Run or Die
Running wasn’t something that came to me naturally. Though I was athletic throughout my life, running, as an activity in and of itself, wasn’t something that was on my radar until much later; I always viewed running as something you do to warm-up for other sports.
Like most people who come to run later in life, it was by way of treadmills at the gym, in hindsight, the worst possible way to familiarize oneself with running. I did it out of necessity when my metabolism started slowing down with age and I needed to shed weight and get in shape. After a couple years of this repetitive activity, the sheer boredom of treadmill running made running more than 3 miles (5 km) impossible, which also meant that the amount of cardiovascular benefit was plateauing for me.
One day at the office, I was chatting with a colleague and learned that he had just run the 2008 NYC Marathon. He explained that he started running shortly before training for it and training over the course of 4-5 months, was able to run the marathon distance. Given the stagnant place my exercise routine had reached, I threw caution to the wind and vowed that I would do the same in 2009.
In my exuberance, I researched a variety of online training plans and synthesized my own, fairly aggressive plan that required me to put in up to 40 miles in weekly mileage, even though I’d never run more than 15 treadmill miles/week before; despite that, I thought I was well beyond a “beginner” level and rationalized to myself that it made sense, believing that road running was no different than treadmills. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t too easy and that it would force me to push myself.
Though I ultimately didn’t end up running in 2009 due to a end-of-training-plan injury, during the course of the 5 months, I dropped 20 pounds and got into the best physical condition of my life. That I was able to grind through most of what was a crazy training plan for my level of experience and exceed my own performance expectations, helped me develop a great deal of confidence in my abilities and shifted my mindset to thinking of myself as a runner. I continued running since then and have run the Philly Marathon in 2013 with my wife and completed the 2014 NYC Marathon.
Here’s the 2009 training plan if you’re interested. More on running later.