I have never liked to run. I play soccer, but always tell my coach/teammates that I hate running and I am terrible at it. [Insert eye-roll here.] I am also not the best swimmer in the world. I took a few swimming lessons when I was 8 or 9 and I can make it across a pool without drowning, but I don’t know how great it looks. I don’t own a bike and haven’t ridden a bicycle that wasn’t stationary in more than 10 years. That being said, many out there may wonder why I have started training for my first triathlon.
Crazy? Perhaps. It came about because my good friend asked me to train with her. I said, “Sure!” after about 10 seconds. I started on my diet the following day and one week later our 5-day training weeks started. We have been training for over a month now and, shockingly, I haven’t died yet.
When I started running a year ago I was training alone for my first 5k. I completed it in May 2011, but I had to walk a good portion of the route. The first day of my training program was, “Walk 6 minutes, jog 1 minute, walk 6 minutes, jog 1 minute” for a total of 30 minutes. And, yes, I was quite tired when it was over. Even after months of running at the gym almost every day, I couldn’t run the whole 3.1 miles no matter how hard I tried. Last week, after taking a 5-month break since my 5k, I ran over 6 miles. (Note: when I say “run” I mean “jog” by most people’s standards. This is a 12 minute mile on average.)
So what changed? My mindset.
I actually like running now – it is one of the easiest parts of my weekly routine. Once you run 20 minutes without stopping, the next time you run you have to will yourself into running at least 21 minutes. Before, I used to think, “I need to stop.” or “I need a break.” or “I can’t.” Now, I find myself thinking, “You can walk when it’s over.” Everyone needs to listen to their body of course – sometimes you really do need to take a break. However, you can go a lot farther than you think you can when you turn your mind off and just go. I find running outside to be much easier (even with the hills) than running on a treadmill and count songs instead of minutes: 30 minutes sounds a lot longer than 8 songs.
One of my runner friends told me, “Once you get past that mental block, there is a point where you can just run forever. If you can do a 5k, you can do a 10k. If you can do a 10k, you can do a half marathon. If you can do a half marathon, you can probably do a full one.” Now, I don’t anticipate doing a marathon any time soon, but I really believe that if I wanted to I could. If you don’t believe it, I recommend you watch the Biggest Loser Marathon – it is amazing.
Our minds are so powerful. They can hold us back or push us forward. I truly believe that running is 90% mental – you just have to get past the initial break. Honestly, I think all exercise is that way. What do you think? Have you made it past your mental barriers yet? Do you disagree with me? I would love to hear about it.
My name is Melina Young and I am the director of marketing at Verity Credit Union. I love everything to do with marketing, advertising, public relations and social media – especially all the research that goes into making a product or service really work for our members and making sure the right people hear about it. In addition to my time spent marketing, I have a blog and write about celiac disease, which I was diagnosed with in 2010. Basically, I can’t eat any of those foods we all love that are made with wheat, barley or rye.
I have also recently started running and completed my first 5k in 2011. Some people may not know that I used to do a lot of acting, dancing and singing in my life. I was in a Nike commercial with Gary Payton in junior high (if anyone ever finds the footage please send it my way!) and I used to compete as an opera singer in high school. I almost majored in musical theater in college, but I’m very glad with my decision to study marketing!