After a few years of riding bike on a regular basis and seeing the number of people running on the paths, I wanted to give it a try. As a child, I was never really into sports and my only experience with running was an occasional game of tag or touch-football. As an adult, it felt really awkward.
For my first run, I chose early in the morning on a weekend so as few people as possible would see me. The route I chose was 1 mile and I wore my street shoes which were super-heavy. I walked out to the end of my driveway, paused for a few seconds and started down the sidewalk.
I think I made it to the first corner and had to stop. After a short break, I started again. I made it about a block and again had to stop. It went on like this for the entire mile and I probably walked about a third of the way. I tried it again another day and had the same results. At the time, I thought it was normal to walk regularly during a run and continued like this for several weeks and even tried a 2-mile route in the same run-walk-run fashion.
One day, my 9 year old daughter said that she wanted to come along. We ran at a slower pace but I quickly noticed that she wasn’t stopping. To avoid looking like a wuss, I was determined to keep going as well and was shocked when we both finished the entire 2-mile run without stopping once!
It was a pivotal moment for me and I learned an important lesson about pacing yourself. I mentioned this story to a friend who is an experienced marathon runner and he confirmed what I had learned on that run. The key to distance running is maintaining a comfortable pace. If you start to feel tired, just slow down the pace. Also avoid racing others and only walk as a last resort.