Running Can Be Less Miserable, You Just Have to Do It More

runningMiserable585I’ve been talking about “not being a runner” for five years now. But you guys, I’m kind of trying to be a runner. Again. At least for the moment.

Every time I’ve ever done any kind of distance training, I’ve had some nagging “ow.” Not injury, per se, but an ache or a pain that hindered my running “joy.” A knee or an ankle always started to hurt me from getting my running mojo going too quickly — typically because events would get sprung on me without time to properly prepare, like for our FBG 10K or the Tough Mudder that popped up about 6 weeks out. And because I don’t enjoy running, I never really did it consistently, so I never had a running base to pull from. It’d be like starting over each and every time.

Even with the Tough Mudder, my knee started hurting a couple of weeks before the event, and I spent my last two weeks of training focusing on interval training and strength, rather than running. But after totally rocking my 10+ mile Tough Mudder, I didn’t just want to lose the ability to run that kind of mileage. But I knew I had to go about maintaining distance in a slow tortoise build-up kind of way, rather than just going out and running another 10 miles.

So after giving myself a bit of time off from running, I eased back in. I ran a couple of miles here. A couple of miles there. If I felt like a knee was starting to hurt, I’d slow down or quit for the day. With no pressure to complete mileage, it was a lot easier to move along to another activity or go lift before I stretched and foamed rolled my little heart out. I’ve been sticking with it, aiming to run 3 to 4 miles fairly consistently. I started logging my mileage over the month of November. Nothing fancy, not even an app; just writing my mileage on the calendar. In November, I ran more than 21 miles, which doesn’t sound like a lot (especially considering the distance of a marathon!), but for a “non-runner,”  I was pretty pleased with myself.

It’s amazing how much better running is when you’re not in pain — and when you’re in better running shape. Getting back into running is definitely harder than sticking with it and doing it consistently. Lesson learned: It’s way more fun — or at least way less miserable — to run the more you do it. I wouldn’t say I love running or am addicted or anything. But it is nice to know that if I keep it up, even just running twice a week, I can maintain the running progress I’ve made.

Do you ever try to stick with an activity just so you won’t have to “start over”? —Erin

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


Add a comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Katie H. says:

    Staring over is so frustrating! I recently had to do just that after running a marathon in April, and then taking a break until October. Luckily, it came back pretty quickly. I think we lose cardiovascular fitness a lot more slowly than we think we do.

  2. Deb E says:

    Every time I hurt from getting back to it, I remind myself I should have gotten out of it but sometimes with injuries, you can’t help it. I try not to beat myself up about it and focus on the positive. Time helps and I’ve learned to be patient with myself, but I can grumble a little!

  3. Suzannah says:

    The hardest part is to start slowly and easily. So many people (myself included) jump in and go harder or longer than they are used to so we get these minor aches and pains (which are really injuries of sorts). When starting anything new, we need to gradually build up muscle, endurance, etc. The hard part is listening to our bodies along the way!

  4. Jaclyn says:

    I have definitely had this experience! I’ve had periods of running consistently and I’ve had periods where I’ve had to start from scratch, and it’s definitely easier to keep momentum going than it is to get it rolling from the beginning again. I’ve definitely noticed that it gets easier the more you run. I started training for a turkey trot this fall and hadn’t run much, and just in the two months of training I noticed big improvements. Once things start looking up, it’s a lot easier to keep going!

  5. Starting over is not fun. I was on a six week holiday and obviously did lesser workouts than I normally do back home and getting back into it is so hard. At least it took me about a week after that to get into the swing of things so it wasn’t too bad.

  6. Tora says:

    Great tips, and so agree about having to get in the swing of things to make it easier 🙂

  7. Wanda says:

    I am doing this currently. I don’t consider myself a runner, but I’m starting to say I’m a runner. A slow one, but a runner, nonetheless. I did my first triathlon this summer and my running was pretty poor, b/c I didn’t care for it. But I have stayed with it, so my running distance is gettin glonger and faster.

  8. Liza says:

    I’ve never considered myself a runner. But I turn 40 this January, and last January I had decided that I would run the Disney marathon to prove (to myself) that age wouldn’t slow me down. After all, I had a whole year to train! Right? Well, one “ow” after another during training had me taking a few weeks off here, a few more off there… until I got to November and realized how utterly unprepared I am. Having never been a consistent runner, maybe I was trying to too far, too fast. Anyway; I’ve deferred my Disney trip to 2015 AND switched it to a more “reasonable” half-marathon. I have another year to train for it- maybe my turning-40 goal will be to train slowly and more wisely this time!