Running

Below are some important or notable posts I've written about running (in a few different categories). Hopefully they will answer all your questions!

My Personal Running Story

Race Reports

Free Training Plans


How-To's and Tips for Running:

How to Get Started as a Runner (Feb 2012)
On Starting to Run and Running Faster (Nov 2012)
50 Running Tips (Sep 2013)
A Guide to Running Lingo (Oct 2013)
It Gets Easier (Nov 2013)
Tips for Running (and Training for) Your First 5K (May 2014)
Tips for Running (and Training for) Your First 10K (May 2014)
Tips for Running (and Training for) Your First Half Marathon (May 2014)
Tips for Running (and Training for) Your First Marathon (May 2014)
How to Support Your Running Loved One (Aug 2014)
Speed Work for Kids (Sep 2015)
Hill Workouts for Kids (Sep 2015)
The Importance of the Easy Run (Apr 2016)
How to Start Running (for Beginners) (Jul 2016)
Tips for Running in the Summer Heat (Jul 2016)
All About Fueling for Runs (Jul 2016)
Tips for Coaching Kids to Run (Nov 2016)
Tips for Coaching Kids to Run, Part 2 (Nov 2016)
A Six-Month Half Marathon Training Plan for True Beginners (Apr 2017)

Fun Posts About Running:

My Two Year Running Anniversary (Mar 2012)
My Three Year Running Anniversary (Mar 2013)
Purple Thong (Mar 2013)
Liberating (Aug 2013) (Running in just a sports bra!)
Bloody Nipples (Sep 2013) (An embarrassing running story)
Run Katie Run (Oct 2013) (A surprise from my friends the night be the Chicago Marathon)
My Evolution as a Runner (Dec 2013)
My Photo Shoot for Runner's World Magazine (Jan 2014)
Runner's World Magazine (Mar 2014)
My Favorite Gift Ideas for Runners (Nov 2014)
My Race Shirt Quilt (Jan 2015) (All of my races shirts... turned into a quilt!)
Running Motivation (Books and Movies) (Jan 2016)
Notable Race Experiences (May 2016)


Training Methods:

Cumulative Fatigue (Aug 2013) (The positive effect of running a lot of miles)
Final Thoughts on Hansons' Marathon Method Training (Oct 2013) (In my opinion, this is the best training method for running a marathon or even an ultra marathon)
Treadmill vs. Outdoor Running Comparison (Aug 2014)
Training to PR my 10K Begins (Nov 2015) (I trained my ass off to drop 40 pounds and run a personal best in the 10K)
Don't Think, Just Run (Jan 2016)
The 80/20 Running Method (Jan 2016)
Starting the 80/20 Running Plan (Jan 2016)
An Update and Explanation of 80/20 Running (Mar 2016)
A Recap of My 10K Training (Apr 2016) (What I ended up doing to PR my 10K)
The Importance of the Easy Run (Apr 2016) (Read this!!!)

Other Notable Posts about Running:

Back of the Pack Runners (Jun 2014)
How Running Changed My Brother's Life (Apr 2015) (From weight loss to helping PTSD, running made a huge positive impact on my younger brother)
Questioning My Identity as a Runner (Feb 2017) (Thinking of taking an indefinite break from running)



My Running Story:

A question I get asked very often is how I got started running. Here is my personal running story:



I wasn't always a runner. In fact, I was 28 years old when I ran my very first mile. I could never understand why anyone would run unless they absolutely had to. Running is just not fun! But when I thought of "runners" as a whole, the idea was inspiring, romantic, and full of awe. To me, runners were part of this elite group of people that, at 250+ pounds, I could never be a part of.  I never, in a million years, would have guessed that I would one day call myself a runner.

In December 2009, after losing about 40 pounds, I created a list of 30 things I'd like to accomplish by the time I turned 30 years old. I wanted the items to be challenging enough to work toward, but still do-able. And on a whim, I included "Enter a 5K race and RUN it" on the list. Walking wasn't an option--I had walked two half-marathons at that point, so I needed to push myself. I thought to myself, "I'll do the Couch to 5K program, run the stupid race, and be done with this goal."

My friend Renee, who had just run a marathon (I didn't even know the distance of a marathon at the time), looked over my list while we were having a glass of wine one night. She suggested we sign up for the Detroit Free Press 5K in October 2010. I figured that 10 months was enough time to build up to running 3.1 miles, so I went ahead and registered (still not fully grasping what I was committing to).

In February 2010, I started a walking program to prepare myself for the Indy half-marathon that May. The plan involved three short walks plus one long walk per week. I decided to kill two birds with one stone, by training for the 5K and the half marathon at the same time.

I kept the long walks for the weekends, and I used those to train for the half marathon. Instead of the three shorter walks during the week, however, I started my own little running program. At first, I tried to do the Couch to 5K program, but I found it was much too difficult. It progressed too quickly for my fitness level, so I decided to do my own thing. (You can read more about my personal beginner plan here.)

First, I went out and ran as far as I could. I only made it about one-tenth of a mile before I felt like I just couldn't breathe. My pace was just under a 14 minute/mile, which is slower than some people WALK. I thought there is absolutely no way that I'm going to be able to run a 5K by October (it was March at the time).  I walked for about 30 minutes after the running spurt, because I still had to train to walk the Indy Mini.

I took the next day off, and then I tried again the following day. I ran as far as I could, which ended up being about 1/8 of a mile. And again, I walked after the running to total about 30 minutes. I skipped the next day, and then ran 1/4 mile the following day.

I told my younger brother that I was try to get started running, but I was progressing so slowly; he suggested that I slow my running pace way down in order to run farther. He said it should feel like I could walk faster than I was running. I tried it the next time I went out, and I was surprised at how much of a difference that made!

Less than two weeks later, I ran my first mile in 13:43. I continued to run three times per week, adding a little distance each time.

Only a week after running my first mile, I ran a mile in 12:10--improving my time by a minute and a half!

A week later, I ran two miles.

A week after that, I ran 5K (the distance, not a race).

On May 10, I actually ran a 5K distance in 33:59 (that's a 10:58/mi pace).

On June 11, I ran a 5K distance in 31:37 (a 10:12/mi pace).

In June, I decided to add a "long run" to my routine because the half marathon that I had walked was over. My first long run was 4 miles, and I ran it in 43:30 (a 10:52/mi pace). This was just three months after I started running--when I couldn't even run the length of my street. I couldn't believe my progress.

I continued on like this, running 3-4 times per week, including a "long run" once a week. My goal was to add distance and gradually increase speed. Even though I could run the 5K distance, I was holding out for the 5K race in October that I had signed up for with Renee. I wanted my first 5K to be the one with Renee because she is the one who got me started running, and I thought it would be special that way.

Instead, I signed up for a couple of other races. Funnily enough, my very first road race was a Ragnar Relay with my older brother. I had just lost 100 pounds, and I was feeling very confident. I flew to Minnesota (facing a long-time fear of flying) to run a 200-mile relay race with 12 strangers!

Finally, on October 17, 2010, I went to Detroit with Renee and ran my first 5K! I finished the Detroit Free Press 5K in 27:17. I was thrilled to cross that "impossible" goal off my list.


The entire time I was training for this, I hated running. I dreaded my runs; and the whole time I was running, I was always waiting for it to end. So you would think that after I completed my goal of running the 5K, I would never put on my running shoes again.

But somewhere along the line, I began to love the way running made me feel. After a good run, I felt sweaty, used, a little achy, and powerful. My body felt like it was doing what it was supposed to be doing--moving. And I loved the fact that I had become that romanticized idea of a runner, even though I still did not call myself a runner.

I didn't miss a single beat. The day after I ran my 5K race, I ran an 8-mile long run. I ran a total of 100 miles in the month of October! On Halloween day, I ran a race called "Run through Hell on Halloween"--taking place in a city called Hell, MI. It was a 10K, and I finished that first 10K in 56:25.

When I broke my jaw in November 2010, I had to take a break from running for a couple of weeks. When I started running again, my body felt awful. I had lost a lot of strength and stamina. Having two surgeries within a week certainly took its toll on my body!

It was almost like starting over, but once I started, I gained my strength back very quickly. In that way, it was different from starting from scratch. I ran my first half-marathon in May 2011, and my first full marathon in May 2012. (Details and race reports can be found on this page)

In early 2013, I took a class to become an RRCA-certified running coach. I don't take on clients, but I like having the credibility to back me up when responding to questions about running. I am very knowledgable about running and several different training methods. I love to learn everything I can about the subject. I write fairly frequently in my blog about tips and training. I also post free running plans now and then, both for beginners and experienced runners.

While running was extremely difficult in the beginning, it has become a part of me; and I feel very proud to be a part of that "elite" group of people I had thought I'd never be a part of (now knowing that they are just ordinary people, like myself, who strive to achieve goals).



Running Update 6/29/17:

In March 2017, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After struggling for years with what I thought was on/off depression, I was finally put on the correct medication. My mood stabilized, and I felt better than I have for as long as I can remember. I realized that running was not bringing me joy--I was dreading it, and I had already reached the running goals I'd set for myself.

With my newly stabilized mood, I decided to take an indefinite break from running. I don't know if it will be permanent or not, but as of now, I don't miss it at all. I still live an active lifestyle--going for walks with friends, staying busy by doing house/yard work, bike riding with my kids, etc. I feel odd with a blog called "Runs for Cookies" when I don't run anymore, but since that has really become a part of my identity, I decided to leave it as-is.

Oddly enough, I haven't gained any weight since I stopped running; actually, I've lost about 25 pounds, bringing me back to my goal weight! That said, I am very happy with how my life is going right now. I am doing what brings me joy, and that is what matters to me.

May 2017--Hiking in Oregon

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