In these sedentary times, running can be a great way to get moving. With so much time on our hands, it’s a great opportunity to try it out and implement it into our habitual routines. Speed and long distances don’t have to define your running experience; sometimes its best to take a slow jog and just enjoy the fresh air. For all runners, both new and experienced, we’ve put together a video to get you motivated (and hopefully laughing along with us), as well as a Q&A with our wonderful Coach Floyd!
Q: When did you start running? Was it difficult for you to get started?
A: I ran my first 5K in 1998 while living in Phoenix, AZ. I was so excited that I was able to run the whole way. I look back now and chuckle about that. I seriously got into running in 2004. I joined a marathon training running group here in ATL shortly after I moved here, more of a way to meet people than the actual marathon training. It wasn’t difficult to get started because each week I would meet the other members in my group and we were all in the same boat, running the same mileage together. It was fun to make new friends and have hours to talk about anything and everything while training for our race (and some of them are still my closest friends today!)
Q: What is the most important thing to remember while running?
A: Clear your mind. They say that “running is cheaper than therapy” for a reason. It’s a great way to forget everything else, release stress, and block out everything else on your mind. The next thing is to listen to your body. When starting a new exercise program, chances are good that you may experience some muscle soreness. This is okay to work through. Actually, the best thing you can do for sore muscles if to keep them moving. However, if something doesn’t feel “right”, listen to your body, give it some rest and take some time off before hitting the road again. My last piece of advice would be to not compare yourself to others. Just do you.
Q: What advice would you give to new runners?
A: Don’t overdo it! If you push too hard and try to go too fast, you’re going to hate running because running fast is hard! No one likes the feeling of running hard, loss of breath, legs tired, etc (this type of training is more advanced and comes later). Run at a nice easy pace. When you get tired, walk a little bit, then start to run again. I like to do intervals on a timer, but you can just go on how you feel at first. The important thing is that you’re out there doing it.
Set reasonable goals. Don’t go out on day one telling yourself that you’re going to run 5 miles. Start with a mile or a set time.
If you want to improve your running, you need to start running again after a walk break before you really want to (before you’re fully rested), but if you’re just starting out, just enjoy being outside, marvel in nature and just be amazed at what our bodies can do for us.
Q: What is the best experience you have ever had at a race, the Disney Half Marathon, or AGS Varsity XC?
A: Personally, my best experience as a runner was when I qualified for the Boston Marathon for the first time. I never thought that I would ever qualify and I honestly didn’t even realize that I did until later that afternoon. The Boston Marathon is the highest level that a recreational runner like me can aspire for. I have now qualified 6 times and run it 5 times. One of the best marathon experiences I had was when I ran the Big Sur marathon. This race was almost entirely up the coast of CA and was beautiful every step of the way. I was at mile 16 before I even realized it because I was mesmerized by the scenery! Of course, I always have a great time running the Disney marathon. I think I’ve run that one about 14 times now. I love me some Disney! 🙂
I love that more and more AGS students want to run the Disney half marathon. Because it’s a trip that we take every year, I’m not sure that people realize how big of a deal it is to run a half marathon – let alone in high school! I will be taking 15 runners next January! What makes me so proud of the participants is that most of the training is done on their own, so they have to be disciplined to get in their training. It doesn’t take much to walk a half marathon, but when you do your best and you know deep down that you trained for this event, crossing the finish line after covering 13.1 miles brings such a sense of accomplishment.
My favorite experience when coaching AGS XC is seeing the excitement on our runners’ faces when they realized that they just gave everything they had in them out on the course. There are times when they would finish a race, reflect, and know in their hearts that they could have run faster. But there’s nothing like knowing that you left everything out on the course. That makes a coach proud.
During this period of social distancing, Coach Floyd has all of her conditioning students download the Strava App to keep each other motivated and see each other’s running progress. All of you can download it, too! Challenge your friends, share photos and videos from your workout, and keep moving! Download it here.