When I first started running, I believed if wasn’t a marathon runner and hadn’t lost 5 lbs on my first day out, then I was a failure. Then what would happen? I’d give up. Then a few weeks later, I’d try again, with the same goals in mind, and give up again. Sound familiar? Why would I expect to be able to run an hour on the first day? That’s kind of a mean expectation, right?
It was only in college that something clicked in my brain: I wanted to be a runner, I knew I could be a runner, but the only way I could do it was if I ran for no other reason than to run.
My first day I could only run 10 minutes, barely a mile, but for the first time, this was not a failure to me. It was a starting point. The next day I ran another 10 minutes. And then the next day. I started to enjoy running because it was a reason to be outside, it was time I could be alone and think, and it reminded me to breathe and move. And each run got longer and runs became something I could turn to, not to fix something I thought was wrong about myself, but to actually feel more like myself.
So I just kept it up and built and built and built. Running is a skill like anything else. You can learn it. It just takes time, work, and patience. Though I now run 6 miles a few times a week, I still dread the first mile before I have my breath and stride together. And some days I can barely get to mile 2 because I’m not focused or my energy is low. It doesn’t mean I’m not capable, it just means that I’m being challenged to be better than I was before, to tune out what’s slowing me down. Running never stops being hard, and that’s actually the greatest thing about it.
PS: music helps. Here’s what I’m running to right now:
“This Head I Hold” —Electric Guest
“Gotta Have It” —Jay-Z
“You” —TV on the Radio
“Midnight City” —M83
“We’re Looking For A lot Of Love” —Hot Chip
“Fast As You Can” —Fiona Apple
“Lonely Boy” —The Black Keys
“Better Version Of Me” —Fiona Apple
“Runaway” —Kanye West