I’ve never been much of runner but in my three months of constant running, I’ve definitely learnt a thing or two.
There are two kinds of people in this world: people who like running and people who don’t. I was in the latter until I forced myself to overcome my dislike for running and complete a half marathon. In the weeks leading up to my first half marathon, I started to realise that I might actually miss my frequent running once race day was all over. Over the course of my running journey, I’ve come to realise some truths or running revelations.
The first step is always the hardest.
Looking back, deciding to take the plunge and just start running was one of the most difficult parts of the journey. That first run that you do will always be the hardest – but you can’t let that discourage you. My first run was a mere 3km and I couldn’t even make it the whole way through without stopping (multiple times) and being short of breath. It’s only going to get better from here the more that you run.
For me it’s so beneficial to have an end goal. Something you can hold yourself accountable to, a deadline even that puts the extra pressure and gives your training a sense of urgency and timeliness. Without a proper finish line, I probably would have bailed from half of those Nike +Run Club sessions – anything to stay out of the sub 10 degree winter nights.
Every run counts.
Whether it’s short or long, pounding the pavement outside or on a treadmill – every run contributes to your overall, endurance and speed. You’re stronger with every run under your belt.
Just like bad days, you can have bad runs.
There were some days where I would feel like I had all the energy and stamina to just keep running and running – but other days where I would reach 1km and already feel tired and out of breath. Realise that not every run is going to be your best run and sometimes you’ll feel like you’re taking a step backwards instead of forwards. Just chalk it up to experience and know that it all helps you progress.
Consistency is key.
Sam said it to me before and I’ll say it again – strive for consistency. Run often, train often. The more you run, the more your body adapts to the motions and that feeling of breaking past your pain barrier – or as some like to call it, runner’s euphoria (I experienced it a few times, including race day – so yes it is definitely a thing). Once you’ve got that routine, it’s much easier to continue training but as soon as you stop, it’s so easy to lose momentum.
It’s not just about long runs.
Going along to NRC sessions has taught me there is much more to running than just running. There’s much to learn about correct running techniques as well as warm up drills – but the weekly Speed Runs prove that even sprinting distances and shorter distance runs can improve your overall pace. It’s also good to mix it up instead of just running at one steady pace all the time.
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only soft people.
The morning of the last long run before the race it was absolutely pouring down with rain and extremely cold. It would have been easy enough to stay toasty in bed but I pushed through knowing it was one of the last chances to get a longer run in. My clothes were soaked through, my hair was damp, my shoes were flooded but it was one of the most memorable and mentally challenging runs I’ve had. It definitely put things into perspective – never after that did I ever complain about it being ‘too cold’ to run.
Running is as much a mental challenge as it is physical and you soon learn to overpower your doubts and tell your body that your legs aren’t going to give in! It’s a tough one to master but you have to clear your mind of can’t and push through the roadblocks. I find that focusing on music or soaking in the scenery is a good way to stay distracted.
If you run you are a runner.
“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” – John Bingham
At the start of my training, I would always preface any answer I gave about running with “… but I’m definitely not a runner” to which I was told “If you run, you are a runner.” One of the things I’ve come to love about running is the community that surrounds it. Unlike some other sports or fitness activities, running is inclusive – and it’s free. You can literally step outside and just start run. I’ve had so much support and encouragement from the pacers and NRC go-ers despite not being considered a fast runner at all. I see achievements, PBs and wins celebrated and congratulated no matter how small and it’s an amazing thing to be a part of.
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