I’ve always hated running. Torture. Boring. Painful. All are words that come to mind when I conjure up the image of plodding my feet down the road, one after another, pounding away at my knee cartilage. It begs the question, how is it that I’m signed up for a marathon next May?
I’ve always wanted to like running. In theory, it is a somewhat healthy activity which helps one to be in better physical shape. I say physical shape because it causes either pervasive boredom or its practitioners suffer from a mild form of insanity. In any case, it never stuck. It never felt good. The pervasive runner’s high was always fleeting.
This last summer I decided to give it another go. At first it was to help with climbing. And because I work at a desk all day. And because I want to be able to do crazy activities with my kids as they get older. My initial goal was pathetic. Run a mile a few times a week. Then it was two, then three. None of it was enjoyable.
I liked how it helped my climbing though.
After several months, I started thinking a goal might help. I tend to be goal driven. Perhaps a half marathon in the spring. One Saturday I got uppity and decided to try running further. I ran 8 (extremely slow) miles for the first time in my life. It cost me a sore knee and a warning about injury from a friend. It also cost me a change in goal. If I could run 8 miles now, 13 was achievable. I wanted something that seemed completely unreasonable.
To some, a marathon is a warmup. To me, it is a completely absurd distance to propel oneself using nothing but my lower appendages. But soon I found myself contemplating the goal. Then, as I usually do, I started obsessing.
As I write this, it is Thanksgiving. I’ve been consistently running and building mileage for the last three months. While my weekly mileage is still pathetic compared to many, it is starting to excite me. (What!? Excite!?!?) Somewhere a few months ago the runs went from drudgery to one of the highlights of my day. Not every day…but many days. In that vein, I wanted to share the things I’ve learned so far, and invite anyone who wants to to cheer me on towards my pointless goal.
First, find some motivation. I’ve been blessed by a friend who is excited about running that I have leached onto for advice and enthusiasm. (Here’s hoping I won’t wear out my welcome 🙂 ) Find someone and try to siphon off some of their excitement. You can also find some good reading to help get you out the door.
Second, remember this isn’t high school. You’re not trying to run a mile as fast as you can. Learn to run slow. Don’t do this forever, but do it until the insanity sets in and you forget that running sucks and start to enjoy it.
Third, set a goal. Set a goal after the goal. Obviously I have the marathon in the spring which I’ll hopefully get to. Beyond that I have other ideas….trail marathons, maybe a 50k….other things I’ve always considered insane.
Fourth, get some bluetooth headphones. Wires make everything miserable.
Fifth, find the parts you enjoy. I love the solitude and peace of my runs. With three kids running around, it is a nice break. I love the feeling of not having a bunch of unspent energy at the end of the day. I love exploring new places while running. Find what is awesome for you.
Sixth, cheer me on. Oh, wait… that probably won’t help you, but oh well ;-).