Despite some occasional flurries, spring is finally here. Sunshine and warming temperatures are on their way to Rockland County. It’s the time of year when many individuals are motivated to wake up and go outside for a run.

For some people, seeing the light is not so easy. Several factors, whether they are time constraints or health issues, limit an individual’s ability to be active. Motivation takes a lot of personal drive and discipline. Sometimes, an individual needs to hit rock bottom or be encouraged by others to get active and stay active.

As our spring races approach, we are launching our “Members on the Run” blog series. Over the next four weeks, we will share stories from our members about how they overcame unique struggles to earn the title of “runner.” We hope their stories fuel strength in those who may be experiencing similar challenges. We hope their stories show it is possible for anyone to start running and witness the benefits of it.

Our second member story comes from Angela Hanson, who finds little victories with each step she takes.

Angela Hanson

Angela Hanson

Age: 33

What prompted you to start running?
Laziness. I noticed that I got more out of a 30-minute run on the treadmill than a 30-minutes workout on the elliptical machine. I figured if I ran, I wouldn’t have to workout for as long to get the same results. Once I started running five miles or more, I figured I couldn’t use that reason anymore.

How did you start running?
I participated in a Couch to 5K program. It took me longer than the recommend schedule; I didn’t always feel ready to move to the next stage. But, it was invaluable for slowly building up my stamina and giving me an idea of how to pace myself.

Describe your regular workout routine.
This winter I would run two semi-long runs (or one semi-long run and one speed run) during the week and one long run on the weekends, with strength, cross-training or rest days on the other days. Sometimes my work schedule interrupts my planned routine, but as long as I get back to it as soon as possible I don’t feel setback.

What was the biggest hurdle to running and how did you get over it?
It was partly psychological; when you haven’t run much, even a couple of miles feel like forever. I started slow and reminded myself of how good I felt after a run on the hard days. Joining Rockland Road Runners was also really helpful; the club is basically like a support group! The physical side was hard too, but again, slowly building up my endurance helped. I didn’t try to do too much too soon.

What is the most rewarding part of your running life?
Steadily building up speed and mileage is great because it gives you a lot of little victories. It’s really cool to look at a race advertisement and think, “Hey, I can do that!”

What advice would you give to a beginner or someone just starting out?
Use a program or schedule that works for you, not what works for everyone else. Couch to 5K is good, but there are other ones too. Also, try not to listen to non-runners if they talk about how they could never do a distance run; that will just psych you out. And most importantly, get good running shoes if you can. Switching from a pair of sneakers I wore during my daily routine to a pair I got from a dedicated running store made a huge difference in how I felt physically.

What are your favorite motivational quotes or ways to motivate yourself?
The free food at the end of a race!

What is your favorite piece of gear?
A really good sports bra. It’s harder to find than you may think.

What is your long-term goal?
Run a marathon! I’m working on that and will hopefully accomplish that this year.