1. Runners don’t judge.
All runners have respect for other runners, regardless of ability. We all remember a time when jogging for a consecutive mile seemed so daunting. We all remember the roadblocks we have hit in our running careers. I don’t judge anyone I see walking, jogging or running down the street, and I know that they are not judging me.
However, I can’t lie… in the beginning, I was very concerned about being judged. My first run down a popular bikeway was a little intimidating. Everyone was biking, sprinting or speed-walking past me as I began to step on the path. But once I started moving and looking at the faces of the people around me, I noticed that everyone had this look of determination, struggle and even satisfaction on their faces.
Like my yoga instructor said the other day, “It’s rewarding, motivating and humbling to see the people around you struggle in their practice as you struggle through yours.”
We are all in this “being active” thing together. Don’t let nerves and self-consciousness get to you.
2. It hurts.
A friend told me once that she is addicted to the pain of running. It’s like how people are addicted to the pain of getting tattoos or addicted the heart ache that comes with watching your favorite tear-jerker. But you can’t stop getting tattoos, you can’t stop watching the movie even though you know how sad it is when the main character dies and you can’t stop running because, for some crazy reason, the pain feels so good.
Running, for me, hurts in a number of ways. It’s a physical and mental struggle as I fight with my legs to push through and argue with my mind, convincing myself that I can reach my goal. Then when I finally reach that goal the pain was worth it — it was rewarding. Bringing us to…
Running is one of those activities that has no end goal — in fact, there is no end. Your accomplishments are measured on goals you set yourself… no one sets them for you. In the beginning, those goals are small. I started with, “Run a consecutive mile.” After reaching that goal I moved onto, “Run for 20 minutes without stopping.” My current goal is, “RACE!”
I have dabbled with training for a 10k or half-marathon, but truth is, it is more realistic to start with couple small races before I tackle the big guns. I am hoping to make it out to Amherst for the UMass Revolution Run Homecoming 5K. If that doesn’t work out for some reason, there are 5Ks every weekend in my area. In December, I am participating in the Somerville Jingle Bell Run – yes, my friends and I will most likely be dressed as elves. Move over, Santa.
4. It clears your head.
My best and most successful runs are the ones that I have to force myself to go on… the ones where I am stressed and I know that I need it… the runs when I am contemplating just cuddling up with a movie and some ice cream.
While running can be a social activity, it is also an opportunity for you to be alone in your own head. My mind is often racing as I pound the pavement, thinking about one million things at once. Then, before I know it, my run is over and my mind is clear and at peace. It’s like magic.
5. You can run any time, any where, in any amount of time.
You can always run, no matter where you are. You don’t need to renew your gym membership to run. You don’t need to set aside an hour of your day to spend on a cardio machine to run. Running is an activity that you can fit anywhere into your day. Whether you have 20 minutes or a few hours, getting your heart pumping for any amount of time does your body and mind wonders.
For example, the other day I only had 30 minutes to get in a quick workout after work. After jogging for 15 minutes, I felt exponentially better than I did after wrapping up work — that’s all it took. I also use running as an excuse to explore (as long as I have my iPhone with me to direct me home afterwards). With that said, I have come across some beautiful discoveries.
Stay healthy, happy and go run.