How I Learned That It’s OK To Walk

May 26, 2010

I’ve played soccer since I was about 7 years old, and soccer is a sport that involves a lot of running – sometimes up to 10 miles a game. I didn’t really mind running during games or practice because there was a purpose to it.  For a long time I hated running for its own sake.

I grew up training hard for my teams, practicing daily and playing in elite tournaments with three games a day in 100-degree weather. I was surrounded by trainers, coaches, teammates, and dads that pushed me to the limit. Sometimes I broke down, but overall I pushed myself right along with them.

When I graduated college I continued to play on adult teams in the area, but these were much different. Most people had grown up playing soccer and had talent, but the point of the game had changed. It was more about fun now. For example, if it was a Saturday morning game, it wasn’t uncommon to have several team members show up with hangovers.

These teams didn’t hold practices, so it was up to me to keep myself in shape. I decided to give running a try, and when I did my first 5k I found that I really enjoyed the race culture. This was something I could get into, I thought.

Unfortunately, when I entered nursing school I had to drop out of playing soccer except in the summers. The games just didn’t work with my schedule. Along with it went my running efforts. Before I knew it, months had gone by without me running.

Eventually some friends inspired me to pick it back up again, but for the first time in my life I realized what out of shape really means. I couldn’t run a 5k. I could barely run a mile. If I tried, I hated every minute of it, and gave up. That’s when I discovered the C25k program, which is a run/walk interval that slowly increases the amount of running until you can run a straight 5k. For some reason if I was sticking to a “training program” it was OK for me to walk. It was less embarrassing that way.

The interval method works. Since I discovered it, I have allowed myself to fall out of shape many, many times – like I am now. I’m not happy about it, but I know how to fix it. I don’t always use the C25k program when starting out, but I have finally gotten to a place where I’m content to stop and walk if I need to.

My current training method when I run is to listen to my body. I allow myself to walk if one of the following happens:

  • I feel like I’m going to vom
  • I get sharp or very achy cramps
  • I feel like I am going to fall asleep mid-stride
  • I don’t think my legs are going to hold me up much longer

I would also walk if I felt like I was injured, but that hasn’t happened yet. I’ll walk until I sense my body has recovered, and then I’ll run again. Eventually I’m able to run farther and walk less.

It works for me. I’ve been getting the urge to run lately, and since I’m in need of distraction from certain anxiety-inducing realities I’ve decided to throw myself back into it. I’ll be an expert 5k-er by the end of this year, just watch. Anyone with me?

Posted in: health, exercise, health

Comments on How I Learned That It’s OK To Walk

  1. 1

    From Scott:

    C25k worked great for me as well. One of the things I loved most about it is how it helps build your confidence that you really can reach the next milestone.

    With that said I’m happy that I was able to reach the 5k goal, but I still hate running.

  2. 2

    From Stephany:

    I’ve used the C25K program before but I always end up ditching it to just run myself. I could probably run a mile right now. (I’ve taken a few weeks off because of shin splints) I have discovered how much I enjoy just walking and that you can still get a good workout from walking. I do want to get up to 5K shape but I’m not in any hurry to get there. I just want running to be fun for me and when I make a strict training program, it doesn’t work.

    I think your program sounds good and reasonable. Good luck!

  3. 3

    From steph anne:

    Good luck!! You can do it. I can’t wait until the day when I can actually run a 5K or marathon.

  4. 4

    From kapachino:

    I’ve decided that I’ll never be a long distance runner and I don’t want to be. I think the absolute farthest I have any desire to run is 10k, and 5k’s are just fine with me. :)

  5. 5

    From Hannah Katy:

    I will cheer you on! Sounds like its a good program.


    Hannah Katy

  6. 6

    From David, The Rainmaker:

    I’m so with you. I love running 5ks. Maggie and I will party a 5k with you–NOT hungover!

  7. 7

    From kapachino:

    Yes! Let’s find one! Not too soon though, I’m still out of shape. :)

  8. 8

    From Elizabeth:

    Good luck with this! I think it’s great that you know your limits.

  9. 9

    From BostonRunner:

    I just found your blog from your guest post on Amber’s blog. I love this post! I can totally relate to the first part – running for a purpose during soccer, the environment shift in sports after high school/college. Since I’ve been injured a few times, I’ve been getting better at accepting that walking is okay and even beneficial to your work out!

  10. 10

    From kapachino:

    Thanks for visiting! I’m lucky that I’ve never been injured, but I’m finding it hard to get into a good routine with my crazy schedule. Your blog is inspiring, though, and I’ll be reading! Good luck with training!

  11. 11

    From MelissaOklahoma:

    Oh I can understand where you are coming from. About a year and a half ago I had gotten into running for the first time and even pumped out 6 miles relatively easily. Which for me is amazing as I’ve never been a runner. During this time I was in a very different place in my life, which included being in between jobs and running was something I’d picked up in those couple months. I even got to where I enjoyed running!

    Then… I got a job and pretty quickly my weekly jogs were pushed aside. Lately I’ve been wanting to get back into it, and find that it IS hard. In fact I attempted to go for a jog this morning only to jog about 100 feet before I decided it would be a brisk morning walk instead…

    Hope you’ll post about your progress!

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