A new year often brings the idea of a new beginning. We find ourselves relieved that we’ve made it through one more year (especially 2009) and challenge ourselves with new goals and resolutions for the next 365 days of our lives. Yes, I am that person reminding you of your resolutions and encouraging you to keep them! I’d like to share with you a new habit of mine that has begun to benefit me in more ways than I originally thought. It’s running uptown.
At my family’s annual Christmas get-together on the Gulf Coast of Florida, my parents handed me a book entitled Marathoning for Mortals by John Bingham and encouraged me to take a look. Being a former college soccer player, the only type of training I remember is getting up too early, lifting too much, running until I couldn’t breathe anymore and spending hours on the field in game situations. Getting older, I’ve realized that my body does not respond to exercise the way it used to. And “training” was out of the question, because I just end up getting hurt. However, marathon training provides a slow, progressive, week-by-week method to running more than you ever thought you could.
Taking my parents advice and finding instant inspiration from them urged me to make a goal of completing a marathon in 2010. But how will I get there? My first step was to pick a half marathon a few months out to complete as a base for the training I will need for the full marathon. Jacksonville, Fla., is the destination of my first half marathon, which will take place on February 21. If you have never run before, pick a 5k and then a 10k to work your way up. I began with Charlotte’s very own Turkey Trot (8k) last Thanksgiving, and the excitement of pinning a number on your shirt and crossing the finish line has been more than enough to carry me through my current training program. Once you have made up your mind to get to the start line of a race, you’ll find yourself motivated to run. You will quickly realize that it’s not about how fast or hard or intense your workouts are, but rather you'll be content with the satisfaction of starting and finishing each session. Before you know it you will be relieved when you realize you only have an 8-mile run to complete for the day. I know this sounds crazy at first, but trust me – building step-by-step gets you there. Just don’t push it!
Running uptown you ask? I’ve recently moved into an uptown condo, and the combination of working and living within the I-277 loop has created a deeper sense of community with Charlotte. Occasionally, my training program will call for timed runs that do not require a certain distance, and it’s on these days I will cover everything from Trade & Tryon and beyond. It’s fun to whisk by the Westin, First Ward development, say hello to friends at the EpiCentre, pay a visit to Bank of America Stadium, run by Butter in the N.C. Music Factory, and brisk by Alexander Michaels in the same day and on foot. The sights, sounds, and familiar faces of uptown running brings with it an added motivation to keep those feet moving. Recently, I even ran into an acquaintance at a local restaurant who was quick to let me know he nearly hit me at an uptown intersection. “I saw this crazy person running and realized it was you,” he said. I also feel it very important to high five other runners I cross paths with on the street. Some find it crazy, but I know it instills a little more motivation in us both.
With all of that said, let me take a final moment to encourage you to re-visit your New Year’s resolutions. If you haven’t kept them all, get on it! Feel free to add running to the list if you have not done so already. I have even made it easy for you by attaching a link below to a few 5k and 10k training programs, so you have no excuse. I can promise you that running will bring you more emotional, physical, and even spiritual satisfaction than you ever could have imagined.
Runner’s World Training Programs