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Running three to four days a week takes much more of a commitment than it may seem. It’s more mental than physical. I have found that to be true with the ladies I am running with too.

It doesn’t matter which of the ladies I am with on any given day, many of the ladies doubt their level. While I am not the fastest of the group, I have become more confident in the things that keep me going. Here they are:

1. Start small and don’t get discouraged. This is my #1 tip for a reason – You have to start somewhere. One of my problems used to be that I wanted to run more, so when i couldn’t automatically do it, I would get frustrated.

So, when I decided to take make the commitment, I told myself that it wasn’t going to come easily right off the bat. Actually, there are still days that I run for a few minutes, then I walk and start back up again.

As a basic rule, aim for adding 10 percent more distance to your long runs. Of course, however, this is more about how your body feels than getting preoccupied with a rule. For example, if you do one mile, you can probably do more than 1.1 miles next week. Just don’t try to do six!

2. Find a running buddy – Or don’t. I’m sure that sounds thoroughly confusing, but the thing is: Some people are better to run with than others. If you find a person or group with whom you feel comfortable running with, then this can be a very useful thing on many different levels.

I have found that there are advantages of having runners of all levels. There are times that I have looked at the runners who are faster as inspiration of those I want to catch during a run. But at times, it is hard because then there is no one to run with. So, it defeats the purpose. However, if you find the right person, you can fall into a comfortable pace and spend the runs chatting (or not, depending on how fast you decide to go).

Ultimately, you have to decide what’s best for you.

3. Cross train. I know there is an importance. I am working harder to do something other than running like ellipticalling, strength training, circuit training, cardio in some class.

4. Know the importance of rest days. Taking a full day of rest is really important. Allowing the body to rest, I am able to work harder, longer and with more strength.

I must admit that throughout the week I am kind of impatient with stretching – I do a little, but then get distracted. Although it would be best to have a good stretch session after each workout, I really take advantage of my rest day by doing some good, slow stretches.

5. Set a goal. When I first began long distance running, my goal was to complete the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego half marathon. When I achieved that, I knew I could do anything. I achieved this with a lot of trepidation.

I currently have a few goals including finding a comfortable pace that will allow me to run a full half marathon without walking and completing a full marathon in 2012.

My experiences will most definitely be different from the experiences of others, that is why it is most important to get out there and see what your body can do.

Questions: Do you consider yourself a runner? What’s the biggest physical feat you ever set out to accomplish?

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