So, the first key is to start slowly, incrementally and avoid over-exuberance, avoid being driven by your ego. Think orchard growing, not fast food. Think lifetime of development and growth. Think joy.
It’s been well over 45 years since I first tried cross-country running in high school. It was an inglorious experiment as I quickly succumbed to a badly abscessed toe and extreme pain in my knee. I can still vividly recall the awful pain when Dr. Ortega lanced and cleaned my swollen and black middle toe. The knee pain, I found out years later, was a torn cartilage which had to be repaired surgically.
The abscessed toe resulted from too-small shoes – it was decades later that I learned about having room for my toes to “play the piano” inside the shoe box. The torn cartilage could have been from slamming into a car at 40 mph on a motorcycle. (I’m still surprised I survived that one.) Whatever the cause, running with torn parts and with no understanding of proper mechanics, core training, and general strength conditioning pretty much guaranteed a short high school running career.
I have gotten over the lack of guidance I received during those early years. Either the coaches didn’t know what to do or they just didn’t care. Whatever. We learn and move ahead.
Now, thanks to the entry of a mutt with ADHD into my life I’m back logging miles and still learning from what went wrong back then.
I could not ask for a better running partner! He is always ready to go regardless of the time of day or the weather. He is always ready to go farther and faster than me but always OK with staying at my side, regardless of the pace. (He would like to chase the local kids, cats, and dogs, but we somehow manage to keep that impulse under control.) Most importantly, he is simply happy to go. Together, we’re just two guys who love to move and explore and to do it with no other reason or justification.
We don’t run to get healthy or to win. We do it because it gives us joy!