Community Leaving Running, and Getting Back In

    Leaving Running, and Getting Back In

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    Growing up in a small town, sports weren’t exactly my thing. Sure, I tried volleyball and basketball in middle school, mainly because my friends were into it, but it was more about the social scene than the game itself. Fast forward to adulthood, and a move from the quiet of Northern Ontario to the hustle and bustle of Toronto and I somehow fell into the running crowd.

    Suddenly, everyone I knew was training for races, planning running vacations, and sharing stories of epic runs that seemed more like adventures. I was mesmerized by their dedication. If you’re a longtime reader of iRun, you might recall the Couch to Marathon program led by Ben Kaplan. Can you believe it’s been 10 years since then? Time flies!

    I almost made it through the program, but unfortunately, a nasty injury derailed my marathon plans.

    Since then, I’ve had plenty of false starts and stops. But now, a decade later, I’m back in the game and just crossed the finish line of my first race since 2018: the Achilles 5km. This time around, there’s a different vibe. I’m dead set on sticking with it and making running a lifelong commitment.

    Here’s how I’m making it happen, and having fun along the way.

    Team Spirit: I’ve enlisted the help of a coach to keep me motivated and accountable. No more skipping runs when the couch looks too inviting! Plus having someone in my corner makes the journey feel less lonely (pictured below is me with iRun Ben Kaplan’s original BlackToe running crew!)


    Foodie Fuel:
     Meeting with a sports dietitian wasn’t just about getting bland nutrition advice. It was an opportunity to spice up my meals and discover delicious ways to fuel my runs. I learned the importance of carbs, and since upping my daily intake, I’ve noticed a real difference—even on my shorter 3km runs! If you’re aiming for longer distances, finding someone who understands running can be a game-changer for learning when and how to fuel up during those endurance sessions.

    Fancy Footwork: Who knew getting a gait analysis could be so cool? They were able to pinpoint areas for improvement, guiding me to the right footwear and form adjustments. Not only did I get some expert advice, but I also got an excuse to shop for new kicks with a shoe prescription in hand.

    Therapy Time: Physiotherapy isn’t just for treating injuries; it’s also about injury prevention. I took the time to understand the muscles they targeted so I could research the right exercises for future maintenance. I was fortunate to see a physiotherapist specializing in sports, particularly running.

    Stretch It Out: I’ve learned from past mistakes and now prioritize stretching. If I think I’ve stretched enough, I do two more rounds. I squeeze in stretches while waiting for my coffee to brew and during TV time, with my trusty massage therapy ball by my side. Like Alec Baldwin famously said, “ABC – Always Be Calf-stretching.” At least, I think that’s the movie quote, right?

    Sing Along: Running isn’t just about pounding pavement—it’s about enjoying the journey! So, I’ve embraced my inner pop star and turned my runs into spontaneous karaoke sessions. While it’s tough to gauge my pace solo, I’ve found a fun solution: if I can belt out Carly Rae Jepsen tunes, I’m hitting the right stride.

    I’m still rocking the walk-run combo in my training, and honestly, I’m totally cool with it. Nailed my goal of finishing under 42 minutes with a time of 40:59. No races on the immediate horizon, but I’m eyeing another 5k in the fall to see how much I’ve improved.

    As I gear up for my next run, slipping on my kicks and hitting the pavement, I’m not just after a finish line. Nope, I’m diving into a fresh chapter of my running journey, aiming to make it a fun, lifelong romance.

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