For years, this has been the dialogue between myself, and running.
I don’t do it.
All my memories of running (like being forced to run in gym class for example) were those of unpleasant sloggs along the side of the road, sore legs, short staggered breath and a constant, burning desire to quit, IMMEDIATELY.
I never understood what was so great about running, I never got to the point where I could experience that “runners high” all my long limbed, gazelle-like friends spoke of. In comparison to them I felt like a squat little pug desperately trying (and failing) to keep up.
I proclaimed in defiance “I am not a runner, it’s just not my thing” and that was the story I told myself, and anybody that would listen, for a long time. I really owned that story, as they say. And yet… there was (and still is) a desire to overcome that feeling. To change that story.
So what did I do?
I decided to join a running group: The Vancouver Sun Run In-Training Program, which is a graduated learn-to-run 10k program, set over 13 weeks. What attracted me to the program was the accountability aspect -you pay for the program and are expected to show up every Saturday morning for the required time. I also asked a friend to join with me for added fun and encouragement.
What I hadn’t anticipated about joining the group was that I’d actually LIKE IT. Sure, Saturday mornings isn’t my favourite time to get up and go running, but it always feels worth it after I’m done. I also realized, rather ironically that I prefer going solo; My friend ended up joining the faster group which, staying true to my pug-like nature, wasn’t for me. If I was going to make a crack at this I was going to do it, slow and steady.
Once I was able to follow the program outline independently, I realized I could make it my own. I’ve been enjoying creating new playlists on my Spotify and getting outside to do my “running homework” twice a week. I am now in my 6th week of the training and it’s been going really well. I daresay I actually enjoy doing it!
So, will I drop all my other activities and proudly profess that I AM a runner now? Probably not, lets not get too far ahead of ourselves! What I’ve learned from this little experiment, however is that if I remain patient with myself and commit to the program, I can actually run without agonizing discomfort.
Running has become an excellent cross training tool and a gauge to decide how much/when I need to push myself, or ease off and rest. It’s become a means of spending time outside (rain or shine!) and getting fresh air, taking time for myself, and maybe… for just a few moments, NOT contemplating where my life is going.
TIP: are you a non-runner too? I found it extremely helpful to take that first step by joining a group. After a little self-study (and reading This book ) I’ve embraced the notion that I need a little external help to hold myself accountable (like my running group). It’s not a flaw in my personality, it’s just who I am.