How I Went from Hating Running to LOVING Running and How You Can Too!
I am a firm believer that anyone can run. So, okay, there may be a few, slight exceptions to my seemingly exaggerative claim, but I do believe that anyone can run if they really want to. I think that is one of the things I truly adore about running. Yes, to be exceptional and a proficient runner it does take a lot of practice and yes, talent, but to be an “average,” runner, to just run for the health benefits and fun of it, can be achieved by almost anyone.
I used to believe I could never run, let alone, become decent at it or become a run coach. But, here I am, seven years later; training for my first marathon and now a run coach. I don’t say these things to brag, but to show what is possible.
I was that girl that hated the mile at school, dreaded the track, and tried to get out of any sort of running if possible. I didn’t think I could run, let alone enjoy it. I never felt confident in my athletic abilities and felt like I just wasn’t made for running.
However, one summer, I decided to change that. I don’t know if it was the summer 2008 Olympics that inspired me or what, but I decided to chase after my seemingly impossible goal and started to run on my parent’s basement treadmill. I surprised myself an ran a little over a mile with many breaks in between on my first run.
I consistently ran through that summer and when I began to feel a little more confident, took my running outside and started running 1 mile, five days a week with my sister.
This is when I began to fall in love with running. I started seeing progress and I realized, I was having fun. I enjoyed our conversations we had while running and looked forward to racing toward each telephone pole (at each telephone pole we took a break at and talked for a while, haha.)
After running one mile, consistently all summer long, we upped our mileage to two miles and ran that many times together. We, eventually began to run two miles without stopping, except for a place we called the “Sacred Gravel,” <<< because we allowed ourselves to walk there. 😉 We didn’t have fun at all, haha.
Once we were running two miles, consistently and through completely without stopping, we ran our first 5k. That is where I fell in love with the sport. I fell in love with the race atmosphere. I loved being surrounded by people who loved the same thing I loved. I loved racing toward a common goal. I loved cheering other people across the finish line and seeing the joy of others who had accomplished their goals.
As I was reflecting on my running ‘career’ it hasn’t always been perfect, I’ve gone through plateaus, dry patches, burn out, over addiction, and even an eating disorder. But, I’ve also been given so much joy and life through running. I’ve met so many amazing friends through this sport and had so many great times of conversation with my Savior as the miles passed by.
- Do not push yourself to do too much too fast and too soon. As a new runner, it is easy to compare yourself to all of the experienced runners you see on Instagram who run miles on miles every day of the week. BUT you need to remember that as a new runner, building slowly is KEY. It took me all summer long of running just a mile at a time to build a solid base. I definitely could have built faster, but having time to build slowly was helpful for me to learn what running feels like, how my form should look, and how to breathe, before worrying too much about mileage. It is always better to air on the side of building too slow that too fast.
- Find a buddy or accountability. In the beginning, running with my sister helped me fall in love with the sport because we spent the majority of our run talking and laughing. Who doesn’t love to do that? If you get easily bored while running, find someone to run with so you don’t have that problem! And if you don’t have a buddy in the area, see if you can find a local running club or running shoe store. Normally, they will be able to send you in the right direction.
- Embrace the journey. As cliché as this sounds, running is a journey. It takes time, work, some tears, most likely an injury or two, and a whole lot of patience. Becoming a good runner doesn’t happen over night and we (talking to myself over here!) need to not except it to. So, instead of focusing on where you aren’t in your running journey, focus on where you are and how far you’ve come already! Yes, goals are important and needed, but focusing on the now and embracing the journey (the good, the bad, and the ugly!) is all part of it too.
So, runner friend, you can and you will! Remember to embrace the journey, take it slow, and savor the gift of running.
Questions of the Day
- What got you into running?
- Do you like to run alone or with someone?
- What are your FRIDAY plans?!