January 2, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

The last 2 weeks can best be described as couch surfing.  No, wait.  That implies more activity than is appropriate.  Basically I was a paperweight for my parents couch.  And a garbage disposal.  (I love leftovers, particularly when they're free). Having run a lot this past year and with an incredibly crazy November & December, I wasn't too hard on myself about it.
*No couches were harmed in the making of this photo.

But now it's January and vacation's over.  Time to get back on the road and start eating healthy again.  I'm pretty lucky to have some great friends who are also my running buddies.  Friday, with 30 more miles of driving before I'd reach New Orleans, I already was committed to a 5 mile loop with a friend.  Last night, my usual Sunday morning group was texting each other to make sure we'd all be there.  I had company for 16 out of 17.8 miles... that ain't bad.

Sometimes we need a little
help from our friends.
I'm lucky to have such a great support system.  People who'll notice if I'm not there for a long run or am huffing more than usual.  They hold me accountable to myself even though they would never put me down.  (Well, they might laugh if I faceplant on a run but that's all in good fun.)  Technically, I probably could have done it alone, but I would have enjoyed it a lot less.

Need a running buddy?  There are many options...

1.  Running groups.  There's a ton of them.  Local running clubs often have (at least) weekly group runs and frequently there are people of all paces who attend - you don't have to already be a speed demon.  You can also try local running stores (though this does not apply to big box chains... look for smaller specialized running or biking stores.)  Getting started with these groups generally means access to people who've been running a lot longer and who may have great advice or suggestions as you encounter new obstacles, problems or questions.

2.  Friends or family.  Know anyone who runs?  No?  If you're just starting out, you might be able to find a friend or co-worker who's also interested in starting.  You can use each other as motivation and running partners.  If they're a long-time runner, it can sometimes be hard to find people at the same pace but they may be willing to  keep you company on one of their relaxed run days.

3.  Imaginary friends.  The bonus here is that they tend to be available when you're going for a run.  (Not a guarantee, however.  Make sure you make plans well in advance so they can schedule it in.)  Unfortunately, they're not always big talkers but they are good listeners.  If strangers give you weird looks, just pretend you have a bluetooth and point to your ear.

What or who keeps you active or gets you back in the saddle after time off?


  1. Some days I just wouldn't run without my running group. And I certainly wouldn't run up mountains repeatedly or push myself so hard at speed. Running buddies are the salt of the earth.

  2. Your running buddies sound amazing! I have 2 friends who run with me. They are a lot of fun so I almost always look forward to training with them. Welcome back home. Did you ever find out about your internship after driving across the country?

  3. my jeans get me back in the saddle....when they don't fit : ) Happy New Year!

  4. March 17th when you find out, that'll be some St. Patty's day celebration for sure. good luck with the process. I'll be thinking about you and hoping you get where you want to go.

  5. I ran with the Louisiana Running Co runners...once. It's tough with my variable schedule to meet up all the time.

  6. Running buddies are a huge help to me- the time goes by so quickly when I have company. I also take advantage of non-running friends by mentioning how far I have to run that week. It really motivates me to stick to my mileage.
    As for getting back off the couch, having a race in mind certainly helps, but I kind of naturally feel like eating better and moving around more after a couple weeks of over indulgence. I like to balance things out!

  7. I use all of these - the last one just happens at the end of long runs.

  8. Definitely running buddies plus reading blogs and other running material to get me inspired! Good luck w/ getting back into the swing of things and happy new year!

  9. My imaginary friends keep me running for hours! Tee hee hee.

    This is my first time here. Looking forward to reading more.

    Winks & Smiles,