Tips for becoming a runner, from a former non-runner
In news that makes my soul very happy, my mom has started running! And so have two of my very favorite friends who are also baby mamas (thus making the accomplishment of running even more amazing since they are raising children at the same time). Now, I realize that running isn't for everyone. But it has done such wonders for my life that I feel like I want to convince everyone who ever lived to become a runner. Having trouble sleeping? Try running. Want to lose weight? Try running. Feeling sad about life? Try running. Need to feel powerful or motivated? Try running. Need some alone time? Try going for a run.
Now, I realize this is obnoxious, so I keep it to myself. In fact, I almost never talk about running unless someone brings it up first. (But if they do, I usually can't shut up about it.) I remember exactly how it felt to be a non-runner, and see people I knew going for an effortless three mile run in the morning. They were lean and muscular and also very zen about the world. And they made it look so easy! I was an unhealthy, slightly sedentary college student, with my longest daily exercise being a 15 minute bike ride to campus. Running even one mile was like torture.
But fast forward to today, and I have done one marathon (whoa), quite a few half marathons, and lots of little races. I also run three miles a day regularly. As a result, I feel happier, healthier, better at sleeping, better at eating, better at life in general. And I want everyone to have this feeling! But it's a huge uphill climb to go from being a non-runner to a runner.
(As a side note, the word "runner" is loaded and in my head people take it way too seriously. I think you're a runner if you sometimes choose to go for a run. Or when you decide you want to be a runner. But it took me a long time to be comfortable calling myself that.)
As a result of my unrealistic desire to turn everyone into a runner, I've decided to share some tips about what helps me keep running. While I'm no expert, I've been running for seven years now, which, at the age of 29, is 25% of my life. Thus, I've accumulated a few ideas for how to go from running-is-miserable-torture to running-is-freedom.
These tips are in no particular order of helpfulness, and may not work for everyone. But they work for me!
Tip #1: Read inspirational stuff on the internet.
Blogs help motivate me to do lots of things. I have a ridiculously long blogroll that I read each week. And while reading about running doesn't make you actually go out and do it, I find that it helps me when I'm wavering between "I am really exhausted and would much rather lay around watching Game of Thrones" and "Maybe I should just get up and go for a run." Fortunately there are so many inspirational things written about running on the interwebs! Here a just a few of my favorites:
- Shut Up & Run. This woman is hilarious, and has so many good running tips, particularly for new runners.
- Run to the Finish. I don't read this one, but I see it referenced a lot.
- Unbrave Girl. Another hilarious writer, who does hiking and running adventures on her own.
- Zen Habits. He is a runner, and also extremely healthy, which is motivational. But he also posts a lot about forming new habits and sticking to your commitment.
- A Life Less Bullshit. She is a runner and also life-coach type of person.
- Daily Adventures: Reflections on Running & Life in the Mountains. I want to run in the mountains.
- Run More Talk Less.
- Racing Through My Life.
- The Smart Way to Stick to Habits.
- You Don't Have to Be Excited to Stay Committed. For those days when you just don't feel like running.
- This series on why there should be no excuses not to run.