I hear it all the time: “I’m not a runner. I would if I could, but I can’t run.”
I said that, too, and I believed it to be true because every time I ran I struggled with an intense cramp in my side. I was sure I’d never be able to run. Turned out I was wrong. That was over 200 races and 44 years ago.
I discovered several critical secrets that enabled me to succeed, and they will do the same for you.
A 92-year old woman, Harriette Thompson, recently set the record for being the oldest woman to run a marathon, and she STARTED running at age 76! Not that I expect all runners to set their sites on a marathon; I’m just making a point.
For me, the obstacle was that side cramp, but for more people the issue is knee pain, trouble with breathing or motivation.
When people tell me they “Can’t run,” they put great emphasis on the word “can’t.” Those people will experience the greatest pleasure, a few weeks from now, when they can say, “I am a runner.”
Don’t compare yourself to the runners you see in magazines or flying down Bayshore. They were beginners once too. Focus on running just a few steps. If you can run 10 steps and you run 15 steps next week and 20 steps the next week, you’ll eventually do a 5k.
Of course, my program is a bit more sophisticated than that. You’ll learn correct form from day 1, and I’ll have you doing a pattern of walking alternated with running, starting with only a mile for the true beginners. Those who’ve already been doing a walk/run will have a different workout. Each person’s training is geared to the individual.
Here are the secrets to success:
- Start at the right point for you, for your current physical condition and experience level.
- Learn correct form from day 1. Often, this alone will prevent achy knees or other discomforts that you may have experienced before.
- Strengthen the muscles to reinforce good form and prevent injury.
- Progress at a rate appropriate for your fitness level. It’s not a race to see how fast you can become a runner.
- Slow down. Most people just starting out, even when running only a few steps at a time, go too fast.
- Learn what not to do.
Here is a key, maybe the key: There is nothing wrong with baby steps. Nothing. Start small, gradually; that’s fine. That’s great. It means you’re much more likely to succeed. Go into this with a careful plan and a caring, knowledgeable coach by your side, me, and you will succeed, but standing still will get you nowhere. Do this with me. You will never look back.
After one workout, you’ll be thinking, “I can do this” and you’ll be right. You’ll never have to worry about motivation because you will enjoy the workouts. You’ll know you’re on the road to achieving your goal.