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How I Became a Runner - Alma Steyn
Alma joined the RunUphill team last year for our “Learn to Run"clinic. This Spring, she trained hard for the half marathon at the Rocky Mountain Soap Co Women’s Run. On May 16th, Alma ran her own virtual half-marathon in 2 hours and 46 minutes!
Why did you start running?
I have always been intrigued by road and trail running. I have lots of friends who rave about trail running. It is a great activity to get fit, it's challenging but fun and it gets you outside to enjoy our amazing backyard. The running community is also such a supportive and encouraging group! However, I still struggled with feeling too intimidated to get into it. I could come up with a million reasons why I shouldn't do it. I came across an "Intro to Running" course at just the right time, and knew that would be my best opportunity to make this a successful journey. I started that first class very nervous, but I committed to lacing up my runners and I haven't looked back since.
So how did you actually do it?
Once I decided that I was going to give running an actual fighting chance, I followed a plan online to train for a 10km over a 13 week period. Initially the plan was a great motivator and made things easy for me since I didn't have to think about distances, intervals, etc. By the end of the first month, I didn't feel I had improved much and motivating myself to go outside and run was getting harder and harder.
Then in the middle of May, a friend told me that RunUphill was offering an "Intro to Running" course. I signed up before I could come up with an excuse not to. Having a positive and supportive group to run with was all I really needed to become a runner. We started with intervals of 1 min run and 4 min walk and progressed from there every week. On the last week of the course we did a 7km run with only 3 walk breaks!
What was the hardest part about “getting into it”?
Showing up for those first few runs. It was a struggle because it was hard and I felt like I should have been able to do way longer intervals of running. Luckily the team at RunUphill was so supportive and nice that I had to continue showing up each week! With each week I could see improvements and that encouraged me to keep going and keep pushing myself.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting to run?
- Find yourself a group of people that you can run with. Or a learn to run class. It will help keep you accountable. It's much harder to back out of a run when it involves others and the commitment they have put into showing up.
- Just show up. The hardest part is usually putting your shoes on and leaving the house. Get yourself outside, you will never regret going for that run even if it's for 10 or 15 min.
- No one is ever too slow. You run at your own pace. The important thing is that you're getting out there!
So what’s next? Any races planned?
I had done some fun team races with friends in the past, but never a trail running race. The July "First 49" race (at the Nordic Centre) by Rockies Run Collective and Canmore Trail Culture was right at the end of our 8-week course and Gavin had challenged us to enter. I was so nervous and would not have finished the race if it wasn't for friends running with me and encouraging me the whole time. The race was hard but it was also so much fun that it left me excited thinking about the next one! I have since competed in two more "First 49" races and each time there were less start line nerves and more finish line smiles. I guess I can call myself a runner now!
See you on the trails.