A couple of weeks ago, Jane (who leaves the best comments ever on my blog, I live for them) asked me if I could write a post about how I got over my fear of running.
After thinking about it for a bit, I decided this would be a good topic for me to cover because I still do not looooove running, but I used to really, really hate it.
I’m still a novice runner, and I’m not knowledgeable on increasing your speed or distance, but I’m not afraid of running anymore. I have now run three 5k’s and hope to complete a 10k in the spring. I never, ever thought I would say that.
None of my close friends are serious runners, and I feel like a lot of them feel the same way as I did about running…which makes me think that many people feel the same way as I did about running: hateful and afraid.
So here is my running story, followed by what I do to help myself not hate it. Kind of serious talk, so I’m calling on Wayne’s World, one of my very favourite movies, to help balance that out.
I avoided running as much as possible all throughout elementary school and high school. I would run if I had to while playing sports, and of course if someone was chasing me in manhunt (I would run for my life, and into fences), but I remember dreading events like the Terry Fox Run and gym-class running.
I wasn’t terrible at running, I just hated it. I told myself that I was just not a runner and was never going to be a runner.
I couldn’t imagine that anyone ran because they actually liked it. I had no idea why people would want to run track, and I didn’t think people who ran marathons were real people. I don’t really know how else to explain that, so hopefully I am making sense.
When I first started going to the gym, I dabbled a little bit on the treadmill. But I continued to hate it. I only did it for exercise purposes, and watched the time and calorie count the whole time.
But I wanted desperately to like it! When I heard about people running, or saw runners while I was driving, I was jealous of them!
I can remember one day in my early 20s I decided that I was going to try to like running, so I laced up my sneaks one morning before class and hit the pavement. I was back home within 10 minutes. I barely gave it a shot. These times of “I’m going to be a runner today!” and then failing continued for a few years.
But within the last couple of years, my thoughts on running have been turning around. I think the real running turning point for me was when I discovered running blogs.
I saw real, regular people who were out running all the time and they actually liked it. I saw girls that I could relate to, just regular people like me, running marathons!
My attitude about running started to change. Maybe running wasn’t evil. I decided to try again, for real this time.
I started the Couch to 5k program, and I loved that it really eased me into running. Before that program I could barely run steadily for a couple of minutes without thinking I was dying, and all of a sudden I could run for 20 minutes without stopping?
It was so motivating to see my progress, and I felt like I could notice progress quickly, which is always helpful.
I also loved how I felt after I ran – so good about myself, like I accomplished something that day even if I just laid around and did nothing for the rest of it. I started making myself just get out there and run, run through the hate. It didn’t matter how fast I was going, or how far I was going, as long as I was out there doing it.
My goal for my first 5k race was just to run without stopping, and I did it, and I ran it with a time of 32 minutes! And I actually had fun! I was so proud of myself afterwards, because I did it on my own. I never thought I would be a runner, and suddenly I was! In my next 5k, I ran it in under 30 minutes, which is actually a decent time. I wasn’t even aspiring for that kind of time because I didn’t think it would have been possible for me. It was a motivating little surprise and I was pumped.
I don’t know that I will ever run a marathon. That is a lot of running and I still don’t love it. It isn’t something I am currently aspiring for. I run mostly because it is a way for me to be active and feel good about myself. It makes me feel healthy and strong. And obviously I like how it makes my body look.
I have also discovered what great “me” time it is. I do not have to worry about anything while I am running. I can just zone out.
I am convinced that running is so much more mental than physical. I didn’t run because of my mental barriers, not my physical ones. I was able to run, I just didn’t want to. As soon as I started running I would just be thinking “I hate this. This sucks. Why am I doing this to myself. I can’t go on.”
I was talking myself out of it before I even got into it. But now I make a point to talk myself into it.
So from someone who used to hate running, here are some tips on how to not hate it:
Don’t worry about what you look like.
One of the biggest reasons I didn’t want to run was because I assumed I looked ridiculous. I figured everyone in their car who drove by me was pointing and laughing at my silly attempt at running.
I didn’t really know what shoes to wear, or what clothes I should be wearing. I was so self-conscious of how I looked and if I was doing it right.
I didn’t know what I was doing, and I felt like every other runner did.
It also didn’t help that I have quite large nungas that were not properly strapped in (see this post on sports bras if you have that problem), so I was self-concious about that as well. I hated getting any sort of attention when I was running.
I’m not sure how I got over this, but now I don’t care. If people want to look at me, fine. If I get honked at or yelled at, I turn my music up and ignore it. Why would I care about what strangers in their cars are thinking about me? I am doing something to better my health. If I look ridiculous, that’s cool, snark on it if you like.
But, more likely, no one is looking at you. When I look at a runner on the side of the road, I usually envy them more than notice how fast they’re going or what they’re wearing (unless it’s nice and I want it).
Make a playlist that will pump you up.
This is huge for motivating me. I am always making new playlists and including my favourite songs of the moment. I also try not to listen to those songs at any time other than when I am running. This makes me excited to run because I’m excited to listen to those songs.
(You can check out my playlists here, and I gotta update that page soon as I have some new ones)
Or you could listen to an audio book! I haven’t done this yet, but I could see it getting me excited about running.
Set goals for yourself.
I will admit, I’m not a big goal-setter. But for running it really helps to motivate me, especially when I was just starting out. I felt awesome every time I made a time or distance goal I had set for myself. Achieving even mini goals made me want to keep on doing it.
Get new running garb.
Whenever I get anything new I want to wear it immediately. When I bought new clothes for running, I wanted to get out there and run just so I could wear them.
Track your progress.
I immediately got the RunKeeper app for my iPhone, so I could track my speed and distance. Though I wasn’t competitive about running, I still liked to know how fast and how far I was going. I also liked to save that information and compare it to my next runs, and this gave me little goals.
You do not have to run fast.
You don’t even have to run well! Just like anything, you just have to keep at it. Even if you are moving at a pace that is slightly more than a walk, it’s still something. The more you do it, the better you will get. Just get out there!
And read running blogs!
That’s probably what did it for me. And since I have started blogging about running, several of my friends decided to take up running as well. My motivation motivated my friends, which has now motivated me even more (and I have running buddies!)
It is just a big cycle of inspiration.
Am I missing any good tips?
And can anyone tell me how to not hate the treadmill?!