Last year, right around my 42nd birthday, I decided to register for a 10K in Montana. Mind you, I had not done much running to the point. For a few years in college I was highly motivated and ran every morning, but that only lasted for about a year or so before fading.
I decided I was tired of feeling sluggish and out of shape and I wanted to keep up with my energetic kiddos. Not to mention, I envisioned myself as one of those people who runs every day and doesn’t seem to be out of breath or sweat. Little did I know, I was going to learn that a the struggle is real.
I started out small but quickly scaled
I followed a Couch to 10k training program, ended up getting COVID about three weeks from the race, kicked it and ran at a pretty decent time. I had a great time, and my daughters and parents were there to cheer me on. The race was in early summer, prime running season.
I had so much fun, I spontaneously signed myself up for a half marathon in the fall. Because if I can do 6.2 miles, I can do 13.1 miles, right? I found a training program that was specifically for going from a 10k to half marathon, and I managed to huff my way through it. I was very proud of myself, but also in some pain.
Pain in the knees (and muscles)
I did notice that my 40+ year old body was a lot different than the 20 something I feel I am in my head. Right away, I noticed tightness and soreness in my hamstrings, and the closer I got to my half marathon, the more sore my left knee became. But, I powered through, and finished the race.
I didn’t run much over the fall and winter. I ran a few 5Ks with a friend but that was about it. This time off did give my knee a chance to heal, but of course I decided to sign myself up for a half marathon in May.
A little bit different training the second time around
This time, I have decided to integrate more yoga and some strength training to see if that doesn’t help with all the aches and tight/sore muscles. I just started training again, and it hasn’t been easy. I am always surprised how quickly the body goes from being in shape, to being sorely out of shape.
My dad and I also signed up for the same 10k I did last summer. I am looking forward to that as well. It’ll be nice to have a running companion.
My advice: don’t give up, it’s all worth it
Would I do anything differently? Maybe, but not that much differently. I very much enjoyed running the races, there is definitely a fun and celebratory atmosphere. What I can tell you, is don’t give up. Your body might take longer to get back into shape, but it’s worth every moment. Not to mention, there is something about that sense of accomplishment you get finishing a long run!