Yes, I’m still in the boot and unable to run. So to make myself feel better, I’ve been rereading John Bingham and Jenny Hatfield’s Running for Mortals.
This book should be subtitled, “Running for the un-athletic.” I was the slowest kid in school and in high school I would get Cs in gym class for not changing. Senior year, I wised up and got an A in gym all because I just changed into the stupid uniform. I liked some of my gym teachers, I just didn’t like how slow I was and how obnoxious my classmates were about the in class volleyball games. Here I am now at a young 27, a cancer survivor to boot, and I’m trying to relearn how to run.
John Bingham would laugh at me.
He decided pick up running at the age of 43. And 75lbs overweight. And a smoker. And a bit of a drinker and lover of junk food. It was awful and he failed. But he kept at it and used a walk-run program (it’s outlined in the book). He’s now preaches about what he calls the “slow running” movement. He regularly runs marathons using his run-walk program.
These are the books core strengths. The authors weren’t Olympians nor were they gym rats since childhood. They’re normal people who had to work hard to get (and STAY!) in shape and wrote a book about it. If they can do it, so can you is their mantra.
The other strength is their learn how to run/eat/train program in the middle of the book. The running program is similar to Couch to 5k in that it recommends you walk for a bit, run for a bit, walk some more. Lather, rinse and repeat. Next week you walk a bit less and run a bit longer. Unlike C25k, they have three different programs. Level 1 is for someone who does not work out ever. Level 2 is recommended for the person who does some form of exercise once or twice a week. And Level 3 is for gym rats who hate to do cardio. Pick your level and away you go!
There’s also a sensible guide to learning how to eat well. What I like is that it isn’t confusing to me, there aren’t a whole lot of calculations one has to do (I really don’t want to spend most of my mealtime doing arithmetic to find out of I can even eat!) and it’s not a rigid plan. This is a lifestyle you’re adopting and your eating needs to change for the long term. Think diet as a noun, not a verb!
Lastly, there are very clear pictures of what to do the days you don’t run. They cover both weight lifting (it’s good for your bones!), other cardio (helpful when injured) and how to stretch (good for your tendons). And all of their info is distilled into bullet points at the end of each chapter.
I miss running (shocking!) and I can’t wait to get back to it. This book has been the gentle reminder that it’s okay to go slow. It’s okay to not love it at first. “The miracle isn’t that I finished, the miracle is that I had the courage to start at all.”