If you don't run, chances are you probably hate running. I get it! I spent twenty something years as President of the I f*cking hate running club. 5 marathons later, I still lose my sh*t mid-run (OK, sometimes pre-run) asking myself, "WHY DO I DO THIS!?!?!? THIS IS THE WORST EVER! NO CHEESEBURGER IS WORTH THIS TORTURE!"
Have you ever heard the phrase "even the worst run is better than no run at all" and thought to yourself, "LIES!"? Yeah, of course you have! Because how does that logic add up? Here's a spoiler, it's 100% true. Even the sh*ttiest run is better than not running. And I have had some seriously sh*tty runs. (Like actually sh*tty if you catch my drift).
The trouble lies in getting to a place where running stops being a pain in the ass (both literally and metaphorically) and starts being enjoyable. It seems impossible right? It's not. I'm not Athletic. I hate working out. It took me a good 6 weeks to start to actually smile during a run. But those six weeks flew by and looking back, I wish I would have suck it up and started running sooner.
Thinking about becoming a runner? (Know someone that you want to trick into becoming a runner?) These are the 10 worst parts about becoming a runner --
1. Searing Fire Lungs.
If you love huffing, puffing and feeling like your lungs are on fire, then becoming a runner is for you. Feeling like you can't catch your breath is normal. Just slow down, take walking breaks when you need to (YES! WALKING ISN'T JUST OK, IT'S ENCOURAGED!) and then run when you catch your breath again. Your breath is just playing hard to get.
2. Sucker Punch To Your Pride.
Nothing hurts more than a wounded pride. I can tell you firsthand that it's a little devastating when you can't run around your block. It's a giant healthy serving of humble pie. Try to ignore the runners who make running look effortless. Remember those same runners you're shooting death glares at were once in the same place you. Everyone has to start somewhere.
3. Heavy Lead Legs.
Why do legs feel one thousand pounds heavier the second you start to run? Your legs are going to feel like lead every time you try to run. That goes away with time. (Or maybe you just get used to it...I'm not sure which...)
4. Acid Muscles.
Being sore is like a fine wine, it's an acquired taste. Just anticipate hobbling everywhere you go those first few weeks (or in my case, months). When people ask you why you're "limping", you get scream, "I ran three miles last night." BOOM. Instant #HumbleBrag. (It's a really, really gratifying. Start working on your hair flip and princess wave.)
5. Breaking Up With Your Free Time.
"It's not you Netflix, it's me. I want more out of my free time. I want to brag on Instagram that the marathons I partake in are the real kind, not just Netflix marathons." One of the toughest parts about becoming a runner is adjusting to a new schedule. If it's not routine, it's going to require a lot of effort. Try making and then putting your training schedule somewhere you will see it every day and then run at the same time each day. If you know the last thing you'll want to do after a 10 hour day is go for a run, do it first thing in the morning. If you know you're a serial snooze hitter (RAISES HAND REAL HIGH), maybe morning runs aren't for you.
6. You're Slow As Molasses.
Raise your hands if you're running 10-14 minute miles? Welcome to beginning running! Here are the splits of my very first run that I tracked with RunKeeper. (This is after that first initial week of suffering.) I never thought I'd be able to break a 10 minute mile, but last year I ran a sub 4 hour marathon. (See? Humble bragging! Being a runner is really gratifying.) If it were easy everyone would do it right? (I hate that saying but it's so true.) Don't focus on your pace, focus on the fact that you're doing what everyone else wishes they could do, run. (Secretly everyone who doesn't run wishes they could run. It's science.)
7. Passing On Happy Hours.
If you're training for something in particular, you'll find that alcohol after 6:00pm is no longer your friend. Do runners drink? THEY SURE DO. Do runners drink the night before a long run? Not so much. When porcelain thrones are few and far between, I advise you to stick to 1 drink if you plan on waking up the next morning to run. (Then smash some post running beers. BRUNCH is going to be your new favorite word.)
8. Spending Your Money On Clothes, Shoes and Races.
Is it normal to get an adrenaline high when you spend $75+ to run more than most people drive in a day? Sure is! Once you catch that running bug you'll find yourself trying to find every local half marathon in the next 6 months. You may even find yourself figuring out how you can run a 5K/10K/Half Marathon during that upcoming trip you have planned. (Every vacation can be a runcation if you try hard enough!) Then watch the inevitable pile of yoga pants and running tights pile up. There's nothing wrong with spending all your time in yoga pants. In fact, I encourage it.
9. Feeling Discouraged.
What happens when you're two (hell maybe 4) months in and it doesn't feel like it's gotten any easier? You keep going. You are going to have OK runs and you are going to have lots of tough runs. Getting started is hard! I'm telling you now that it's not going to be easy. But if you stick with it and muster the drive to keep going, you will get faster and stronger. Then one day you'll look back and think, "Holy moly, I did it." And that feeling is probably the best feeling in the world.
You don't have to be athletic or in shape to become a runner! I used to think that in order to be a runner, you had to be born a runner. Yes it's true that some people are in fact born runners but other runners are made. All you need is a pair of shoes, (a good sports bra shout out to moving comfort!), and enough drive to get you through those first few weeks. If you're searching for a way to believe in yourself, start running.
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.