If you’re a beginner runner, it’s hard to imagine loving running sometimes. It can seem that there are slightly bonkers people who were born loving running, and then everyone else.
With me and running, it certainly wasn’t love at first sight. Running was someone else’s thing, and I didn’t really want much to do with it for the longest time. I needed to be open to letting it in to my life, and it took a while for me to get there.
You Need to Be Ready
Earlier in this series, I wrote about my running first ever 5K race. Spoiler alert: it did not seem to be the foundation of a lifelong relationship. It was a bad date that I assumed I’d never hear from again. I simply wasn’t ready for it at that point in time. If you’re reading this blog post (which you are, because you just read those words), then that’s a good sign that you’re ready to take your relationship with running to the next level.
It took a couple of years for the relationship to change completely, like a bit of a bolt from the blue. Having signed up for a 10K with Mum under duress, she dropped out (to move to Argentina for a bit, as you do) and I shocked the both of us by actually training and going through with the race with a good friend. I finished the 10K in 1 hour and 8 minutes and as soon as I was finished, I signed up for another. I knew I liked the feeling of being out, by myself, blood pumping. I love getting incrementally better at something. For me, running has never been about how it makes my body look, but how it makes it feel.
It was the commitment that was different – I had found my own plan, and followed it from my own steam, not for anyone else. I was in a completely different place in my life, and ready to make that leap. I was wooed by running, I started to find it intriguing, and we finally hit it off.
A Public Commitment Helps
My relationship with running is literally only about six months older than this blog. If anything, I’d say that we were wildly optimistic having a blog named “Veggie Runners” – it was more “One Veggie Runner and One Veggie Run-Walker, Sometimes Sit on A bench and Listen to an Audiobook in Gym Gear-er” – but that’s terrible for SEO and too long for Twitter, so we stuck with the former.
Maybe it was making that public commitment with starting the blog, maybe it was just the right time in my life, but running and I are now going steady. As time has gone on, I have identified more and more as a runner, and describing myself as such publicly has made me feel more like one, in a virtuous circle.
You don’t have to start a blog to make a public commitment, of course. Sign up for a race and run it for a charity and post your fundraising page to your Facebook or Twitter page. Or even go old-school and have a pen and paper sign-up sheet by the tea and coffee at work. Bingo – commitment made. Just describing yourself as a ‘runner’, or even what you’re doing as ‘running’ goes a massive way towards strengthening that relationship.
Recognise The Ups and Downs
Like any relationship worth having, running takes work. You don’t wake up one morning, and have 100% constant commitment. Every run can’t be sunshine and lollipops.
Some of the hardest experiences of my life have been related to running, such as my first marathon where I threw a massive wobbler at 13.1 miles. I will never be allowed to forget it… Or, training for my second marathon, crying by the side of the road with passers-by stopping to help. There have been the hard times that don’t warrant a write-up on the blog, but are still tricky, like when I lose my mojo and get bored of the same running routes and can’t be bothered to get out of bed on a morning to run.
But more powerfully, I’ve had some of the best experiences of my life with running, too. I’ve had the flashy great experiences, like my first sub-4 marathon and my first Olympic distance triathlon. But it’s the un-flashy, ordinary moments that have really made me love running. I travel a lot, and I love experiencing new areas through running and their always-inclusive running clubs. I love my own, informal running club, with a group of girls who originally had nothing in common except we wanted to run on an evening, and now are the best friends I could hope for. Just being by myself on a dirt track with my heart pumping and silence except for my trainers on the ground. Like all relationships, the fancy stuff is nice to have, but it’s the day-to-day experiences that really make it worth sticking with.
Our friend Charlie Watson who writes at The Runner Beans has a great post on her (ongoing) journey to complete all six world marathon majors. Guess what? Running isn’t always easy for her either. It’s a source of great joy, but has been a struggle sometimes too. Elle Linton from Keep it SimpElle started out strong in her relationship – winning school sports day! – but even still has had some ups and downs in her running journey.
If you’re trying to fall in love with running but don’t know where to start, the KiQplan Race For Life App is a great starting off point. We’ll be bringing you a series of posts in conjunction with the app, that helps to build up a 5K or 10K training plan from a base of no running whatsoever.
For more tips on starting out running, take a look at some of our older posts:
Was there a turning point when you fell in love with running? Or are you still trying to make that leap?