Am I A Runner Yet?

On my last post “Becoming a Runner” my last line was “I had become a runner”.

In 2009 I felt that I had become a runner by virtue of running several marathons and branching out into 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons.

Since 2009 I have become more dedicated to the sport and my training has become more consistent. Between marathons I run many 5K, 10K and half-marathons. Last year I ran in 14 races whereas in 2010 I only ran in four races.

I keep much better records of my training and I rarely go more than two to three days between runs. Usually I run three days a week and often have a long run on the weekends of over 10 miles. My base miles are now in the 20-25 mile range and I did get to over 35 miles per week during my training for the 2012 Boston Marathon.

I start planning for a race when I start training for it. Most 5K and 10K races don’t require additional training as I run those distances several times a week. For a Half or Full Marathon I use the Runner 2.0 process and start planning backwards from the finish line.

The plan begins with: “What is my goal time?” Goal time is based on my recent race times and how my training has been going. I also take into consideration what the course is like and what type of weather can I expect?

With my goal in mind I put together a training plan to achieve my goal. I do not have the training time or conditioning to set overly aggressive goals but I am always pushing myself.

This summer my goal is to run 5Ks at 7:30 pace and 10Ks at 8:00 pace. Later in the year I hope to run a half-marathon at an 8:00 pace. My stretch goal is to run the ING Hartford Marathon at a 7:46 pace and qualify for Boston. This is going to be very difficult to do, but I never thought I’d run any distance under an 8:00 pace. Last year I starting going under the 8:00 pace for 5Ks and my last half-marathon was at a 8:12 pace. I can do this.

Am I a Runner Yet?

But do I feel like a runner? Am I a runner? We are all born runners. Our bodies are made for running. I run, but do I feel like I’m a runner? To me it still feels audacious to say “I’m a runner”. Bruce Jenner, Joan Benoit, Ryan Hall are runners. Compared to them I’m a couch potato. They run my weekly miles before breakfast! But, compared to 90% of America, I am a runner.

Are you a runner? Do you consider yourself a runner? When did you feel like you were a runner?

Run well my friends!

©2012 anagelin

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My First Blog Post

Well, here I am. With a little encouragement from some friends and colleagues I’ve decided to start a blog about running.

I’ve been running for about 9 years, but only in the past few I have considered my self a “runner”. I wasn’t a high school athlete so I never received coaching or training in any sport while in school.

With no training or background, I made a lot of mistakes. I trained when I had a race. If I did not have a number for a race, I went right back to my sedentary lifestyle. After a few years I figured out that this was not going to be a successful long-term strategy.

One of my early lessons was that consistent training is more important than more miles. And that it’s easier to maintain a fitness level than it is to achieve one!

I started running on a whim

The company I worked for was a sponsor of the Boston Marathon and received invitational numbers each year. Some friends at work told me I should put my name into the random drawing for one of the numbers and see what happens. It was a once in a life time opportunity.

I did not get picked in the November 2002 drawing. But in January 2003 we learned that a runner who was training for the Marathon got hurt and had to drop out. I was the lucky guy to get his number. In January.

boston's run to remember,wakefield, half marathon
My First Half

So there I was a fairly in-active 39 year-old guy with a desk job and I just got a number to run the Boston Marathon! My buddies did the best they could to get me up to speed in less than four months.

My first race ever was the Boston’s Run to Remember, a half-marathon in Wakefield, MA. This race now takes place in Boston and Cambridge. Runners in the Boston area use this race to see how ready they are for Boston. I was not ready.

On April 21st 2003 I ran my first marathon after only four months of training. Most experts suggest that you train for six months to a year before attempting to run your first marathon. So, there was one of my early mistakes!

But how do you say no to an opportunity to run the Boston Marathon? I’d watched it on TV and from the side walk before and knew it was a big deal. I figured I may never have this type of opportunity again. I was excited by the thought of doing it and went into it with a great deal of innocence and ignorance.

I finished with a net time of 5:11, and 16,397th out of 17,046 finishers. I was one of the sorry-looking guys that finishes near the end of the race. But I finished.

Boston Marathon Finish Line.1910. Author: Unknown.
Boston Marathon Finish Line.1910. Author: Unknown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I learned a lot that day and the many days since then. With this blog I will share with you what I have learned and hopefully help you start running, keep running or perhaps improve your running.

I’m not an expert or a professional. I’m an average guy like you who decided to start running and now to write about it.

As I said, I made all kinds of mistakes and I hope this blog will help you avoid many of the mistakes I made. There are many ways to get distracted and discouraged with running. My goal is to help you avoid injury and distraction and adopt an active lifestyle that you can live with for many years.

At this point I’m not sure how often I will post. Sometimes I will write about a race that I have coming up or that I’ve just run. Other times I will pass on nuggets of wisdom or discuss articles or books that I’ve read. I have no idea where this will go or how long it will go on.

Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy the ride!

© 2012 andrew nagelin