The Key To Running Success: Persistence, Not Perfection

Since I started triathlon training, I have concentrated on the run the most. And it’s paying off. Since it was the one thing I’d never done before, it was also the one thing that freaked me out and made me hesitate about even trying.

I signed up anyway because I can always walk if I have to. I had to in my last race. I had to walk a lot. For the race coming up on August 1 though, I won’t have to walk. I may have to run slow, but I won’t have to walk. I can run now.

Saturday, I ran a full 5k in my neighborhood. I took a new route that I’d mapped out the night before in my car (it’s also kind of my bike route). 3.1 miles. Mostly a flat run with 3 hills (or maybe I should say inclines, but decent ones). I woke up later than I’d planned on Saturday and almost bagged this run too because I had other stuff to do. And then I considered running my usual shorter 2.5 miles. But I wanted the change, and I wanted to challenge myself. My thinking is that if I can run 3 miles, then the 2 miles (even right after the bike leg) won’t feel so bad on race day.

So I did it. I walked .2 miles to warm up and started jogging. It was hot because it was already 9:00 am. But I kept going, kept my pace slow so I didn’t kill myself and I finished in 38 minutes, which running-wise after a walking warmup, was probably about 11:30 to 12 minute miles. I was happy with that because at one point in the run, I didn’t think I’d even be able to run the whole way. It still amazes me how a run can feel great one minute, crappy the next and then good again. I was so thrilled that I completed the distance without walking that I even threw my arms up into the air a little as I turned into my driveway!

This morning I went running again. It was my usual 2.5 mile run. Until I get more comfortable with the distance, I’m keeping the long run to once a week. After race day, I’ll kick that up. This morning’s run was probably the best run I’ve ever had. It was early (6:00 am) and cool and dry. I think it’s the first run I’ve had in a while where there hasn’t been stifling humidity. This morning, I knew I was running a distance I’m comfortable with (amazing how much of a difference half a mile makes) so I decided to open it up a bit. When I’ve been running, I go pretty slow and bump up the pace at least once or twice during the run to get used to a faster pace. IThe faster pace actually feels more natural, (trust me, it’s not that fast), but  it’s been tough to keep up for very long. This morning was different though. I don’t know if it was the crisp weather or how I was feeling, but I opened up and only slowed down on one hill. I even got the thumbs up from a couple of walkers, which made me smile and then run faster. I ran 2. 5 miles this morning in 26.30 minutes, a little over a 10-minute mile pace. For me, that’s sprinting.

I was so pumped after this morning’s run. It felt amazing and I actually can’t wait to go again on Wednesday, although I rarely get the same results two runs in a row.

Thursday is my one year anniversary with Weight Watchers and serious blogging. I was looking back at some of my earlier posts this weekend. I felt triumphant when I went from walking a mile to walking a mile and a half.

Now I’m running three miles and working on going farther and running faster. I would have never thought this was possible a year ago.

MaggieApril, from Taste Not Waist, commented on one of my blog posts recently “Persistence, not perfection. Good Lesson.” It’s so true. My running experiences have been far from perfect. It took me seven months to complete the 9-week couch to 5k program. But I have kept at it and kept at it.

And look, I’m a runner now.


9 responses to this post.

  1. Yes you are! Congratulations! That is simply awesome…

    Couch to 5K will probably take me 7 months too, but I’m adamant that I will start it as soon as I get below 240 pounds. At the moment I’m working on my walking speed and endurance.

    You’re an inspiration!


    • Thank you! You’ll get there. I started running when I was about 210. I was walking for six months before I decided to attempt the running. It’s important to take it slow in the beginning, but if you keep at it, you will get there and you won’t get hurt along the way. Can’t wait until I hear that you are running too!


  2. Posted by Fran on July 13, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Its a pity there’s an ocean between us and a time difference otherwise we could run together cause I run the 5K in 38 minutes also 🙂

    Congrats! You’re a runner and proud of it!
    So am I and also proud!



  3. Congrats! I can totally relate. I went from running for 90 seconds at a time right up to 3miles in 30 minutes. So I know exactly how excited you are feeling.


  4. Good for you! What a beautiful, inspiring and motivating story! I recently completed my first 5k, but it was walking not running. However, for me it was something quite monumental because the autoimmune disease I battle kept me from doing anything even close to that for a good 10-years. A healthy diet and lots of persistence and determination made the difference. Maybe I’ll even be able to run one day, who knows? Thanks for the great post and sharing your successful experience. 🙂



  5. That is an awesome pace. Congrats!


  6. You are so so sooooooooo awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!


  7. Thanks for all the congrats! The key for all of us is moving our bodies, whether it’s running, walking or dancing, etc.
    Moving makes me feel really good, and when I feel really good, I have more control over what I eat and how my day goes.


  8. Posted by onelittlejill on July 14, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    I still remember the day I first called myself a runner. And then the day I could say I was a triathlete. There is something so empowering about it. Every moment matters.


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