December 14, 2010

Kings and Queens of Inspiration

Who am I talking about? Our Galloway training group members of course!! With our first 3 and 4 milers under our belts, I don't know who is beaming more, them or me. Maybe it's an equal beam but one thing is for sure - we have accomplished a lot together in less than 2 weeks and we are just getting started. I am truly thankful for this opportunity to be a program director. It has already added so much joy and inspiration to my life as a runner and as a person. I can think of few things more enjoyable or fulfilling as sharing your passion with others and seeing that reflected right back at you.

Starting off as a new runner completely on your own is a lot like trying to be Superman based on a simple set of instructions.
 Substitute "shoes" for cape and "run" for fly - you get the idea. Maybe you remember feeling this way 6 months ago, a year ago, 10 years ago? Maybe you're reading this and thinking, "that's how I feel right now!". Whenever it was, this whole idea of running, while seemingly simple on the surface, can feel as overwhelming as trying to find your way out of the Sahara without a map with one Google search. Shoes, clothing, gear, hydration, nutrition, speed, tempo, recovery, tapering - wait, how do I know how far to run? Or how fast? Do I just "go"? Where the h-e-double-hockey-sticks do I START?

Training groups and running clubs provide platforms to address these types of questions - whether you're training for your first 5K or trying to qualify for Boston. This is certainly not to say any one person or group has all the answers. Not one single method of training is "right". I think we can all agree I have a bias here and say I love the Galloway program. I don't think I'd be a runner if I hadn't started following his training methods. If I hadn't gotten started with running again almost 4 years ago, would the 10-15 friends, family members and co-workers who asked me to train them be running right now? Would these 30+ Galloway training group members of ours be on their way to running a half marathon next March? I'm so glad I'll never know the answer to these questions. I couldn't be prouder to say that as of right now there are 40+ runners out there who got their start by asking me one question. How do I start?  I try not to blur the line between passion and obsession when I start talking about running but with this subject in particular, it is a very small, thin, light grey line.

I understand that a lot of runners (not just beginners) are intimidated by the thought of joining a running group. I certainly was - and even though I thought a group was a fantastic idea, I was too scared to try it. As I'm watching this group bond, I already regret not having joined a group as a newbie myself. My husband (one of our pace group leaders) and I come home from Saturday group runs with indescribable exhilaration. Seriously. There is not one ounce of exaggeration in that statement. We literally have come home, sat on the couch with ridiculously huge smiles on our faces and can talk of little else but how amazing everyone is. It's the little things you hear people say. "I can't believe I did it". "I feel like I've already conquered the world". "I feel like I could do this all day". "I'm actually enjoying this!" These are beginners!!!!

I am not one for New Year's Resolutions. If you want to try something new or make a change in your life and you have identified what that is, why wait? Start it now.  If you don't know how, ask someone who does. If you are a beginner runner, take a chance on a group  - just to get you started off on the right (or left if you prefer) foot. You will not be the only beginner. Talk to the program director before the group runs begin so you understand their running philosophy and training methods. Talk to a few program directors in fact! Go with the program you feel is most fitting to your lifestyle and your personality. Ask if you can join for a group run before deciding to sign up.

And for all you seasoned runners, when was the last time you volunteered with a local training group or running club and ran with novice runners? Not just talk with - run with. Not only will you be inspired by their excitement and determination, you are with them to celebrate their enormous progress every week and be there to lend an experienced ear when a run doesn't quite go as planned. What are you waiting for? Spread the love. Share your passion. 'Tis the season, isn't it? ;-)


John said...

My favorite post yet! I can't agree more and hope other runners will consider sharing their experience and energy with those trying to get started. It is SO worth it!

Detroit Runner said...

You'll get the hang of it. It doesn't take long to know what NOT to do! LOL.

Johann said...

Nice post! I'm 100% with you, why wait for the new year if you can start now? Like all the people starting their diets on Monday...