I honestly never thought I’d write one of these, but after a good friend of mine tagged me in a link to an article ridiculously called ’25 super smart hacks to make running suck less’ and I wrote back to him saying that I thought it was essentially written for people who hate running, I definitely thought best to put my money where my mouth is.
Being negative does not help (you sort that paradox out for yourself)…
1. Run only when your heart really wants to, no matter what time of day it is or what the weather is like. At first, this’ll probably be hardly ever; eventually, if you come to love it, it’ll be all the time. Trust me. Buy a day planner.
2. Only run because you love it, because you wish to ‘perfect the original art of fluid movement over rugged terrain’. Not because yo want to be fit (any number of excellent exercise programs can do that) or because you want to lose weight (buy a bike!) or because you want to become a better, more attentive person (develop of meditation practice… for crying out loud, get yer butt on the cushion), but only because you think running is awesome. Because it feels wicked, even when it hurts… maybe even especially when it hurts. (As an aside — all of those other things will follow…)
3. Run over rugged terrain most of the time — roads are for cars and the 0.1% of the folks who are going to win races.
4. Race, as Scott Jurek says, ‘not to beat other people but to be with other people’. The community of runners is a weird, hardcore bunch of the finest folks I’ve ever met. Race to hang with them while you eat in your shorts, sweaty and some kind of frigging happy, sharing your healthy obsession.
5. Remember what Kilian Jornet said: the person who snaps the ribbon isn’t necessarily the winner. Every person who achieves what was previously impossible for them, whether that’s a 40 minute 5k or a 100 miler through the mountains, is victorious. One individual is going to cross the finishing line first and everyone else in that race is their competition — most of us have ONE competitor: ourself, the self we used to be.
6. Drink water. Clearly.
7. Repeat after me: walk is not a four letter word.
8. Run with a group: you’ll be amazed how wise and philosophical you all are. You’ll be amazed how normal your weird is.
9. Run alone: you’ll be amazed at how trivial the stresses of your life becomes as your breath finally resumes its place as top priority.
10. Call yourself a runner. Call yourself an athlete. Eat like one, sleep like one, read the things athletes read and talk the talk of a runner. And then congratulate yourself, regularly, for your all-too-human noble pursuit.