Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Listen Up, Maggots

I'm gonna make runners out of all you sorry recruits. (At the request of thumbscre.ws.)

This is all you need:
  • Comfortable running shoes
  • Supportive bra (if applicable)
  • Half an hour every other day (NOT every day)
Here's the secret knowledge:
  • Running is different than walking. Yes, walking can be good exercise, blah blah blah. The difference is that with running, there is that marvelous fraction of a second when you break free of the earth's gravity and are floating in air. Then you come crashing back down. You cannot cheat on this, unlike with walking, which easily becomes ambling for most folks.
  • Everyone makes the same mistake when starting out: going too fast. When you start, you need to go SLOWLY. So slowly that you could probably walk faster. So slowly that you will feel humiliated if you see anyone you know.
  • Do not worry about (or even calculate) your speed or distance. Measure yourself only by time.
That's it. Put on the shoes, go out the door, and start running as slowly as you can bear to go. In the beginning, you might only be able to run for ten minutes of your half hour. Don't push it. Walk the rest. Over time you can SLOWLY increase the amount of time you're actually running until you're doing it the whole thirty minutes. If you actually do see someone you know, pretend you're just finishing an epic twelve-mile run: fake that you're "shaking it out" and dramatically wipe the sweat from your brow.

(As for stretching, meh. It's never really been shown to do much. I do a few yoga-type stretches and some ITB stretches (especially #3) beforehand, but if I'm in a real rush, I skip them.)

You will need to figure out if you're a morning runner, an evening runner, or a fortunate bi. I have never been able to run in the early morning, which is too bad, because it means double showering on weekdays. My favorite time to run is about 4 pm. During the week I have to go at 6 pm or so, but as long as I have a snack beforehand, I manage.

The following are NOT good excuses for not running:
  • I don't have time. Me neither. But I do it anyway.
  • I'm not athletic. Why do you think you have to start slower than an arthritic sloth? In fact, former athletes probably can't use this program. They can't wrap their minds around the concept of no longer being competitive.
  • My boobs are too big. Strap those puppies down. I admit I'm not the best qualified to comment on this, but some of my best friends are well-endowed runners, and they manage with industrial-strength bras. When I went running with a new and impressive lactation rack, I found the double-bra method effective.
  • The baby cries in the running stroller. So does mine. Sometimes I bribe him with candy; sometimes I leave him home with his father; sometimes I let him cry. But I still run.
  • I'm too fat. If you can walk, you can probably run. Not as fast or as far, but you're not measuring speed and distance anyway. And don't worry about what people might think (unless you live in L.A.). When I see someone of large proportions out running, I want to cheer them on.
  • It's too hot/cold/rainy/snowy. Oh, suck it up. (Also suck on an inhaler if you have asthma like I do.)
  • I can't afford the equipment. Really, the shoes and bra are all you need, and they don't have to cost a lot of money. You don't even need a jogging stroller; I used a regular stroller when I first started running again and just ran on smooth pavement. Babies like to be jostled anyway.
  • I'm too depressed/headachy/chronically under the weather. Running will fix all that!
  • Joggers are dorky. Oh, like you're so hip? I've seen you going to the store for Ben & Jerry's wearing those droopy pants and that stained t-shirt.
The following may or may not be good excuses for not running:
  • I have a bad knee/hip/foot/back. As long as running does not actually make you hurt more, it should be fine to do it. I have found that as long as I only run every other day, I remain injury-free.
  • I'm pregnant. Some people can keep running when they're with child. I was not one of them.
  • My neighborhood is too dangerous. Can you drive somewhere? Can you get a running buddy?
  • I hate running. If you give the above regimen a real try — say for two solid months — and you still hate it, ok. But if you just think you hate it, it's probably because you've always tried to run too hard and fast.
Let me know how it goes. Maggots.

(Update 2012: For more, here are all the running posts, or check the sidebar to the right for "Running FAQs/Maggot Files")

79 comments:

a Peach said...

What about chafing? I admit I've used almost all of those excuses to not run (except the pregnant one), but what about the inevitable chafing in the thigh area???? How do you prevent that? If you can help me prevent the chafing, I promise to try at least one week of the plan and progress to the full two-month plan if I'm not dead at the end of the week.

Reese said...

Delurking to say I love the post and I'm trying it tonight.

jpn said...

Well --- I'm in awe of your marathon, so I'm glad to see you also give good advice to those who might not have those kind of aspirations.

I'd like to add a few comments from my perspective as an older woman runner --- I began running in 1976 at the age of twenty-eight. Up until that time I was totally not someone who did physical fitness --- I lived in my head and not my body. Then I found a book called "Aerobics" and discovered that I was a lot happier camper when I got out of my head every now and then, and that running was a great way to do that (thank you, Kenneth Cooper).

I've been a runner continuously for thirty years (I hate the words "jog" and "jogger" --- sounds so dilettante-ish), despite a funky left knee which whines at me from time to time. (Several years ago I finally decided that I was going to run a marathon --- I got up to twelve miles before my knee gave me a choice: run a marathon now and maybe never run again, or be able to run five miles two or three times a week for the rest of my life. It was an easy decision.)

To your excellent advice I'd only add the following:
---Don't skimp on shoes. Buy real running shoes, get fitted by someone who knows what they're doing, and really do replace them often. The standard advice is every 500 miles, which seems a little excessive to me, but then what's more important --- a few bucks for new shoes, or functional knees? Running is actually the cheapest sport you'll ever get involved in.
---I have never stretched, either before or after a run. From what I read, it's not a good idea to stretch cold muscles anyway. HOWEVER (and I think this is critical to staying injury-free) I walk for five to ten minutes before I start running, as well as for a few minutes after I stop. I don't often hear from my knee if I am faithful about this.
---I agree about running slowly. I have a good friend who runs both marathons and ultra-marathons, and he trains at an 11- to 12-minute-per-mile pace. If you aren't able to converse comfortably, you're going too fast.
---And last: I also do a lot of walking, which is great exercise and easier on the body. But I continue to run because something often happens for me after I've been out for a half-hour or so that never happens when I walk, no matter how far --- everything else falls away and it's just me and the present moment, monkey mind calm and focused at last. It's the best meditation I've ever found.

Whoa --- what a very long comment!

joyce said...

Chafing can be taken care of with bodyglide, http://www.bodyglide.com/, bag balm, or Vaseline, and wearing longer shorts. I suggest spandex biking shorts of some sort. For these distances, the seams should not matter, but if the seams do rub you wrong, turn them inside out and keep on trucking. Cut the tag out to avoid some of the "do you know your shorts are inside-out?" questions.

Old MD Girl said...

Amen. Actually I hate running. It hurts my feet, back, shoulders, etc. But I feel exactly the same way you do about swimming. And you're right, walking just doesn't cut it. Just get out there people!!!

Anonymous said...

So I just started running two weeks ago. I am doing the couch to 5K method on the cool runnings site and so far it is working great for out of shape me.
Christa

Orange said...

I don't think my feet will let me be a runner. And I've gone to the shoe stores that runners go to, to no avail. My feet are difficult little bastards. Hell, I can get significant foot pain from a new pair of shoes I haven't even bought yet—three minutes of wandering around the shoe store, and my left arch might hurt. I can't try on more than five pairs of shoes that don't fit right or that hurt before I grow too discouraged to continue. I don't suppose I can run in Merrell clogs?

I'm picturing a woman running in shoes and a bra—and nothing else. Groins out, girls!

Julie said...

Thank you for this! I promise to consider thinking about it, which is about eight miles closer to doing it than I've ever been before.

Phantom Scribbler said...

Delurking to say that I, too, am saving this so that I can consider promising to consider thinking about it.

Nik said...

OK, my new personal trainer. Here's some more questions: Do I have to keep adding minutes to the amount of time that I run so that by the time I'm fifty, I'm running six hours a day to keep my metabolism the same? Do I have to wear a sports bra or can I just suck it up and let my boobs bounce about? Slower than I walk? What about hills? Should I run up them? Down them? Skip them entirely? Asphalt or sidewalk? Dirt roads?
After eating? Can I run after drinking red wine? (That last one is kind of a joke. Kind of).
I already half-assed run once or twice a week, but I've never gotten into it. Perhaps this super-slow thing will help. I'll check back and let you know.

Wendy said...

Ok, so I tried it when I got home from work. And your right-I felt stupid at first, but after a few minutes, I decided I didn't care (although I avoided the field where soccer practice was going on, as I couldn't bear the thought of children pointing and laughing). Hooray! I RAN. Last time I ran was track and field. Am very hardcore now. Also, had the baby in a regular stroller so she was joggled about. She was perfectly content.

bihari said...

Brilliant sports-medicine woman! This is the exact regimen I have always used, and it took me from never-runner through two marathons. Hoorah! (OK, I trained properly for the marathons, but I stayed SLOW. So slow I will never reveal my times.) Post-baby, I find that not trying to run too much is the key to running at all: I love the 30 minutes every other day routine. Sometimes I sneak in yoga on the off days. More often not.

The baby jogger rocks, I agree, but I have to say, with two, I leave them home. I did the double stroller for the first eight months, but now it's so heavy with their combined sixty pounds that my back won't do it anymore. Oh well, more time for me!

DrSpouse said...

I used to run... I did two 5k runs two consecutive years (in 45 mins and then, a stone lighter, in 35 mins) but my knees have decided no more. But I am proud of myself that I did, given where I started from before the first 5k run.

Midwest Gardener said...

I am in week 5 of the Couch to 5K program on the cool runnings site. (I think another commenter mentioned this program.) This is great for beginners. When I first started, I didn't think I could jog for 90 seconds (seriously). I'm now in my sixth week and actually ran (well, okay, I jogged ever so slowly) for 20 minutes straight. I hope that I become one of those life-long runners because it really is a great feeling (especially afterwards!)

Midwest Gardener said...

Okay, I just re-read my comment and it looks like I'm making things up. I said I'm in week 5 of the Couch to 5K program...and then said I'm in my sixth week. Actually, both of these statements are true, because I repeated one of the weeks. So while I am in week 5 of the program, I've been working at it for six weeks. Not anyone really cares!

Ariella said...

I've run three marathons. The only things I can think to add to this are these:

1. It's OK to walk if your muscles get tired, but try to start running/jogging again as soon as possible. Many beginning runner programs advise you to do a walk/run combo and reduce the amount of time you spend walking until you're running the whole time, and this worked great for me in the beginning.

2. Please, for the love of GOD, get fitted for orthotics or at least go to a runner's store with a pair of shoes you've worn regularly so they can tell you whether you pronate or supinate. It can save you a lot of pain and overuse injuries.

3. If it hurts, then stop (unless it's your muscles; then keep going).

4. Increase time spent running slowly. The recommendation from places like NYC Roadrunners and Runner's World is 10% every week, so if you ran 30 min 3-4x this week, then run 33min 3-4x next week.

Amy (binkytown) said...

Thank you! I needed that! I didn't have time yesterday ( or so I told myself ) so I strapped my little one in the jogging stroller and jogged home from the grocery store!

C. said...

Do I really have to run, I hate running. I bike a lot and weight train 3-4x a week. Ok, ok I will try but can I do it on a tread mill?

Angela said...

I love running, but I have been totally lazy and haven't done anything but walk the dog lately. As soon as I have my baby in September and am told I can, I plan on hitting the pavement again.

Don't worry about being slow. As a bystander told me while I was running the New York City Marathon, "It doesn't matter WHEN you finish, it mattters THAT you finish. " I loved that race, and I did finish it, in 5 hours and 19 minutes!

Nik- what I have found to work when running hills is to shorten your stride and maintain the same amount of effort as you do on the flats. This means that you are going slower and taking baby steps, but it makes the hills easier. I also pick an object a few feet away, like a mailbox, and focus on it until I pass it and then pick a new object.

Great suggestions! You have made me want to go out and run right now!

Laura said...

reason #1 for not running is why I don't run. I once complained to my doctor that my hip hurt when I ran and he wisely suggested I stop running then.
I recently blogged about the whole fitness/exercise thing here: http://adventuresinjuggling.blogspot.com/2006/05/my-own-peaceful-easy-feeling.html

Wavery said...

I'm currently using the knocked up excuse. I'm doing stairs instead, working my way up to three sets of ten flights after getting very out of shape during the 1st trimester. I'm not strong with the cardiovascular and know I need to get better before L&D so thanks for the kick in the seat.

-Maggot am I.

Denise said...

Good post! I was considering going to the gym when I read it, and it motivated me to Just Do It.

And, Nik...I have run while drinking beer. I wouldn't recommend it, but if it sounds like your kind of thing, check out the Hash House Harriers in your area. Some of the groups I've met take it wayyyy too seriously, but it's a fun way to do a run. (It's a combo of drinking, running, and orienteering.)

candice said...

Hi, I actually started about a week ago doing the whole every other day 30 min run. I don't mind the muscle pain, but what i do mind is my right ankle jamming up. i had an operation a few years back to remove a cyst on my ankle. and ever since then, when I run, espeically on pavement, it starts jamming up. should i continue running or find something else to do instead?

Kate said...

Thanks for this. I've been sidelined from my regular workouts (elliptical machine for cardio) for about 8 weeks while recovering from a tibial plateau fracture. I've been fantisizing about being able to start working out again, and I've really been thinking I want to run. I always hated running in gym class, but I'm starting to think that if I really give it a shot, it may grow on me. I'll wait for my doctor's go ahead, of course, but I think it might be neat to be "a runner".

sweetchaos said...

I'm totally de-lurking. I love it.
Love it.

Hoping said...

So I am sure that you do not want to be a e-trainer or anything but I have started running--running, then walking until I catch my breath and then running again for 20 minutes. My front shin muscles get so sore no matter how I stretch them....it is getting better but my god at the beginning I could not even walk half a mile without being in excruciating pain......not it only happens at the end but is still painful.....any moves to strengthen these muscles?

Love the post!

E. said...

It's so funny that you should command us thus at this particular time, because I have recently made a resolution to start running! Usually when people ask if I run, I respond "only when chased." But I just took a self-defense class where we actually had to escape from padded attackers and I thought "Damn! What If I am chased? I should practice this shit!" So thanks for the advice.

Menita said...

You know, I do hate running, but this is the first time I;ve ever read anything about it that made me WANT to give it a try.
So we shall see...

Feral Mom said...

Does it count if you run in an elliptical runner while watching Rachael Ray fry up mushrooms and wrap them in bacon on the Food Channel? Because if so, I'm in.

DoctorMama said...

Hey maggots! I think I caught site of a couple of you this evening. Keep it up!

Peach – I’ve not had chafing trouble, though my husband has … he just got different shorts. Joyce’s fixes sound pretty good.

jpn – thirty years, yeah! It’s only twenty for me. Getting out of your head – exactly. “Everything else falls away and it's just me and the present moment, monkey mind calm and focused at last. It's the best meditation I've ever found” – amen.

Old MD Girl – you gotta go with what you love.

Christa – I hadn’t seen that site – looks good.

Orange – funny thing is, my feet suck. I can’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row because no matter HOW comfortable they are, they’ll rub me the wrong way eventually. And running shoes hurt my feet if I try to walk in them. But not if I run.

You need more than a bra and shoes? No wonder I get such funny looks at the park.

Julie and Phantom – considering is exercise too, I guess.

Nik – do you have to keep adding time? No! I run less now than when I had abundant free time fifteen years ago, and I’m just as fit, I think. Do you have to wear a sports bra? Yes yes yes. I can’t stand the bounce, and I can’t bear to look at it, either. Slower than you walk? Yes! Hills? Up to you. Asphalt, sidewalk, or dirt? Matters mostly once you get up to serious mileage. After eating? Sure, except after fish. Fish burps will do you in. I’ve tried to run after alcohol, and, um, other things, and I can’t, but maybe you’ve got a steadier constitution than I.

Wendy – all right!

bihari – yes! The only really pointless run is no run. I’m actually kind of a baby jogger wimp – I try to get my husband to do all the pushing. It messes with my stride. Very impressed with the double stroller x eight months.

DrSpouse – I’m sorry about your knees.

Midwest Gardener – I care! And don’t knock it – you’re running.

Ariella – good advice. I think that in the beginning, however, the amount of running just isn’t enough to worry too much about the shoes. Once you start really increasing, then a real runner’s store is key.

Amy – you go!

C. – you COULD do it on a treadmill, but it seems a little sad.

Angela – pregnant isn’t the same as lazy in my book.

Laura – too bad about your hips.

Wavery – pregnant isn’t the same as maggot, either. Unless it’s a pregnant maggot.

Denise – I think you might have good advice re: bras for the blessed on top girl?

candice – my rule of thumb is, if the running is either too painful to do OR seems to be making something WORSE, probably not worth it.

Kate – wow, if I’ve inspired someone who’s got a fucking BROKEN LEG, I guess that’s pretty good.

Hoping -- an e-trainer, hah! But, you’ve got shin splints. Don’t they just hurt like a bitch? They’re this weird thing that can happen when you’re increasing mileage – microtears of the muscle’s attachment to the shin, or some such. Shin splints just have to be run through; one day they magically disappear. I don’t think stretches or strengthening help much, but I could be wrong.

E. – no lie, I have a friend who actually escaped from a rapist with a knife because she was in shape and had her running shoes on and he had ridiculous fancy shoes that he couldn’t take more than a few steps in.

Menita – you’ve got a couple months’ grace period still.

Feral – I’ve consulted the DoctorMama Rules of the Road, and yes, it counts.

emjaybee said...

My two bad knees say no, alas. Also, my propensity to hyperventilation. But hiking rocks my world if I can find somewhere to do it, I can do it all day. Used to bike, but hated fighting the traffic/exhaust.

I'd love to hike the AT someday, if I wasn't so scared of bears. Shudder.

Midwestern Deadbeat said...

Ohhh, GOD! Now I'm feeling both inspired (to run, obviously) and ashamed (of seeing all my excuses named). Damn you.

So how long did you wait to start running again post-baby? (Whatever the answer, double it so we won't feel so bad.)

I despise running, but it's actually been on my mind quite a bit lately--I guess something about being so pregnant and so slow is making me itch to go fast. This is all great advice (esp. about starting slow). Once the baby arrives and things, um, find their way back together, I think I'll have to print this post and tack it up on my wall. Damn you!

Mignon said...

How about - I hate it, and have hated it my entire life, including the 2 years I spent on the track team.?

I used to run almost every day after work, and the entire day at work, no matter how shitty my day was, I would think of the fact that I had to go home and run and my stomach would sink even lower and I would feel nasueous. I hate running with a passion, and for this reason I am 20 pounds overweight. But today, because in spite of it all your post did inspire me, I will strap the baby on my back and hike up the mountain behind my house. One step at a time.

catsmap said...

hoping - try running for a while on a running machine rather than outdoors. it did the trick for me on my shin splints the first time I started successfully running. other attempts were stimied by shin pain. of course I ended up stopping running due to itb pain... but I remember the addiction to the floating bit, and have been contemplating starting up again.

doctormama you have managed to breastfeed and run. where do you find the energy? will starting running make the milk supply even wimpier?

Nik said...

Thanks everyone for your good advice. As soon as I go shopping, things should improve. To see the results of the first day's run, I posted a long-ass entry today.

C. said...

UGH..ok, ok. I hate road running but I will do it...UGH!

Peg said...

I am inspired by this story...I do have a back excuse though. I had fusion surgery of my L5-S1 nearly two years ago and then a couple of months agao I had the hardware taken out. I feel great, tried to run one day...slowly...it caused a 4 day pain episode. My surgeon insists that I should keep trying, but of course the man is a tri-althete, runs, swims & bikes. So I will try this method and see how I do. I want to ramp up my current walking and biking regemine and this may just do the trick.Thanks!

JL said...

OMG - it worked! I have been trying to run for awhile now and could only go for about six minutes - because I was trying to go too fast. IT WORKED!!!

I ran for 22 minutes and 38 seconds this morning doing it the slower way. I kept looking at the time and going "it's been ten minutes already and my lungs aren't exploding!?!"

One and a half freaking miles. I am so proud I could scream! Thanks for the tips. Who knew?

bwb said...

Amen. I love your post.

I run. I started slowly after messing up a nerve root as soon as my doc said I was stable. It beat pain killers. I started running for one minute and walking two for 30 minutes three or four a day week. I started running with 75lbs too many on my frame. It beat sitting on the couch waiting for vascular or cardiac event. I got in an accident, broke my shoulder and tore my rotator cuff. I got a doc friend to tape and sling me up and I kept running. I decided that after years of making excuses to not be active there was no reason good enough to not get out there and just run. Now I run 10-15 miles a week. No matter what I am out there 3-4 days week -- if I am too sick to run then I walk.

Jo said...

I actually liked running, the rare occasions I'd do it, but now I have this awesome osteochondral defect in my ankle (can actually feel it moving sometimes, ew) -- what can I do?

No, seriously, what? Should I have surgery? Give up on running? Tell me!

Lisa said...

Ooo...I respond surprisingly well to name-calling.

I'm in.

Anonymous said...

Can I get a pass because I have rheumatoid arthritis? Actually, my mom was a runner and always pressuring me to run./jog. After my diagnosis the only good thing I could think of was that I would never be expected to run again. Now I have other things I do that I love, like yoga and swimming.

But I have to say that this post does kind of make me want to run. And that's amazing.

Cherylc

Old MD Girl said...

To all the pregnant ladies who can't run right now -- you can also try swimming/water aerobics/aqua jogging. Unless you absolutely hate the water, of course. I've seen women so pregnant they're about to burst doing laps at the pool I go to, and they're still fast. They just can't do the flip turns anymore. They tell me that swimming is the only time they don't feel enormous. Water-exercise also might work for the injured ladies.

All this talk about running away from attackers is reminding me of a Nike ad I saw years ago. the one in black and white with Jason and the chainsaw running after the blonde or some such. She totally outruns him, while he tries to pursue her gasping for breath.

DoctorMama said...

emjaybee – too bad about your knees.

Midwestern Deadbeat – post-baby, I think it was about six weeks or so before I got out there again. I wasn’t able to do exercise of ANY kind after week 27 of pregnancy (crazy preterm contractions), so I was waaay deconditioned. It came back faster than I expected, though.

Mignon – you’re one of those pesky former competitive athletes who have a hard time being dorky. I’m willing to bet cold cash that you’ve never tried the “run so slowly that you risk public humiliation” approach.

catsmap – I was a little worried about how breastfeeding and running would mix at first – would I be churning butter? But it was never a problem – no perceptible change in supply, and the baby was kind of like a deer at a salt lick when I got home all sweaty. Usually I tried to pump or nurse just before heading out to minimize the "cow at the end of the day swaying udder" phenomenon.

Nik – everyone should go to your blog and read the testimonial!

C. – read nik’s story!

Peg – I think that if even your back surgeon is urging you to do it, it’s a sign.

JL – SEE??!!

nn – inspirational.

Jo – I’d say, get some good supportive shoes and give it a try. If it doesn’t hurt more from running, it should be ok. The main issue with an osteochondral defect is whether it’s symptomatic. If it hurts to do good exercise, then I’d get the surgery … but I’m NOT an orthopedist, so take that with a grain of salt.

Lisa – maggot!

Cherylc – since you swim & do yoga, I’d say yes, RA gets you a pass.

Old MD Girl – excellent advice. I remember that ad too – I think it got pulled for being controversial, but I thought it was kind of funny.

Anonymous said...

Eeeeek. Darn you and your mockery. Bought myself something to prop up the bfing DD's AND forced DH to buy us each a pair of uber anti-pronaters for the heavy set. Eldest child scooters/whines alongside the double stroller filled with complaining 4 year old and gretching 6 month old. I'm sure our geriatric little shuffling parade is better than the TV for our neighbors! Two 30 minute 'runs' down and I'm wondering when it will feel better?

I loved your post BTW. Thanks for the kick in the behind!

Amy said...

Well I tried it last night and it worked. I have no idea why it never occured to me to just slooooow down. It made all the difference in the world. Usually I am gasping for breath after a few minutes and have to stop. This time I jogged at a snails pace for just shy of 30 minutes. (on a treadmill unfortunatly but I got home too late to try it outside). I even felt like I could have kept going but my knees were throbbing a bit so I didn't want to push it.

Thanks for the tip.

Vacant Uterus said...

Loved the double-bra tip, don't know why I've neer tried it before.

Hated the PVC's that came with a vengeance at the end of the run.

Once I get the ol' ticker fixed (appointment with cardiologist on Thursday), I'll be back out there. Thanks for the advice...it helped more than anything else I've ever tried. Superb delivery, too!

amusing said...

Two-cents more: keep your arms relaxed and try not to run with your shoulders tight and your arms squished up high. And I see too many women run hunched over (and I wonder if this has something to do with having breasts); that's got to be bad for back and balance. Watch your posture.

I remember plodding along in Central Park and two young Hispanic kids on bikes passed me and called out encouragement: "You can do it lady; you can lose that fat!" To this day, I don't know if their intent was to be mean or helpful but I choose the latter!

Hey; what's everyone's opinion on leaving two kids at home alone (ages 8 & 5) to go out running? I just have visions of getting kidnapped or limping home with a sprained ankle to find child services hauling them away... I have to look at my schedule...

Patti said...

I have never posted here before, and just barely started reading but I couldn't pass up giving my two cents.

I started running last September, after 3 knee surgeries (both knees torn ACL, 1 knee arthoscopic meniscus repair). It's been about 4 years since the last knee surgery, so I figured it was time to give up the excuse of bad knees and actually start running. I ran my first ever 10k in November, and then ran a 1/2 marathon in March. Both races were done at the 12-13 minute mile pace. One guy at the start line of the 10k asked me what time I was shooting for: I said around 1 hour 15 minutes. He actually laughed, and then said "No really, what time?". I said I was serious, and that for me it wasn't a race against the other people. I just wanted to finish the damn thing. He sheepishly went away and I didn't care what he thought of me. I gave up on other people's perception of my running after the first week of training. As long as I was out there running, I was happy about myself.

Someone above asked about chafing; I also have this problem (big thighs), and vaseline is my friend. I wipe down my inner thighs with the stuff and it's like nothing is wrong.

I say to all: START running! It's by far the most time-efficient calorie burner and what a great feeling when you're done.

Val said...

I'm with you Patti! (in the "big slow girl" category) A 12-min pace for me is smokin' now!
& hey, treadmill running is better than nuthin'... When it's 95 degrees outside, when your schedule is swamped & you're lucky to carve out 30 min, when you can't leave your kid (I shuddered at amusing's comment -- I vote "No, those kids are a little young to leave unattended!")...
& speaking of tight schedules, I'd better get moving if I plan on getting in a run today...

mamamarta said...

just chiming in on the other side of this -- i was the ultimate non-athlete nerd for most of my life and took up running 4 years ago. when i started, i could jog veeerrrryyy slloooowwwwlllly for *maybe* five minutes at a time. a year and a half after i started running, i ran a marathon -- in 5.5 hours, but i finished. i'm still a super slow runner -- i've never been able to run very far in under 10.5 minute miles, but i can train for just about any distance, and i love love love running.

amka said...

I started with walking, and then speed walking. It was actually too hard to walk fast enough to keep up my heart rate, so I started running. This might be why I could run a bit faster. I was walking 12 minute miles and it was easier to run 10 minute miles. I added half a mile running each week.

If I wasn't exercising, I think I'd be on anti-depressants with the occasional side of valium. Love those endorphins.

Bethany said...

"Joggers are dorky. Oh, like you're so hip? I've seen you going to the store for Ben & Jerry's wearing those droopy pants and that stained t-shirt."

Oh no. You live in my neighborhood. You've seen me. I thought that if I ducked my head, let my hair cover my face, and wore my winter coat, no one would notice.

In any case..I am a testament that anyone can run. Overweight (by a LOT. A LOT.) and out of shape, I went out and started running 90 seconds on, 90 seconds off. Within 3 weeks I was running 3 minutes on, 3 minutes off and working up to 5. It really has been a lot of fun.

booberrypancake said...

drmama, do you have a shoe you like in particular? i know that shoes are a very individual thing b/c of stride, etc., but i haven't bought new shoes in over two years and i've not the first clue where to begin.

melanie/delicateflower

ewt said...

Hi,

Saw a link to this from elsewhere, and after intending to start running for ages I've finally started. Ran 9 minutes on Friday, 11 on Monday, 15 today (Wednesday) and I'm already looking forward to it. Went very very slowly Friday and Monday, today I let myself stretch my legs a little more and it was harder work in cardiovascular terms but my legs felt a lot better for it.

Thanks!

Sherry said...

Maybe this is just me, but my underwear scrunches up into my ass when I'm trying to run and this puts me off as I hate pulling it out but hate running with it in that state. Any suggestions? They're bikini briefs (not granny panties but not teeny either).

DoctorMama said...

Amy—see?

Vacant Uterus—hope everything checked out at the cardiologist’s.

amusing—working on relaxing my arms and especially hands helps me to use running to de-stress.
Do your kids ride bikes? I’ve seen people running that way, although might be kind of distracting.

Patti—good for you—what a clod that guy was.

Val—you’re right, a treadmill is vastly better than nothing.

mamamarta—yay!

amka—so you can imagine what I’d be like if I didn’t run, since I need both.

Bethany—I see all …

melanie—the thing with shoes is that they change every frickin’ year. That said, for my foot type (high arch, wide toe box, narrow heel) I almost always end up in Nikes. New Balance and Asics are also very reliable, depending on your foot type.

Ewt—keep it up!

Sherry—no panties! Never panties when running! (Some guys prefer to have something holding the equipment down besides the shorts liner; for them, seamless synthetic running briefs.)

Northwoods Baby said...

Alright, fine, I'll try it BUT:
Exercise-induced asthma. Bring the inhaler and suck it up (heh)?
Hideous pains in my side after a few hundred yards (hence my "I only run after busses, money, or if a bear's after me" philosophy). Am I going too fast? Breathing wrong? A wimp?

Fix those issues for me and I'll try it. Even though running is, like, INSANE.

Dawn said...

We spent a bunch of money on a good treadmill at Christmas and I've been on and off doing the Cool Runnings Couch to 5k program as well. I'm 'on' for good now, on week 4 only, but it's definitely getting easier and I see results so quickly if I actually haul myself down there and do it.

northwoods baby - I very often get awful side stitches too, breathing regularly from your diaphragm (sp?) and exhaling quite forcefully when you put the foot down on the side the pain is on. Also, I do a lot of stretching my sides (arms overhead, leaning side to side while deep breathing) before I start and that has seemed to help. I think it's just something some people have more trouble with than others - my husband's never had it, doesn't matter when he's eaten/drank/stretched, whereas I have to be super careful.

Plain Jane Mom said...

OK. Julie and you have convinced me. I'm going to get some shoes tomorrow and give it a try. Please dial 9-1 and hover over the final '1' for me.

Heather said...

It took me awhile to mull it over but I'm running for three weeks now. Thank you.

Jane said...

Just wanted to say that at +100 lbs from ivfs and a quad pregnancy (3 yrs later) that I read this post back in May and decided to just go for it. I did run 5 miles a day pre ivf and did lift weights.

Now, I go much slower and much less time (with 3 surviving quads that are special needs you don't have much time and must have a babysitter watch them to do anything) but I am so so so happy that I have started again!!

Now I don't weigh myself because it's just too much for me to know that right now. But I do know that I am a few sizes smaller because I had to get some new clothes. No where close to losing that 100 lbs yet or to where I was 5 years ago but at least I'm on my way.

Thank you so much! I had forgotten how much running helped me before. And it is helping me more now!! My 3 still don't sleep through the night so I never get a night's sleep (and I mean never!) But exercising helps me cope so much more!

joycebell said...

Ok DoctorMama--serendipity led me to your website and your post about getting off our collective butts and start running. I haven't run more than a mile in my life (back in my college days) and I'm 52. I do walk pretty briskly 6-7 days a week for about 2-3 miles plus have a modest yoga practice. So am I too old to start running?? Is there hope for me?

Joycita

amusing said...

...and look. It's MONTHS later and my beau just broke up with me and I need to blow off steam and wear myself out so I'll sleep at night instead of cry and I've come back to check in on just what I'm supposed to do. Cuz last night I went out for 45 minutes and I went slow, ever so slow because I remembered that part, but I had to walk -- legs wouldn't go, couldn't find any air (it''s like my lungs won't catch it --wonder if it's that scarring the doc told me about long ago...) and I thought -- am I allowed to walk or was that the point of the "run as slowly as possible" dictum? So I came back to check.

It gets better. Walk/run turns into run/walk turns into run. Yippee! I'm on it. Even though it's in the 90s...

Anna said...

Hi,
I'm 16 years old and have wanted to start running for a while but I always thought you had to start these things really young!
I want to join an athletics club in my area but I was worried about my ability and everything cos' I'm not very good, I just want to keep fit & healthy & have something to do!
Everyone goes on about this flying feeling too which I'm dying to find out about! I've always wanted to be addicted to a sport but I've never found anything as appealing as running.
So yeah, your blogs kinda given me a kick up the backside so thank you =]
Anna

J said...

Maria!
you are the only person whose ever actually inspired me to get out there. there have been many who've been inspiring...just not to action.

after procrastinating it all day long, i just came in the house from my 1st half hour run. i ran so slow i could have walked faster. i wasn't sure if i was supposed to take big, slow steps, ala Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, or make my steps tiny little running baby steps. i tried both...but mostly i just tried to go really slow, almost a shuffle-run. i didn't see anyone i know thank goodness...but the people i did see looked at me funny. i had to listen to really slow music on the ipod to keep me from going fast, like Dan Fogelberg's "Longer Than". That's about the pace I went (one step per beat)

my right hand fellsasleep when i ran. i don't know if it's cubital tunnel or what (I've had bouts of that in the past, and it fell asleep when i tried running back then too...but not recently). think i'll dose up on the ibuprofen next time.

now if you could only get me over my love of chocolate. and convince me that it doesn't matter if my booty and belly look nothing like yours. at the end of the day, health is the number one benefit, but it sure would be nice to have a bod like yours.

thanks for the inspiration. i'm setting up some accountability buddies to check in with to help me as i make your program into a habit.

Erika said...

Are you even still checking these comments? I've been thinking about this post for two years (TWO YEARS!), as I've turned into a bigger (literally) sloth. I've always hated running (probably b/c I tried to do it too fast, but also b/c of lack of natural talent, large chest, etc.), but used to do lots of yoga--but don't even do that anymore. In the past 6 months, I've gotten increasingly frustrated shopping, b/c the usual clothes that I look good in DON'T WORK anymore b/c I've gotten too bulgy. So I started going to the gym and walking/biking. But 2 days ago I was frustrated b/c when I walk fast enough to get my heart rate up, my shins start to ache. So I decided to try running, to see what would happen.

And oddly, my shins don't ache when running.

Also oddly (I thought), I felt great after it! Except hungry. Also my back hurt that night. I'm hoping a better bra (and good back stretches) will help.

I remembered your "go slow" advice, and then came back and looked up the post to make sure I wasn't missing anything.

I'm heading back today. For some reason, the treadmill works for me in a way that being outside doesn't. But I'm hoping that in a month or so (I think when I trust myself more) I'll be able to break myself of it.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to be a runner and will try your suggestions (have started already). My question: what do I do about working in other forms of exercise I currently do? I use a rowing machine 3+ times per week, kayak 3+ times per week, etc. I've tried doing 30 minutes of rowing + 30 minutes of walking, and could barely move for the next 3 days (made it hard to get in and out of the kayak). HELP! And thanks :-) robin

~Andrea said...

My cousin just forwarded this blog to me as she has been inspired to start running. I started running about a month ago despite having told my students "I don't run...not even when being chased; that's what mace is for." Clearly not convinced that running was for me, I started really slowly, and was shocked that I could jog for a mile (or 4 laps around the track) non-stop. I should probably preface that by saying that I had been doing 30 min or 3 miles on an elliptical machine for a couple of weeks. But I "run" very slowly and have worked my way up to jogging the whole 3 miles or 12 laps around the track!!! Not only have I overcome that whole "I'm not a runner" mentality, I have to (sheepishly) admit that I really like it and miss it when I don't do it. I also see more results in terms of fitness and tone than I have ever before, even when I've put in serious hours at the gym with weights and cardio on the elliptical.

The real reason I'm posting though (in case anyone still refers back or stumbles upon it in the future) is in response to the quest for a quality bra. Having had a breast reduction 2 years ago, I still feel the need to have those babies strapped in as though my life depended on it and have found a sports bra that I am so enamored with that I have scoured the internet when the local retailer has sold out. It is the Bestform "High Impact" sports bra, style #5006593. I know it is sold at Wal-mart and have successfully found it online and had it shipped. It is an amazingley effective, yet comfortable, sports bra. Love it!!! Hope this is helpful....Keep it up everyone!

Anonymous said...

Regarding two of your ungood excuses (boobs too big/stuff too expensive): where exactly is it that you're finding well-fitting, supportive sports bras that aren't expensive? I'd sure like to know, because the only one I've ever found that I can run in--and I've tried a LOT of sports bras--is $60.

And I don't know how much you're making but from where I sit, $60 for a single bra is not "inexpensive." Not even close. So how 'bout you tuck your privilege in?

DoctorMama said...

Hell no, Anonymous just above, $60 for one bra isn't inexpensive. But compared to many other sports, running is pretty easy on the wallet. I've been doing it since I was making minimum wage and was many, many dollars in debt.

Since I don't even really have boobs to speak of, I don't have a lot of experience with bra fitting. When I was nursing, I used two (cheap) bras at a time, which wasn't comfortable, but kept them under reasonable control. But if you've got Hs or something, they're going to be an obstacle, no question about it. I haven't combed through these comments in a while, but I think there is some advice from other big-busted runners up there.

(And I like to tuck EVERYTHING in nice and tight ... so when I locate my privilege, consider it tucked.)

EW said...

four years later...just want to say thanks for this. I've been working on "a new me" for the last 6 months or so; dropped a lot of weight, started exercising (mostly speed walking daily -- about 5-6 miles/day) and really wanted to up the ante; tried running, but couldn't do much more than 1/2 mile on a REALLY good day. I read your blog yesterday, and was able to run 2.5 miles yesterday following your advice to slow down. What a difference that made on my lungs! Thanks for the tips. I think you've made yet another convert.

ALAN said...

The baby jogger rocks, I agree, but I have to say, with two, I leave them home. I did the double stroller for the first eight months, but now it's so heavy with their combined sixty pounds that my back won't do it anymore. Oh well, more time for me!

Anonymous said...

I've been told I shouldn't run because I have osteoporosis in my spine. I was diagnosed due to a DEXA, no fractures. I'm in my early 50's and in good shape other than that. You're a physician, do you agree?
Wanna be a Maggot

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! For your running advice. I did it!

Anonymous said...

I'm "Wanna be a Maggot" with osteoporosis (November 10, 2010.) I talked to my physician, and she said since I'm in good physical shape, to go ahead and give it a try as long as I start slow. After working hard building up my core, I decided to take the plunge and become a maggot. So far, so good.

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

I love this! I found this linked in the comments on another site, and it's just such a great kick in the pants. I'm so glad that you say to go slower than an arthritic sloth, because that's exactly what I found I needed to do to make it through a half-hour alive! And it is totally humiliating when I pass the umpteen fit joggers breezing by me, but now I will totally pretend I'm at the end of a long training session. Love you!

Flickypie said...

Thank you for the inspiration and the advice! After three months of work/germ/child induced slothery, today I just got up and ran....very very slowly for 30 glorious minutes in the cold winter morning. And it felt great.

M said...

"I'm too fat. If you can walk, you can probably run."

Not with a torn meniscus.