I was chatting with a friend recently about her marathon training plan. It’s her first and she’s very excited and wholly committed. But at one point she said, ‘Hmm, but I’ll have to take a week off over the holidays because I’m going to France.’
Mon dieu, I thought, don’t have the ground in France?! Does everyone float around in mid-air with nothing for their trainers to connect to? Now my French is not totalement terrible (I said that with a French accent) and I know perfectly well that they do have la terre, les trottoirs, les sentiers etc. That is to say, it’s perfectly possible to run in France, even if you are on holiday.
I think what we encountered here was a transitional point in the journey to thinking like a runner. We’ve all been there. You run now and again, you might even train for a race but you don’t think of yourself as a runner. Indeed, sometimes at first you’re a bit embarrassed to even consider it. ‘Oh, I’ve only ran a couple of 10Ks’, you might say, as if that was no bigger deal than running for a bus. It is a big deal, though; you got off your backside and put the effort in. Don’t be shy of celebrating it.
There comes a shift in your attitude at some point though. Thinking like a runner creeps up on you unawares. There’s no great lightning bolt, no major epiphany. You just know you’re thinking like a runner when the following things start to happen:
– You find that you like reading running magazines, websites and blogs.
– You sign up for races for fun.
– No matter how much you try to resist, you start to love lyrca.
– Your hallway is littered with sweaty, muddy trainers (Non-runners note: it is against the natural laws of the universe for a runner to only own one pair of trainers at a time).
– You do a lot of laundry. Like, a lot.
– It seems like a hassle to put ‘proper’ clothes on because you know you’ll be running at some point during the day.
– Even ‘bad’ running days – when you don’t go as far, as fast or have as much fun as you would have liked – are good days.
– You’re always glad you went for a run even on days you didn’t feel like it.
– You get evangelical and can’t help telling your friends, loved ones, colleagues and strangers at the bus stop that they really, really should try it, they’d love running, they totally would etc.
– You see holidays and business trips as chances to find new and exciting places to run.
– Given all of the above, you always, always pack your running gear!!
I saw my friend the other day, btw, and am delighted to report that she is now taking her running gear to France. Or, in other words, she’s thinking like a runner. Are you?