Real People, Real Fitness: Andrea G, runner

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I met Andrea 7 years ago on our first day at Deloitte. There was/is something inherently cool about her. She loves to laugh, never turns down the chance to grab dinner or a beer to catch up, and is an avid runner. I’m so proud to have her share her story and advice!

“I started running almost exactly nine years ago this month. I’d become aware of health issues a few years earlier, but it wasn’t until my ex-boyfriend called me fat and told me that he was no longer attracted to me that I truly started pounding the pavement. It’s not something that comes naturally, and at the beginning it felt awkward. Parts of me I never knew could jiggle felt like they were about to bounce right out of my running shorts.

Nine years later, I run at least one half marathon every year, and my best days are the days I either start or end at the gym.

Today I ran on a treadmill next to a woman who was a little overweight and was obviously new to the gym experience. All I could think when I saw her, and saw how hard she was working, was: respect. Anyone who decides to make that change in their life, for whatever reason, deserves so much credit. I remember how hard it is to start, and know how hard it is to keep going, so to everyone out there who feels awkward and jiggly:

Treat your relationship with running (and the gym) the same way you would treat any new relationship.

Know when to back off and when to be pushy.

Be patient; don’t call every day, no matter how much you want to, you’ll only end up getting hurt if you do.

As if running wasn’t hard enough to begin with, we set ourselves up for failure by our inherent excitement and initial motivation. I see it every year at the gym. It is impossible to get a treadmill at a gym during the month of January. This year is the year that they’re going to make that change. And then they go hard. Too hard. In February the crowds start to dwindle, and they are all but gone by March.
We are not good at relaxing and taking things slow. When you start running, you won’t be able to run even a whole mile. That’s ok. Give yourself a break. Like any relationship that’s worthwhile, it’s not easy and you’re in it for the long haul. I started running in 2005, and it took me a year to be able to run two miles at a time. It took me four more years before I could run more than four miles.

Just like you wouldn’t expect to know that someone is your soul mate on your first date, don’t expect your body to know how to run a marathon your first time in running shoes. Just like you wouldn’t have a marathon date with someone you just met, keep your first runs short and enjoyable. Work up to it. If you go too crazy at the beginning, you’ll just end up hurt, and then you’ll never want to do it again. For the first time in your life, take your mom’s advice, and take it slow. And just like dating, don’t forget, this is supposed to be fun!

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