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Building a Better Editor: On the run

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Halifax Magazine

As I’ve worked for the last year to lose weight and get fitter, one of the hardest things to get my head around has been the fact that this is a race with no finish line. My initial goal was to lose 40 pounds. I accomplished that but, as tempting as it was, I knew I couldn’t return to my old lifestyle. Jon Ells, my trainer at GoodLife Park Lane, spent a lot of time in the last 14 months explaining to me the danger of returning to my old diet and eating habits. And, of course, he’s right. Living that way once got me fat. Living that way again will have the same results.

So my challenge, now that I’m more or less happy with my weight, has been to find a new goal to focus on. I’ve decided I want to get serious about running. The gym I go to is conveniently close to my work, but nowhere near my home. On weekends and holidays, that’s been a fairly consistent excuse to skip exercising. Running, which I can easily do in my neighbourhood, seems like a good way to nip that in the bud. Also fuelling the desire to run is the way I hear friends and colleagues talk about their Blue Nose Marathon experiences every year. Whether they run the 5K or the full marathon, they take tremendous pride in being part of the event. And I want to be part of that excitement too. So, this winter I’m getting serious about running.

While I’ve been running more in the last year, I haven’t been serious or organized about it—just going when the urge strikes me, and running until I feel like stopping. Over the next few months, as I prepare to run some portion (likely the 10K) of the Blue Nose, I have to figure out what I need to do. I have lots of concerns. Do I have the endurance? Will my finicky right knee hold up? Will I make a complete arse of myself on Blue Nose day? I’m trepidatious, and have a lot of work ahead of me. The first step is a meeting with Jon, to talk about my goals and develop a plan on how to train for this. Stay tuned for the results of that. In the meantime, if you’re an amateur runner, I desperately need your advice. What tips do you have for a newbie? Post a comment and share your advice.

  • Martin Wallace

    I write as someone who was overweight and asthmatic as a child and now runs decent half marathons. I didn’t really make any progress until I learned a few things.

    The most important thing is to get a good running plan from places like The Running Room and follow it. In my experience, frequency is far more important than speed or distance. Setting too high a goal in each of these areas leads to discouragement. Commit to running about 5 days a week (rest days are important!) and focus on getting out. The important thing is to do what you set out to do, NOT to hit a certain time. If you’re on a plan, distance is important, but resolve to finish that distance even if you have to walk some of it. (The Running Room does a 10 run/ 1 min walk plan that a lot of new runners find helpful. If that’s too much do 4/1 3/1 or even 1/1)

    Note that a decent run plan will include easy days as well as hard ones. Trying to best yourself every day is a recipe for failure. The only thing you must be hard on yourself about is making sure you run. My own experience has been that 5 mediocre runs/week will give you far more improvement than 2 hard ones.

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