How I started to run or can a workaholic and sedentary couch potato become a marathon runner?

in running •  2 years ago  (edited)

Before I started to run, I was a workaholic in financial corporation and a couch potato at home. I was in no fitness shape and I was tired all the time. I was not happy with my life but I did not know any better at the time. What I did know was that I will have to change something... Even though my life did not mirror it, I was always curious about ways to be more active and healthy... (This is me now: active and healthy.)
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Years ago I tried many things on area of healthy eating and recreational sports but nothing stuck with me. Sooner or later I was in front of TV eating sweet or salty junk, which felt like the right comfort after working long hours…
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When I was growing up, marathon running was just starting as organised sport, and it was commonly considered that marathons are for a few enthusiasts and weirdos. I don't know why, but I was always drawn to all information about marathon running and I can still very vividly remember my feelings about marathon run through my home town many years ago. I watched the runners with admiration (with no hope that I would ever be able to be one of them). I also noticed that women were not common on marathons. This puzzled me and I think also provoked me to be one of the women who will change this pattern some day.
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All these impressions were waiting to mature in realisation and decision that I want to be a runner. Maybe even a marathon runner. My running path started very unexpectedly. I was on 3-months long work related education and training in Belgium. That was challenging time for my personal and professional life and I felt that these 3 months could be a good milestone in my life. I hoped that these 3 months are opportunity for me to make a clean slate. And then I will be able to return back home healed and in better physical and emotional shape. And this is what happened during those 3 months…
In first weeks of my staying there I noticed a poster announcing 20 km run through Brussels. It was end of February and the run was scheduled for 25th May. It just clicked in my head: this is it. I am going to run this run! Even though I was at zero fitness level, I made this very firm decision. It changed the rest of my life - I can tell that now.
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After initial enthusiasm questions started to pop up:

  • When to find the time for regular trainings is you work more or less the whole day?
  • Can a sedentary person train for 20 kilometres run in 2,5 months?
  • Is this even healthy?

My only answer was:

  • One can never know until he/she tries. And so the journey started...

My working hours were from 9 am till 5 pm. I knew myself well enough not to plan training after work (I knew I would be tired and unmotivated). The only other alternative was to do the training runs prior to work. I had to wake up at 5, to be on running track at stadium at 5.30 and to finish my run and prepare for work by 8, when I had to step on my bus.
This is what I was doing for 2,5 months. I created unimaginable routine for (previous version of) me: waking early, training and then doing the rest of “normal” day. Was it difficult? Yes and no. There were days (mornings) when I really did not want to go out (it was cold, maybe rainy or I was really sleepy) and excuses started to appear in my mind… But I drank my coffee and went for a morning run!
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There were also some funny and unusual moments... I remember two:

  • One morning I locked myself out of my hotel apartment and could not go back it to dress for work. We worked it out with the hotel employee, so I managed to get into my room in time to catch the bus for work.
  • Another morning there was funny situation at running track on stadium when at 5.30 a.m. (it was dark) I ran into another early morning runner and we both screamed out of surprise that somebody else is on running track so early.
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All in all it was one of the happiest and most hopeful periods of my life till that point in time! I felt so strong and capable even on days when muscles were sore from the training. I was so proud and happy!
On 25th of May 2003 I was one of the 22.500 runners. I was on the slow side of the crowd (my time was 2 hours and 10 minutes), but I did it and I was really proud at myself! I still am, because as I wrote above: regular running made me a better person on so many levels!

I was hooked and I love running every day, week, month and year since then. In 2007 I ran my first full marathon (42 km) in New York. And now I am regularly running marathons (next one will be my 10th full marathon) and I also became daily streak runner.
If you liked this story, thank you for upvoting it! And please follow me if you would like to read further stories about #marathons and #dailyrunning. Here is picture of me running one of beautiful summer morning runs.
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Thank you for reading! I am curious about your triggers for running. How you started to run? What were/are your obstacles, victories and funny stories? I am also willing and happy to answer any questions regarding how to start a running habit. Looking forward to your comments and questions!

Sources for pictures:
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Run and fun. 🏃

That would be great to get motivated enough to do this. I'm already 60 years old though and we do not have a track nearby to run on. Of course I am already retired, so I have plenty of time to run if I could just convince my mind to do so. One of my problems here in the Philippines is that our water has very little pressure during the daylight hours. Also, it is not wise to be wandering around outside in the dark here. I know that if I could afford a treadmill or even a stationary bike, I would use it every day.

I think the movement of any kind is very beneficial for body and mind, so does not have to be running. Can be a faster walk or swimming... Fingers crossed that you find what suits you the best. One tip: you can start running (or any movement) at any age. Recently I saw this video about one English lady (entering 105th year) and she said, that she started yoga in her 90s. So we all have plenty of time for many new sports and activities! Onwards and upwards!