How to Run a 5K in FIGS - Anh

Med school student Anh always wanted to be a runner... and then one day she took the leap. Check her out at @medicalmyanne on Instagram and medicalmyanne on Tumblr. 

A month ago, one of the upperclassmen talked me into running a 5K. I had accidentally told him that I'd always wanted to be a runner, that I was in awe whenever someone said running was their “hobby,” and that I couldn't understand how so many people in the world just casually run marathons on a day-to-day basis.

“So why don’t you do it?”

I thought he was crazy, but I bit the bullet. I registered.

After I signed up, I was so enthusiastic that I printed out my confirmation letter to pin on my bulletin board. I could already picture it: running alongside my peers, crossing the finish line, feeling so proud and full of life. And 5K wasn’t too bad, right? It was only 3.1 miles, I had 30 days to train, and people have done it before. I hopped on the treadmill, feeling peachy and prematurely accomplished.

But then I started running. Oh my gosh, it felt like it lasted for an eternity, but the treadmill only read 0.3 miles. I was so out of breath and I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I had to stop.

Looking at the total distance, I was so disheartened. I was so out of shape that I couldn't even run for five minutes. Suddenly 30 days and 3.1 miles felt like a dream that kept on shuffling further and further away. The oversized t-shirt I was wearing was so heavy and caused me to sweat profusely. My quickly thinning leggings made me feel self-conscious about my lack of ability. I glanced at myself in the mirror as I made my way out of the room, looking and feeling defeated.

Then I discovered interval training. With suggestions from the kind people of Instagram, a few close friends, and heavy research, I realized that running for a long length of time wasn’t practical for a beginner. The following week, I walked for a minute, then ran for a two. I built up my stamina piece by piece and gave myself grace if I felt too exhausted, allowing for my body to rest and my mind to relax. I realized that just because you decide to walk for a minute, it does not change the fact that you are a runner. When you listen to your body, your body will listen to you.

With that training method intact, the next challenge was consistency. Spring semester came with a multitude of block exams, lab practicals, clinic obligations, assessments for our professionalism class, officer elections, student organization events – everything under the sun was suddenly in full swing. It was challenging to find time to pursue the daily 30 minutes of “Treadmill & Me” time, and the guilt that came with not working towards my big goal was difficult.

One of the most important things I learned from one of my classmates, an accomplished marathon runner (yes, full marathons!), was that you don’t have to run every single day. 3-4 short runs throughout the week and one long run on the weekends is enough to track your progress… and to give your knees a break. I couldn’t have felt more relieved realizing I didn’t have to sacrifice my daily activities — or my responsibilities —just to fit in a run.

After one week, I hit my first mile. Week two, another mile, and the small improvements began adding up. Running helped clear my mind when it felt bogged down after several hours of studying. When I was on campus and needed to clear my head, I went for quick jogs around campus (not even in normal people clothes — in SCRUBS!!). I often wore my FIGS to the library while studying, and I was stunned to discover they are as moisture-wicking and flexible as promised. The Kade Cargo pant allowed me as much (if not more) range of movement then my regular running shorts, and the Catarina top tucked in nicely so I wasn’t blown away by the wind.

Wearing clothes that made me feel confident was also a huge boost to motivate myself to run every day. When I wasn’t in scrubs, my FIGS super soft longsleeve underscrub made sure I made no excuses. Out went my old leggings and oversized tees. The practicality of what I wore — my FIGS — paired with doing what I knew would be good for me in the long run (hehe, get it?) made all the difference.

The closer we came to the race, the more passionate I was about training. I couldn’t get enough of the numbers! Although two miles is so small in comparison to those who easily do 26.2, I felt so happy and humbled things were actually clicking. When I came home during the evenings, my FIGS micro-fill super chill vest kept me cozy as I prepared for another quick run. During warm-ups at the gym, I was tucked safely in my FIGS fleece. The day of my race, I wore my FIGS supersoft long sleeve underscrub. The run was right along the Sea Wall, and it kept me warm while still allowing my skin to breathe.

I finished 3.1 miles in less than 35 minutes. Starting this journey with a lot of heart, a lack of experience, and a big love for FIGS with barely 0.3 miles under my belt, I could barely believe I’d done it. I still remember looking at the sun rise, my hair blowing in a thousand directions thanks to the wind off the ocean. Glancing down at the FIGS logo on my hem, I felt so thankful for this experience, and thankful to be here.

I ran my first 5K with FIGS by my side. I can’t wait to keep running through life with them.