Mindy Kayling, The New York Times . . . and ME! (a Venn Diagram!!!)

Q: What is the overlap in a Venn Diagram that includes Mindy Kayling, The New York Times and Eevin Hartsough?

A: This week, at least, it's running! (See? I drew it for you!)

Here's the story:
A little over a month ago, I was at my wit's end fitness-wise. I hadn't been able to find time to exercise regularly since shortly before my son was born two years ago; I'd had a little baby and then a sick mom to take care of. But I was also feeling more and more icky in my skin, not to mention that, without exercise, maintaining my weight was feeling extra hard.

Just before my mom got sick back in May 2013, I'd done some training with a running coach (I'd won some sessions at the Neo-Futurists' benefit auction) so, even though I'm a life-long terrible runner, I knew I could do it.

And then I started thinking about Mindy Kayling who has been pretty public about being a slow runner. The more I tried to figure out when and how I could fit some exercise into my life, the more Mindy's slow running came to mind.

So I started running on weekday mornings. I only run for about half an hour (more on this below) so the time commitment is low and I can get it done before I walk the dogs and take over parenting duties from my husband (who usually gets our boy in the mornings). I've been so pleased with how I've felt - even though I don't run much and I certainly don't run fast. Still, I wondered how much good my little runs could be doing me. BUT THEN . . .

The New York Times published an article that says that running even just five or ten minutes a day can have HUGE positive impacts on your health. What?! I'm pretty psyched.

Here are my tips for running success (especially if you, like me, are not a natural runner):

  • Listen to awesome music. Whatever's awesome to you. But take note: music you like for exercise may be completely different from the music you like during the rest of your life. I started with Girl Talk's All Day which seems pretty no-fail to me but enjoy finding your thing.
  • Use an interval timer. I don't run half an hour straight. I run four six or seven minute intervals (depending on the day - I'm trying to work my way up) with one minute of walking in between. It amounts to 24-28 minutes but I don't run out of steam because the short walks let me recover enough to keep going. I have a free app called Simple Interval Timer that I run on my phone (which, conveniently, also plays my music).
  • Distract your brain. Mindy does this too! She likes to imagine dramatic situations that compel her to run. I like to think about different writing projects - I fantasize and brainstorm - and I have a lot of imaginary run-ins with people (celebrities and not) who I'd LIKE to talk to but don't have the opportunity. Once I'm not focused on the run itself, it's easy to keep going.
  • Have a helpful mantra or attitude. Mine is: "It doesn't have to feel good, you just have to do it." *shrug* Works for me.

Do you run? What are your tips for success? Are you thinking of trying running? Tell us in the comments!