How to Start Running Again: Motivation for Starting Over

One of the hardest things to do is to get off the couch and start an exercise program.  Perhaps the next hardest thing is to start over after achieving a level of fitness.  I’m in that boat right now.  During the summer of 2010, I weighed approximately 270 pounds, the most I have ever weighed.  I was borderline diabetic, had pretty severe sleep apnea, and was just generally lethargic and miserable.  I decided that enough was enough.  I went on a new eating plan; started exercising and slowly the weight came off.  In December of 2010, I started officiating high school basketball, and the weight really started to come off.  My endurance was better and I just felt stronger.

blueberry hill:stronger girl by visualpanic, on Flickr

At that point, my wife came up with the idea that we should run one 5K a month.  So, we registered for a January race and circled that date on the calendar.  We didn’t do any specific training for that race as I was still officiating.  It was a decent race.  I finished in a little over 40 minutes, and I did a run/walk for that race.  Well, personally, I was hooked.  February came and we ran another one.  This one, I broke 40 minutes and ran a lot more than I walked.  Finally, in March, I was able to run the entire distance.  I was making a lot of progress.

It was around this time that my wife had the idea to join Team DetermiNation with the American Cancer Society and run the Denver Rock n Roll Marathon in October.  Personally, I thought she had lost her mind, as I was thinking that a Half Marathon was more within the realm of possibility.  Needless to say, we joined the team and started training.  From April to October, my mileage and endurance increased dramatically.

In May, I ran my first 10K.  August brought my first Half Marathon.  Finally, October rolled around and we were toeing the start line in downtown Denver to run our first Marathon.  By that point, I had lost about 70 pounds and was in the best shape that I had been in for a long, long time.  I think I did fairly well, as I did finish.  It wasn’t as fast as I had hoped, but I crossed the finish line under my own power.  Short of becoming a father, this was one of the most satisfying moments of my life.

So, what happened in the past six months?  I stopped.  I stopped running, I stopped eating right.  I just stopped.  I did run a Half Marathon in January, and while I set a new PR for that distance, it wasn’t anywhere near where I should have been.  I’ve gained about 20 pounds and my endurance has plummeted.  I could offer up many excuses.  Complacency, an impending divorce, just being lazy.  It doesn’t matter, though.  What matters is that I am falling back into a funk.

All of that leads to the title of this post.  I am starting over.  My diet is getting back on track, I’m getting back out a few days a week, and I have goals again.  My next goal is to run the Bolder Boulder 10K next month with my son.  Then, a Half Marathon in August.  Those are my immediate goals.  I have my sights set on 2 Marathons in 2013.  So, yeah, I may have gotten to back to a frustrating place.  But, I know that I can get back to where I want to be.  I’ve done it before.

So, I guess my advice to you is:  You can do it.  Even if you have started and stopped and started again.  Just get back on that horse and keep moving forward.  Find people that will support you.  Find people that will exercise with you.  Join a running club.  Just get out there.  There is no substitute for hard work, and believe me, this is hard work.  But, the rewards are amazing.  So, I hope that this little screed has inspired you to some degree.  I hope to continue to write here and update you all with my progress, and I would love to hear your progress as well.  It doesn’t matter if you can run a Marathon in under 3 hours or if it takes you an hour to do a 5K.  If you are out there working at getting in better shape, then you are on the right track.

Thanks for reading!

Marathon enthusiast Chris Bursian records his musings about life and running on his blog Chris the Runner.  He’s in the process of starting over with his couch to 5K series and plans on running his next race with his 13 year old son!