I think I might have jumped a little ahead of myself, and if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to backtrack a little for a minute. A lot of you might be thinking “sure she can run a marathon, she already has experience,” or something of the like, but I want you to know that I am just as much a beginner as you.
I want to make some things clear, maybe to help you find the courage to start a running program, even if you’ve never jogged a single step in your life or if you’re thinking running is impossible because you get winded simply walking up a flight of stairs.
Running was never easy for me, not even when I was a size 6, but it has NEVER been as hard as it is now. Every time I set out for a run, I find myself thinking it is impossible, that I’ll never be able to stick to it, that I’ll never lose weight with a 15 or 16 minute mile. My knees hurt, my shins hurt, I am barely moving faster than a walk some days. I have come to find very quickly that experience doesn’t help you when your body is completely different. I think the only experience that is helping me now as I start out training for this marathon is that I have learned that if I can make it through the first mile or even the first few minutes, I can make it through my entire run.
Here’s me during my third or fourth run a week or so ago. I think I had to waddle after I got done because my knees were so stiff, but I couldn’t have been happier.
You’ll hear a lot of people say that running is a mental game, and they’re right. I know it’s true for people like my boyfriend (below, actually smiling while he runs a 6:30 mile…yuck) who can mentally push themselves to the point of passing out (which actually happened at his first marathon a few years ago). I know that I personally don’t have the mental or physical strength to push myself that hard (not yet, anyway). I don’t even have the desire to, really. But going into the third week of my marathon training, I have come to realize that my biggest mental block happens before I even step into my running shoes.
Even if you’re not training for a marathon, even if it is a half or even a 5k (both of which are just as awesome!) or another goal you might have set for yourself, just remember that it is possible. I am carrying around 90 extra pounds of weight, and right now, each run seems overwhelming. Sometimes I want to cry or quit or go home and eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s instead of run. But I stick to it, because I know it is possible.
I’m not going to spout off all the old quotes you’ve probably heard a thousand times about goals and obstacles, but I will say this: it WILL get easier. I could barely make it thirty seconds without walking when I started two weeks ago, and now I can jog a quarter mile without stopping. Whatever your pace is, whatever your goal is, if you have the courage to try, to put yourself out there and put one foot in front of the other, than you can train your body to run any distance. If you can conquer your self doubt and remember that the way you feel after a run is the best high there is, then you can do anything. I promise :).
Here’s a link to a great article from Women’s Running Magazine. It’s a story about a plus size model who was featured on the cover of the magazine a few months out. It’s a great read, and says a lot about the reasons other plus size women run and how they find their confidence to try. I found it super inspiring.
I hope this inspires you to get out there, to quiet your own worst fears and give it a try. I guarantee you that you will surprise yourself.