was half over. I said goodbye and turned around and ran back to my car.

I confess, I didn’t run as fast back to my car since I was alone and more aware of how cold I was. Before I got into my car, I stood in the parking lot and made myself promise that I would do another 3 mile run on Tuesday AND I promised myself I would show up to the group long run the next Saturday with the intention of running one mile further than I had just run. I was very happy to get into my warm car with my promises to myself.

Strategy 3: Keep telling yourself and your friends that you are a runner

After all, what you tell yourself and your friends does become reality. That’s why I’m writing this blog post, it’s part of my strategy of convincing myself: I AM A RUNNER!!!

I would love to hear from you! Especially those of you who have to convince yourself to keep running and that you too are a runner!!

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