In my last post I told you that the “how to get started” question is the one I am asked the most. It is, hands down. In the effort to be completely transparent, I must clarify that this is the case because I don’t consider any version of “are you insane” to be an actual question. That wins the thing most often said to me and is therefore not in the running to win anything else.
The series of conversations usually go something like
~ How do I get started
~ How do I keep going
I absolutely love these questions and conversations. I wish I did a better job answering them. I am just so keenly aware of how personal running is, I try never to say you “just have to” do anything except wake up.
But I was asked again yesterday…and the day before that. And I have promised to give you something. And I will. But know that this is just one woman’s journey. If you have something else that works, do that! (And tell me so I can try it!) If you try something you read here out and don’t like it, that’s fine too. I have tried on strategies from some of the coolest people in the game only to find out we are just practicing a different brand of cool.
I am not you. You are not me. Running any distance at all is a test. We all do what we have to do to get through it in the most body and spirit appreciating ways possible.
Let me highlight that “any distance” part. Sometimes folks get hung up on the distance they do or don’t run. Hell I get hung up on that. Don’t. I have run 20 milers that felt like eating cotton candy and 5ks that felt like they were trying to rip my legs off. Right now as I sit here writing this I am procrastinating like a big dog to keep from running my short training run.
**Update – I did go run…in case you were curious 🙂 **
It is any given day. Just because you felt it yesterday doesn’t mean that you will feel it today. When I use the words “run” and “love” in the same sentence – I mean it. And I am one of those people who put “love” in the verb category – it is not something I feel, it is something I choose to do.
But it isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it is so hard, it doesn’t happen. And in all honesty – 9 times out 10 it is a mental failure, not a physical one.
Let me clarify a few things in that sentence. First there are some times that you really shouldn’t run. I am not a doctor or anything, but I am pretty certain that rest, recovery, and rejuvenation are vital. I am not talking about not running on those days. As I have said – there is a difference being being smart and punking out. You know what that difference is.
Second – I did use the word failure and I meant it. If I intend to do something, am capable of doing that thing, and choose not to do that thing in a way that I feel guilty about later – that is, in my book, a failure, You may call it whatever you like. To me, that’s about as close to textbook failure as a person can get.
So here are a few of the things that work for me more often than they don’t…
I tell people about my insanity. Do my facebook posts seem obnoxious to you? Does the fact that I blog about this stuff seem self indulgent? Do you know that when I am in a room the topic of running will probably come up? Yeah, I know all that stuff too. When I am thinking about bagging a run, skipping it all together, or otherwise under performing, I know you will see me.
It is my fishbowl accountability. I hate the punk out. It makes my soul hurt. I am not public about all this stuff simply because I am proud and seek accolades. I do it because I am scared and have the tendency to be a lazy cow. I do it to keep my laurels from getting comfortable. I know there are folks either making better choices because of my story or poised ready for me to look stupid. I plan on being a serious win for one and a huge waste of time for the other.
You need to know why you do it. You need to know what makes you want to what it is you are doing. And don’t let others feel self conscious about your why. I have some who say they run because others can’t, to raise money, to save humanity. Others run for beer, chocolate, and chicks. Hey man, whatever. This is your race. Just know what it is.
Run with a Friend
Long runs have become an incredible time of bonding with friends. It is also a great way to pass the time and learn new techniques. In some places, it is also way safer. Buddy running or group running can seriously energize an otherwise halfhearted run.
Yeah, I know what I just said. But sometimes, spending 4 to 6 hours with another person is more painful than the run itself. There is a lot of mental stability that comes with spending that time with yourself. It is also quite possible it will happen in a race. You need to know how to deal on your own just in case the need ever arises.
This has been an amazing technique for me. I have Audible on my phone and some really great books. While I hardly ever have time to sit down and flip pages, you can cover a ton of chapters during a multi-hour run. Podcasts work really great too!
God and I have the most wonderful conversations on my runs. It has been some of the most powerful prayer moments that I can remember. I have found apps to put The Bible, The Liturgy of the Hours, and The Rosary on my phone. Talking to the Creator, using the body He created in the midst of His creation…just awesome.
This is still a work in progress for most people I know so I would love to get your feedback on it.