National Running Day: Will You Run With Me?

My grandmother loves to tell the story of how I began to walk.  ‘Josie didn’t learn to walk, she learned to run.’  She accompanies this story with zooming arm motions back and forth, signify my speed of which I would run around her home.

Running has a sentimental place for me.  I remember my first race.  It was with my father in 4th grade, a fun-run celebrating my small towns’ 100-year centennial.  I was so excited to begin, he had to hold tightly to my hand so I didn’t false start.  The gun went off and seconds later he was pulling me off the payment with a bloodied knee.  I tripped, myself.

Alligator tears in my eyes I pouted that I didn’t want to run anymore.  Without a moment’s pause he threw me over his back for a piggyback-style jog.  I squealed with enjoyment, forgetting about my fall.  After awhile (his back must have been aching) he said, want to play a game?

I eagerly agreed, without even hearing the terms.  Let’s run one minute and then the next minute you get to pick what we do, just as long as we move forward.  Running, jumping, dancing and more running were involved.  Pretty soon it was only running and we finished together.

This story was the start to my life as a runner.  Three marathons, four half marathons, and countless 5k and 10k races finished.  I proudly display my medals in my home and am always looking for my next goal.  But without my father’s challenge and support that day, I may have never considered running again.

Now as an adult, running is an activity that gives back to me much more than just exercise or competition.  I get lost listening to my favorite music, having a conversation with my husband or learning the back roads of my neighborhood.  There are good runs and there are very bad runs (my fellow runners out there know exactly what I am talking about).

But I keep coming back.  I know there are probably only so many years of my life I can run, so I take advantage of every day I get to.

June 5th is National Running day, where runners like me get to declare their love for this activity.  As found at http://www.runningday.org/ :

Wherever we are and whomever we’re with, we run—fast or slow, alone or with others, all over town or just around the block. It is a coast-to-coast celebration of a sport and activity that’s simple, inexpensive, and fun. It’s the perfect way for longtime runners to reaffirm their love of running and for beginners to kick off a lifetime and life-changing commitment.

The website has some great resources, but I especially liked the 10 Ways to Celebrate National Running Day which include:

  1. Declare your passion – People run for millions of reasons, and we want to know yours!  Head to www.runningday.org and let the nation know why you run, be it raising money for charity, keeping your waistline in check, or getting to that bagel at the 5K finish line.

  2. Bring a runway to work – Swap your loafers and heels for sneakers and you’ll be dressed to the nines for National Running Day. Your feet will thank you for it, and it will be that much easier to step out for a short jog during lunch or on your way home from work.

  3. Morph your friends into running fiends– Friends don’t let friends just walk on National Running Day! Invite a pal or two—the more the merrier—to hit the road with you. They’ll be hooked in no time!

  4. Change Happy Hour to Running Hour – Shake things up by adding a run to your postwork plans. Head out at 5:00 p.m. with some co-workers and relax over miles instead of cocktails.

  5. Strike new ground – Seize the day and take the road you’ve never traveled. Who knows? You might find a new favorite running path to spice up your summer.

  6. Give the gift of happy feet – Donate to organizations that support youth running, like Shoes That Fit. They’ve assisted in getting 800,000 pairs of sneakers on little feet– just think of all the miles you’ll help them run!

  7. Make running run in the family – They have your eyes, but what about your endurance? Leave the bikes and baseball bats in the garage and run around the neighborhood with the kids. Keep things interesting with a short race to see who is the fastest.

  8. Choose a running resolution – Kick off a new fitness goal on National Running Day. It can be anything, including adding five minutes to your next run, running a new distance, or signing up for a road race.

  9. Take advantage of the great outdoors –Running outside beats spending all your time on the treadmill. Step out the front door and away from the gym to take in a bit of nature during your afternoon run.

  10. Treat yourself like a champion – Set yourself up for success by indulging in your favorite post-run snack, sporting your lucky t-shirt, or helping your feet to a new pair of sneakers.

So how will you celebrate national running day?

Maybe you would be considered a beginning runner, so going out for a jog may be a bit of a challenge.  My advice to any new runner, may it a one time run or building to a longer race: do the run/walk method.

For example, if your goal is to run for twenty minutes, but you haven’t run in twenty years, then jog for one minute and then walk one minute, going back and forth. This is best done on a track or around your block, in case you need to end early or take a longer break.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of New York Road Runners

The split can be modified based upon your level.  I used the run/walk method for my first marathon, where I ran 9 minutes and walked 1 minute.  It was my miracle that made 26 miles doable.  You can turn any run or race into a manageable task.

Rewards while running can be fun too.  A college friend inspired me to do my first marathon, as she had already a few under her belt.  She would set out some of her favorite treats along her training course (keep in mind this was on a dirt road in the middle of farmland).

Think about what types of rewards work for you.  What would get you out the door and on your way to running?  Look back to the 10 ways to celebrate national running day.  Could it be a family activity or a fun gossip gathering of your girlfriends?  Is there a race coming up in your area or a location you’ve always had your eye on visiting?  Even a 5k is an accomplishment and goal to consider.

It seems like there is a National (fill in the blank) Day for just about everything.  I learned that June 7th is National Chocolate ice cream day and June 11th is Hug Holiday.   It is hard not to get behind both of those!

National day or not, I’ll be running.  It may be a great run where I feel like I am floating.  Or it may be a bad run, that I’m dragging my feet to the end.  It is part of being a runner.  Even runners who do it professionally have good and bad days.

So you, yes you.  Please join me this Wednesday, June 5th.  Make sure you have a pair of shoes that support and fit you properly, along with attire that makes you feel comfortable and confident.  Set out a goal, challenging yourself to five miles or just even five minutes.

You can share your goals, as well as accomplishments, by going to http://www.runningday.org/ and find the Facebook and Twitter image.  The great thing about running….you have bragging rights!  It might not be a finishers metal, but any run you do on June 5th is worth sharing.

I’d love to hear about your run too.  Share your experiences in the comments section below.  I’ll post how my run was in the comments section as well.

Happy Running!

Check out my other posts on running here:

Running on Resilience:  http://josieahlquist.com/2013/04/22/running-to-resilience/ ‎

Why do we Run?  http://josieahlquist.com/2013/02/04/why-do-we-run/ 

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