“I’m a jogger, not a runner.” As a running coach I hear this statement from clients weekly. But whoever said to be a runner you need to be a trained athlete who competes in foot races? Or be someone who would rather run with pain than deal with the pain of not running? Anyone & everyone can be a “runner”. Whether this means waking up in the morning knowing that you are going to find time that day to run just like every other day. Or maybe you find a few times a week to hit the pavement, run/walk with your dog in the park, or hit the treadmill on the way home from work. Whether you are slow, fast, run short or long, do hill repeats or like to interval train you ARE a runner.
A few years ago 76-year-old determined Richard showed up at my running clinic at Rancho La Puerta, world renowned 1st ever destination spa where I still work from time to time. He was dressed in long khaki slacks, a golf polo & converse tennies’, the first words out of his mouth were “I USED to be a runner over 60 years ago.” Of course I replied – “You still are!” And I was right – after 45 minutes Richard reconnected to his love for running while I reintroduced the key concepts & breakdown of running form, took him through some drills and Plyo’s and helped him regain his boyish stride from high school.
This following week I had a strong, adamant group of runners whom all showed curiosity and commitment to wanting to eliminate obvious imperfections, improve cadence & become a “lighter runner” whether it be for racing purpose, fitness or fun! Peggy, having run marathons for many years before I was born, became giddy about her new buoyant stride and cheered “next race I will be flexing my knee, heel kicking & feeling weightless & fluid…I can’t wait!” Sharing the simplicity of running form, the 3 main components of leg stride & tips on how to improve, inspire and motivate self to reach personal goals encourages me as a coach making me feel even more energized to hit the pavement day after day!
I the same year I ran my personal best for a half marathon – 1:33. Excited about my PR (personal record), I can honestly say I owe the results to balance within my training. Weight Training, Yoga and cross training really helped my hammys feel strong, but stretched my breath was very controlled. Weekly tempo treadmill runs helped me push past my limits when terrain was tough or I felt breathless. Training tips from old ‘Coach Dean’ gave me a confidence boost and motivation to run a 7:30 min mile. Towards the end of the race I could hear Coach Dean “run your first 10 miles with your head & your last 3 with your heart!”
So, all you have to do is try, find the runner in you. Whether your initial goal be to shed some extra pounds, to help distress or to spend time running with a friend – I honestly believe that running can help not only improve your health but enhance your life. Remember the first time you try anything it isn’t easy – but stay tuned, the runner’s high is not far away – trust me! After 10+ half & full marathons I still dread long run days, but you won’t see me hanging up my sneakers or dry fits shorts anytime soon!