A few years ago I started walking to get in better shape. These hour-long walks three to four days a week helped me drop more than 50 pounds. Needless to say, I was ecstatic! As the walks became easier and my body became leaner, I wanted to take it to the next level. I wanted to run.
I started running on the treadmill at an incline for short bursts at a time – maybe five to 10 minutes before going back to a nice brisk walk. I then decided to try out my new “running skills” outside which turned out to be easier said than done! I no longer had the benefit of a “moving trail” beneath me, and it almost felt like I was starting over. However, I would not give up, and I learned some valuable lessons that I hope you will find helpful as well:
Being overzealous can not only do physical harm, but emotional harm as well.
In other words – pace yourself. If you walk for an hour, find little moments throughout your walk to run. I started setting small goals, such as running between stop signs or streetlights and then walking again. By doing this, I never overexerted myself nor did I feel like a failure because I didn’t run a full mile the first time. And over time I was able to run further and even faster. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! While you want to push yourself, don’t overexert yourself.
Find someone who can help motivate you.
I have a good friend Kim who has wonderful endurance and is a great runner; however, the greatest thing about her is that she is also patient. We would go running together a few times a week. Even though Kim can easily run faster and further than I can, she would always stay with me and pay attention to my breathing. This is also helpful when working out at the gym. Sometimes your best motivation can be an accountability partner.
Find useful tools to help motivate you.
While training for my first 5K (3.1 miles), I was blessed with the opportunity to partner with trainers through a local shoe store. Every week they would watch us run and give us helpful tips like running with our shoulders back to open our chest for better breathing. You can find running clubs all over Dallas/Fort Worth that cater to all ages and physical levels. Websites with helpful running tips can also be useful. There are also several applications for your smartphone, like “Couch to 5k” that gives instructions through your earphones as you run.
Don’t compare yourself to other runners.
I often hear people say, “I don’t want to be the last person” or “I won’t be able to run the entire race.” Oftentimes, these thoughts can actually stop someone from even trying. As with anything you want to do (i.e. weight loss or continued education), you have to do it for yourself and not someone else.
When I ran my first half marathon I finished behind a LOT of people but I could care less. The tears running down my face were not because of where I placed, but because I actually finished something that I thought I could never, ever do.
I hope this article helped motivate you to step out of your comfort zone. Remember that these steps can be used for any new physical challenge. Good luck taking it to the next level – whatever that might be!
Helpful Links (There are literally thousands of tools you can find through any internet search engine.)
I like using the following running apps:
- Nike+ Running
“Electric Corner” – At the end of each blog I will add a factoid to help readers better understand some aspect of electricity.
Today’s tip: Electric Vehicles (EVs)
As consumers look for options to help protect our environment, the demand for electric vehicles has steadily increased. Oncor is a partner in providing education to consumers who either own or are contemplating owning an EV.
- Environmental Benefits – Emissions from EVs are significantly lower than those produced by traditional vehicles.
- Energy Independence – Electricity is produced locally (domestically), reducing dependence on foreign oil.
- Economic Benefits – The cost to operate an EV is around three cents per mile (based on $.10/kWh and 3.3 miles/kWh) compared to 14 cents per mile for a traditional vehicle (based on $3.50 per gallon of gasoline and 25 miles per gallon.)
- Abundant Wind Power – Texas has more than 10,000 megawatts of wind generation capacity, which will eventually fuel more than five million Texas vehicles through clean power.
- Advanced Metering – Advanced meters give customers information about power consumption. They also enable Retail Electric Providers to offer EV-friendly rate plans for lost cost overnight charging (Generally, avoid charging between 12 and 8 p.m. to help maximize efficiency and reliability of the power system.)
- Contact Oncor at 888.313.6862 or www.askoncor.com once you make the choice to purchase an electric vehicle. They can then check the power lines and equipment serving your home and make any necessary adjustments to help ensure continued safe and reliable electric service to your home. More information can be found at www.oncor.com/ev.