A page from a former runner's diary

Getting back in the runner's saddle is hard.

The first time I ran a mile under seven minutes, I think smiled more intensely than when I see cake. I was wearing trainers instead of running shoes. I had yet to learn how to breathe properly or to keep my feet lower to the ground. Eventually a quick mile turned into five-mile daily runs in the dusk hours no matter the 98-degree humid heat of summer or brisk, cold winter days.

In college, I had friends who popped Vyvanse, Adderall and Xanax like breath mints. I stuck to running. Without much thought and addicted to the runner's high, I could clock 14 miles in a day. Despite the slow burn in my calves and feeling every muscle in my back, it's easy to find solace.

Falling out of the runner's wagon is a hard fall. Getting back on it two years later is a struggle in itself. My eyes widen after a hilly three-mile run felt enough like a personal punishment. It meant I was more out of shape than I had thought and it was going to take awhile hit a stride. Making matters worse, I tripped, skinning my knee and cracking my phone.

Notes from the first week (four slow-paced, three-mile runs):

1. Pacing is important

The 10-mile course might be the goal but it's certainly not a starting point. Considering the last time I ran, picking a shorter distance at slower pace is the best way to ease back into a routine. It might be punch to the ego, but overextending and failing is worse.

2. Increase how much water you drink

The more you sweat the more water you need to drink to replenish your body. If you're not sweating, you definitely need to drink more water. The measly 65 ounces of water wasn't working for me anymore. I added 34 more ounces and coconut water post run for the electrolytes.

3. What I'm eating has to change

The donuts sure sounded good. It tasted great while I was eating it. It felt terrible a short while later. So did the chicken and waffles, pizza and all the other food I had gotten accustomed to eating post-college. Eating healthier is just better fuel for a solid run.

4. Find a route that's best for you

I run faster on a treadmill but I enjoy the experience more outside, preferably a tree-lined trail near water. Plus, it's much harder to cut a run short when you have run back whatever distance you ran initially.