Running has never been my thing. I was that person who cheated during mile-run tests in P.E. by skipping one of the laps around the building. I’m the person who gets on the treadmill for all of two minutes before stepping off of it, feeling extremely accomplished.
I’m the yogi who has been practicing daily for the past three years and boasts to others that “I only do workouts that feel spiritual and enlightening." But recently I finished my first half marathon and finally started calling myself a runner. So how'd that happen?
Here are the five things that helped me go from full-on yogini to a half-marathon machine in just three months.
1. I had a goal.
I would have never have had the ambition or the motivation to run if it wasn't for my mom and sister encouraging me to sign up for a half marathon with them. Feeling peer pressured by family (they only had the best of intentions), I signed up on a whim just three months before the race. Luckily for me, the race was at Disneyland. I'd be lying if I said that didn't soften the blow a little bit!
Knowing I only had three months gave me a huge amount of motivation to start training ASAP. This time frame left no room for excuses.
2. I followed a schedule.
Our bodies are amazing. The fact that I could go from running just two miles my first week with five walking breaks in between to running 13 miles by the last week last (with fewer breaks) is a testament to how physical training and following a schedule can produce incredible results.
I followed a 12-week running plan for beginner runners, and I made sure not to skip one day on the schedule. I would schedule workouts a week ahead of time, and as I got stronger, I started to find that I would get excited about what I had scheduled the following day. This schedule also helped me in other aspects of my life, like motivating me to wake up earlier on the weekdays and sticking to just one drink on Fridays so my Saturday morning runs would be stronger.
3. I found a running partner.
Having a running partner who holds you accountable is key. It’s also fun to share your running stats and drive some fun—or intense, depending on your partner—competition. I was fortunate enough to run with my fiancé each week. Even though he wasn’t training for the half marathon, it was helpful to have him by my side for each run.
And if none of your friends are into running, don't be discouraged—there are also running groups and meetups you can join.
4. I made running into a breath practice.
I channeled my inner yogi on each of my runs by focusing on my breath and taking in my surroundings. I made each run into a pranayama practice where I tried to let my breath guide me and help me feel less exhausted. By not running with any music, I took in my surroundings, focused on the dirty (but beautiful!) streets of New York City, and dedicated miles to gratitude and manifestation. Mile 1 was dedicated to my surroundings, mile 2 was all about focusing on my breath, and mile 3 moved into visualization and manifestation.
5. I kept doing yoga.
What I learned upon entering the world of running is that too many people get injured in the process. Here's a secret: Yoga prevents injury. Regularly stretching and strengthening my muscles helped me stay injury- and pain-free throughout the entire process. Yep, yoga really does make everything better.