What I’ve Learned About Running So Far

Here is my latest learning on the journey to complete health. You can read past posts here.

Exercise: Running

  • Finished my 7th run on Monday morning for my Couch to 5K app routine. And looking forward to my 8th. I’m REALLY loving it and look forward to them throughout the week. When Peter said he reevaluated his mindset on running, it was right on for me as well. (Thanks again mate!)
  • The first two interval runs really suck but it gets better. I’ve tried to mentally prepare myself that it’ll suck at first but get easier. I’m learning perseverance, but dang, it’s a mental hurdle to get over.
  • Switching apps was frustrating. I started with 5K Runner app, and got frustrated when after 5 routines it wanted me to upgrade to premium. (I mistakenly thought I had paid for it and then they wanted me to upgrade again.) So I switched to Active’s Couch to 5K app, which frustrated me WAY more because the dials for forwarding the intervals was right by where my fingers at on the phone when I run. I ended up accidentally advancing the intervals several times mid-run which was a real pain. But I much prefer the original and bought the premium and am sticking with it! Go with what you know and works, Cory! (For clarity, this is the one I use and like most — it’s called 5K Runner.)
  • Repeating routines is OK. I read an article that criticized the 5K routines because they don’t emphasize that sometimes you might push yourself too hard and simply need to repeat earlier ones before going on. On the latest one I ran, I was sucking air bad at the end of the running intervals and had to stop short a couple of times (15 seconds). So I’m looking at doing that again. I want to push myself, but not so hard I end up quitting or hurting myself.
  • Running is expensive. Lindsey has said that a lot … and it’s accurate. Here are some of the things in this category:
    • Shoes: Lindsey insisted that I get running shoes after my first run, so we went to a local running store, Red Coyote. They have a slow motion video gait analysis and salespeople who really know their stuff and are passionate about running. I got some Asics and love them. Very good call. But they happened to be the most expensive shoes I’ve bought in my life. Highly Recommend: Don’t just go to a shoe store and buy things. Go to a running store.
    • Socks: The other big thing was good running socks. But WOW, are they expensive! $15 a pair. I bought three and have not regretted it.
    • Ear buds for running: I think I have smaller ear canals and my Apple wired ear buds tend to fall out or my hands hit the cord. After asking for requests on Twitter, I got numerous great recommendations. But most of them are over $100. Ouch! But I ended up buying these ear buds for $30 on Amazon at the recommendation of a friend. I’m using them to listen to music while I write this post and so far so good. I wasn’t really interesting in superior music quality, just something that I could listen to music and know when I needed to start my next interval.
    • Water bottle with hand grip. I got this one and I really like it because it’s in my hands and I like having water on my runs. There is also storage for my keys and wallet so I don’t have something in my pockets.
  • How can this fail? Been thinking about this more and more about running because I really enjoy the routine.
    • Injury: I’ve been hearing more and more stories about injuries that led to people stopping their routines. I’m considering, at the advice of a friend, getting a running coach (also Red Coyote). I’ve never really done formal athletics in my life, so I think this might be wise soon. I definitely don’t want to get injured and disrupt my routine and also want to know if I’m running properly.
    • Lack of alternate running places: I’m thinking of when the weather gets cold or rainey. Right now, I just have my local running track about 1 mile from my house, which is fantastic. But I need to find a couple of other solid options. Maybe the treadmill or a gym. Either don’t seem like super happy options to me right now.
    • Life disruption: Whether it’s travel or getting sick, some stories I’ve heard in passing make me think I need to be prepared more for them. Lindsey’s mentioned a couple of times that if you get out of the routine, it’s hard to get back, but you get back up to speed fairly quickly. Gotta fix that firmly in my mindset for when life happens.
  • Considering running an actual 5K. It’s been inspiring how many people have asked if I’m doing a 5K race, which wasn’t at all a goal when I started this. I simply used the 5K routine, recommended by a lot of people, as a routine to use as a way to start regular exercise. But after several people have offered that they would run a race with me, I’ve been looking for one to put on the calendar. Even if I have to walk most of it. That’s the community element I’m trying not to miss. I’m not Forrest Gump yet though! Additionally on this subject, Lindsey has a great friend who runs with her nearly every time and long-term I can see wanting a running buddy or buddies.
  • Get a boost for the rest of the day. Whenever I run in the morning, I feel a difference in mood and energy for the rest of the day. Now I’ve started craving it. This is huge for me. Really cherishing it. I can feel and see the difference.
  • Running is stress relief. I get to think about something else (like actually finishing the routine) and my body thanks me for it. Whenever I get stressed now, I end up going, “How can I go for a run?” I even bought my clothes and shoes to work one day (which ended up raining). When I run, I feel like I’m breaking up the negativity and stress in my body to be a better person.
  • The Treadmill. My cousin Summer gifted me a treadmill. But I’ve only used it once. Mainly because I highly prefer my running trail. Many people laughed at it calling it a great clothes rack. Yikes! But at least I have some kind of a backup option for walking/running when the weather is bad.
  • Sleeping in my running clothes. So many books and articles I’ve read over the years say reduce any friction to getting to new habits. One of them related to exercise is to wear your gym clothes and put your shoes by the bed. I’ve done both. Thankfully a couple years ago I switched to wearing athletic shorts as PJ’s anyway. Then all I have to do in the morning is grab my gear (which I’ve put near my bed stand). Having a place for my essential gear is key and it’s become my night stand.
  • Connecting my Character Strengths to running is so motivating. My top strength is Appreciate of Beauty and on almost every run, I’ve taken photos of the beautiful sunrises I’m seeing. It’s really been nice and reflective to pair that with running and added a great amount of positiveness to my running experience. I’ve so far resisted the notion of running in a gym because I love my outdoor early morning runs for this reason I think. The trails are hilly and diverse and the scenery is gorgeous. I’ve seen deer on the trails as well. I’m starting to mark each run with a picture of the sunrise or trail and doing a selfie for my private journal.
  • Exercise, or running, is not adding something into my busy life, it’s just establishing something essential to it. This is a mindset change for me. I’m learning more and more how essential this is to my life and happiness and baffled at knowing that in my head for years but not practicing it in my life. It’s becoming a non-negotiable for me. That makes me happy as it represents progress in my mindset and lifestyle for the sustainable future. I feel like I’m on the right path to establishing a regular routine and new way to live life.
  • Running as my new (ok, perhaps only) hobby. For years I’ve said I have little to no hobbies that don’t connect with my work/business life. But I hope running can become my obsession and addiction. That’s another huge mindset change and I’m inspired by this perspective.
  • Still need to get an in-between exercise. On the off days I don’t run, I would like to get something for those days, particularly cardio and strength, but so far have not established that new layer. Thinking about getting a jump rope as the simplest, easiest, cheapest way to do so. And maybe the kids will do it with me. They have enough energy to burn off anyway!
  • Waking up at 6:10 a.m. regularly. I’m starting to layer in waking up every day (even non-running days) at a much earlier time than I usually do. This will help me do exercises when I’m not running and allow more time to adjust to our family’s new routines (school just started for my son.) With my FitBit’s silent alarm set daily now, it’s already helped me start to form that new habit, but it’s been a bumpy ride. Going to bed earlier will definitely help as well as some form of cardio as motivation.
  • Prepping for travel. I’m getting ready to hit a long patch of business/personal travel. I’m already thinking about how to prep for that and maintain my running routines. I plan to pack my running gear tonight before I head out on a multi-city, multi-day trip.

Devices & Tools: FitBit Charge 2

  • I made a really really good choice. I love my FitBit Charge 2. Thanks all for that recommendation!
  • Charging. buying multiple chargers for my FitBit Charge 2 has really helped. But I’ve been charging it at my desk at work most often when I’m working for a stretch.
  • Battery life. The Charge 2 has been really good for battery life. I went the whole weekend without a charge.
  • Sleep Tracking. I’m really enjoying seeing my sleep patterns, in particular how often I’m awake at night. I think this is attributable to how many times I roll over at night (which is a lot).
  • Food Tracking. I am not doing hardly any food tracking unfortunately. I knew this would be a problem. One thing I’ve done on a couple of occasions is take a photo of my food to put in a journal or review later. But I like having the option in ONE app.
  • Bar code Scanning. Not using Weight Watchers at all now (except to show people how I used it). But having the bar code scanning feature in my FitBit gives me almost everything I’m doing in one convenient place.
  • The new FitBit Ionic looks awesome. I love gadgets. I’m a geek. Maybe if I keep up with it, I ask Santa for it?

Nutrition

  • Been eating consistently very well. I think this is a huge success so far. I’ve been sticking with the healthier foods I learned with Lindsey a few weeks ago. For some things I used to indulge in, I’ve kind of turned my mind off to those potential temptations. They just don’t resonate with me right now, which I’m thankful for. I look at carbs as bloating me. I look as most sugars as simply excess, unneccessary weight, plus … my glucose, which I’ll explain later. (Full disclosure: I’ve never been a huge dessert guy.)
  • The biggest key has been simple mindful eating. Just simply being aware of how much or how fast I’m eating … and WHAT I’m putting into my body. I want to do the Raisin Mindfulness Exercise very soon as I’ve read about it recently as a huge emphasis on mindful eating as a way of life.
  • Traveling sucks for good eating. Last weekend, I traveled with my dad and brother to New Mexico for a guy’s weekend. What a blast, btw! The times we were able to eat at a restaurant I could order a chef salad with chicken or had more options to choose from. But on the road, it was terrible. I cruised the aisles of several convenience stores and came up empty. At one store they had a Subway, which I got a 6-inch sandwich on wheat to avoid eating crappy snacks. Super, super tough. My dad’s job requires him to drive hours and hours on end every day. We lamented how tough it is to eat well on the road. For my upcoming trips, I’ll need to focus on learning WHERE and HOW to eat on the road. TOUGH!

Health

  • My initial good news turned a bit bad. Several days after my physical, I got my bloodwork results back. High glucose and high bad cholesterol. This would have been worse if I hadn’t already been several weeks into my new healthy journey. Doctor wants me back in 3 months to see how all of this has helped those things. Now I have new enemies. I end up on my runs saying, “Screw you, Glucose. And take this, Bad Cholesterol.” (That is the G-rated version compared to what I actually say when the running gets tough.)
  • Sleep Study done. I did my two-day home sleep study and now waiting on the doctor’s interpretation of it.

Journaling

  • I write posts like this to remember and to share my life and learning. I realized that the other day. But it’s also to learn and explore my thoughts and feelings that pop up. My private journaling app now shows highlights from years past for that particular day. It’s been really nice to read some of those and see where I was and how I was feeling, or what I was thinking. So far I’m at 397 entries. I’m eager to get years down the road with this journey and see these things pop up for me again. Hopefully providing thankfulness and motivation for what I hope is a lifelong journey. And hope it’ll be something my kids can read later in life if they are interested in what their dad was doing or thinking.
  • Highly recommend DayOne app for journaling …. and getting premium.
  • Another form of journaling I did recently was based on the Your Life in Weeks post here. It was neat to plot out events in my life … and on in particularly, the date I started my journey to complete health. A friend shared how you can do that exercise online easily at Entire.Life for free.
Share this post

6 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned About Running So Far”

  1. Hey Cory, just had to come in and comment as I have been following your new journey… and all I can say is:

    GOOD FOR YOU!

    Yeah, the last 6 months or so we have really focused on eating better and I can relate to a lot of what you have said. We are at the point of not feeling we are deprived, but rather making more healthy choices, watching the amount we eat, etc. It takes time but those life changes do for sure.

    Not a runner, never have been. We are consistently doing 45 minute walks and at my age, the doc is happy with that.

    As far as the Cholesterol, hang in there. I can’t even remember how long it’s been but I fought with extremely high bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. And I was put on 1 cholesterol med and 3 bp’s. But it also took weight loss, good eating, exercise and yes, admittedly, cutting out the booze. I am finally at a good level (just ini the last few months) but it took me a long time. Our doc even says that high cholesterol can be hereditary and tough to battle. So do not dismay buddy, you will get there one way or another .

    Next time we see each other we will grab us some healthy noms and commiserate with each other 🙂 Keep it up and if you ever want to chat, you know where to find me.

  2. Regarding injury, don’t push it. Your big muscle groups will build strength faster than all the connection muscles around them. It takes months, maybe years to build up the smaller muscles around your knees. This often means injury when you run road/smooth trails then try out something more technical with roots/rocks. Your knees aren’t ready to handle the changing landing platform and … injury.

  3. Hi Cory -AWESOME!! So Glad you’re enjoying the running. I love trail running and never bother with music/training/earbuds while running – I really enjoy the sounds of nature, my own breathing, plus being aware of wild animals (we have deer, mountain lions, skunks, racoons in the forests here + humans) is a good thing…the trees in the breeze, rustling of birds in the underbrush, gurgling of creeks…

    I highly recommend getting hooked up with a local running group. We have a local running club in our area and I’m sure you have one there too. They’ll know all the great coaches, sport doctors, trails, races, and train together. It’s the best way to go!

    I’ve learned so much from my coaches for both running and triathlon.

    Here’s a mind training tidbit from coach Terri Schneider (she has authored a few books too – you can look her up on Amazon): think of a word or short phrase that speaks to you to help you stay energized and relaxed as you run… examples: flow, strong and relaxed, — for me this last one reminds me to keep my core strong and the rest of me relaxed and let my legs swing from my hips – easily like a pendulum… so just those few words mean all that to me. Come up with a few though – so when you feel tired, have a word or phrase that energizes you too; or with climbing, crossing creeks or going over obstacles, etc. As you train, start using your phrases — it really helps you get through those tough sections throughout your run. It also trains your brain at the same time, which also builds your brain pathways and builds in some muscle memory and mental awareness you don’t get when you have music or other stuff playing in your ears (another reason I don’t have that stuff when I run).

    I’ve learned with triathlon – with respect to weather… it’s just water and dirt; get over it… you’ll wash up clean later and you won’t melt away. Go run in the rain, snow, heat, etc. Have the appropriate clothing for each of course. I never run on treadmills or inside – it doesn’t feel right and I agree, the morning sunrise and early nature feel is amazing. LOVE it. Totally helps with energizing your day too.

    I also find that the more difficult the weather scenario – the better my run experience is. I guess it’s the bigger contrast from when I’m wet and tired and then into the cozy warm house, nice hot shower and great breakfast that makes the whole thing more fun. Plus running in the rain is really great on the trail – those times have been some of the best runs I’ve ever experienced. Must be the positive ions in the air boosting my mood – but they’re so much fun, and even more so when you run with others.

    Run clothing – yes it’s pricey stuff. I look for when the shoe sales are – season ending sales getting the old year models out the door are what you look for. Any sale on sports clothing – sometimes you can find things half off. When you buy running shoes and like them – go back and get a second pair right away! Running shoe companies can change their shoe lasts each season and the shoe shapes can change on you affecting how your foot fits and feels – so you may not be able to find that great pair again the following season or even in 6 months. Plus, you may find you need to get a new pair every 3-6 months depending on your mileage.

    Days off from running: every coach will tell you to set your running days apart, at least initially, every other day… inbetween those days are active rest – so strength training or walking or some other sport you enjoy. Core training is essential – and if you can incorporate that as your inbetween days 1-2 days a week, you’ll really improve your running. I’ve started using the Pomodoro app (red tomato logo) or https://www.focusatwill.com during work – set my intervals at 45 minutes and when I hear the ding, I get up from my desk and do 30 second planks or some other 1-2 minute exercise or stretch (squats, push ups, calf raises…), at the very least walking around so my hips and low back don’t have issues from sitting too long.

    So glad you’ve found a joy in running!! Keep at it and you’ll improve as you go. Listen to your body – push when you can, back off when you’re not feeling right – most importantly, be consistent. Just get out there, even if it ends up being 20 minutes.

    🙂

    • Epic advice, Sherry, thank you so much! Going to sift through this a couple more times as you’ve loaded it with great ideas for me.

  4. First, not sure if this is helpful or not, but my in-between exercise for days I have no time or the weather is really crappy and I can’t stand the thought of going to the YMCA is 100 jumping jacks. It’s something I can always do regardless of time or weather.

    Second, I often sleep in my walking (not running for me) clothes, especially when I’m getting back into it after life disruption. In fact, after life disruption, I tend to schedule backup exercise times if I oversleep, etc.

    Third, I frequently tell myself, “Hey, you know what I do when I get up and don’t feel like walking? I walk anyway!”

    Finally, glad to hear you’re journaling. That was immensely helpful for me over the last couple years as I changed my morning routine, eating habits, and started exercising.

Leave a Comment