This weekend I had the awesome opportunity to meet and chat with some fellow gym members, getting to know a few people I typically only see during a 7am wake up session or in between dead lift sets when I am trying not to pass out.
I thought I had been doing a pretty good job at flying under the radar, but I guess not. And in light of my recent struggles with maintaining my runner identity, these conversations couldn’t have happened at a more motivating time.
You are the runner.
Pretty simple, but powerful words in case I had any doubt about my identity. And then I shared my story~
No, I have not always run, 4 years ago I HATED running.
The story is important, but I have told that story here before. In this post I want to share what worked for me, because after sharing my story this weekend, I know there are people out there that can become runners, too. As a matter of fact, you can become whatever you want to be! Everyone has to start somewhere, and we all start at the beginning. We usually don’t pay attention to someone who is just starting out, because we just want to jump ahead to being good at something.
Not everyone loves to run, and especially, not every run they do.
THIS comment changed the way I perceived running and runners. It gave me permission to struggle and curse, and be okay with the fact that running is hard. When I first started running, running 2 minutes at a time was hard. But eventually, (and it did not take long) I was able to turn 2 minutes into 2 miles.
When you first start out, don’t worry about form or breathing or people looking at you-just put one foot in front of the other and run, but try to run as often as you can.
I like to be perfect, so this was hard, I just wanted to jump ahead to being good at running, so I decided the only way to get better was to run. Every day. You don’t have to run every day, but consistency pays off. The more you run the more efficient your body becomes, even if you don’t have excellent form. Once you build the habit of running you can work on technique.
Speed and effort are relative.
This is important, too, because if you try to run too much, too fast before you have built up stamina and strength, you will get sore and tired and want to give up. Everybody is different. You need to learn what your comfortable pace is and not try to keep up with your friends. For this reason, I mostly run alone. It’s not because I don’t enjoy running with someone, but I don’t enjoy the feeling of trying to keep up with someone or of slowing someone else down.
Walking breaks are okay!
I would not be a runner today if I did not take walking breaks in the beginning of my running training. Much to my coach’s dismay, sometimes I even walk during races. In the end, what really matters is that you take each running experience and learn from it and try to use what you learn another time. Every run is different. You cannot really compare 2 runs. Don’t try to overanalyze it, just run.
The right running shoes do make a difference.
Some people may disagree, but going to a good running store and buying a good pair of running shoes definitely helps when you are just starting out. It may take a few pairs before you figure out what works for you (I’m sorry, I know they are not inexpensive), but a good pair of shoes should last a few hundred miles.
Strength training is a must.
Most people start running to get in shape; you should get in shape BEFORE you start running, and then continue to work at both.
I know so many people who just put on their shoes and started to run, and within weeks they ended up injured. If your body is not strong enough to not only endure the act of running, the stress of running will also make you tired and more prone to injury when you are not running.
You can read the rest of the story here, and the story continues. You learn as you go: consistency and practice make better, aim for progress not perfection.
Let me know if you want to go for a run!
If you are local:
For running shoes check out Runner’s Alley.