I’m Running to #FREEZEMND

It all started at a Family Friend’s Christmas party last year…
I made the commitment to run my first half marathon!! What had I got myself into?! I am not a runner! The furthest I had ever run was 10km the previous year in the City2City Run.
To give you some background, I have always played a lot of team sports, but grew up with a knee condition that stopped me from running during my adolescence. I have had 5 surgeries on my right knee since my early 20’s, for the aforementioned condition and then also had an ACL repair 4 years ago. My orthopaedic surgeon advised me that he didn’t think I would be able to run distances longer than 21km due to my knee history. At this news I laughed out loud… There was never any concern that this would be an issue. Until now…
So what was my next step? Train… Initially with great intentions I signed up to the ASICS running program. This was going to be my training bible. Unfortunately, other sporting commitments and life got in the way. I kept looking at the number of uncompleted sessions on the program and became very deflated. I was not getting close to the recommended sessions and realised my preparations needed to change. It was also very disheartening looking at the distances I should have completed!! So I decided to ditch the program and follow a less structured regime, as well as completing my regular 1-2 cardio personal training sessions with Step Into Life Albury, which has been adjunct to my longer distance runs.
For those people out there who like me are non runners, you will completely understand my ability to procrastinate around a training program! If felt like I was back at school or university trying to put off studying for an exam or completing an assignment. In the early stages, getting past 10km was a big milestone, running that distance was tough. During these runs it was hard not to get caught up in my thoughts about struggling to run for an hour; how in the world would I be able to run for TWO?! Inevitably, it got to the point where I had to knuckle down. I was starting to really question whether I could complete this goal. After breaking the difficult 10km mark, committing to get past this point was when things turned around and reaching my training goals became a lot easier!!! I ran 14km, then I ran 17km and 18km etc. The most surprising thing of all was that I began to enjoy it!! I discovered there really is such a thing as ‘Runner’s high’ and I started looking forward to getting out for my runs.
During my training preparation I had chosen to train on my own for the majority of the time, mostly out of ease and I also like to run at my own pace. In hindsight however, I think finding a partner to train with is definitely worthwhile. I have recently completed a number of long runs with close friends and my Albury Step Into Life Team and have found the camaraderie helps with maintaining a good pace and the runs also pass more quickly and less painfully having others there to distract you!!!
Another tip is to buy a sports watch which can alert you to your distance and pace. This for me was a pretty serious purchase, only real runners wear watches!! It has been one of the best training guides you can have and keeps you very accountable.
After reading this you may ask, what made me decide to complete my first half marathon if I disliked running so much? I am running, like many others to support close family friend’s who have formed a team to participate in Run Melbourne and raise funds for MND. Running for this cause and as part of a team has motivated me to stick to my goal and the commitment I have made to them. It is amazing to see the contributions people have made to support our team. The organisers had an initial goal of $10,000 and that has been well and truly surpassed at over $20,000. If you would like to make a donation to our team, click here.
-Kate Johnson