The Beginner: Stage One: Making the Break
Every beginning is precarious. There you are, perched on the edge of starting something entirely new, yet there are distractions, even criticisms, that cause detours and dead ends. You want to be more healthy and fit, but you may not realize how secure you've become in an inactive world. Each time you go out for a run you encounter a new side of yourself - one that must somehow be integrated into your daily life.
There is usually a struggle within and without. The old lifestyle is there and offers security. When the energy of "beginning" wears off, it's harder to motivate yourself to go out for that daily run. You'll face a lot of obstacles at first. It's all too easy to stop when the weather turns cold, when it rains or snows, or when you feel the aches and pains of starting. You haven't had to deal with these things before and the temptation to quit is strong.
Your running may also be threatening to your less active friends. Eventually you - the beginner - and your non-running friends work it out. The transition period, however, can be unstable and uncomfortable for both. If you falter, the old world - comfortable in many ways - is waiting for you to slip back in. If you're lucky enough to make new friends who share similar fitness goals, you'll probably find refuge in the "fit" world while you gain your "running security."
Social reinforcement makes it easier to establish the fitness habit. One good approach is to find a group that meets regularly. Or you can make a pact with a friend who drags you out on bad days and vice versa. Races and fun runs are great opportunities to meet people.
At times you may not progress as fast as you expected. We Americans are traditionally hyperactive and impatient. When we plant a seed, we not only want it to grow, we want it to become a tree by next week. We want results. When you start, you want to see physical and psychological benefits. But if you push too hard, you can tire yourself out and end up quitting in frustration.
The seed of exercise - if you don't crush it - will survive periods of moisture and drought. Just when it seems to be drying up, it will spring to life, rejuvenated, and propel you further down the road. Don't be discouraged, even if you've stopped. Tomorrow's another day. Many beginners stop and start again 10 or 15 times before they get the habit established. Beginners who don't put pressure on themselves seem to have an easier time staying with it. If you simply walk/jog 30-40 minutes every other day, you'll find yourself gently swept along in a pattern of relaxation and good feeling. Your workout starts to become a special time for you. As you make progress you find within yourself the strength and security to keep going. At first you're "just visiting" that special world when you go out for a run. But gradually you begin to change. You get used to the positive relaxed feeling. Your body starts cleaning itself up, establishing muscle tone, circulating blood and oxygen more vigorously. One day you find you're addicted, and the beginner becomes a jogger.
By Jeff Galloway
GOSH..If this here blurb doesn't hit home......I'm definitely in stage 1.