Confessions of a Reluctant Runner

Confession: I’m a runner who doesn’t LOVE running.  Can you believe that?  I hate to say it, but it’s TRUE.  You always hear runners touting how much they LOVE to run, that it’s their favorite form of exercise and that they could run for days (Boooo!  Who are these people?).  I actually have a strong dislike for running.  On an average week of 4-5 runs, I can count on one finger how many were actually good runs; where I felt strong the entire time and pushed myself.  The rest were most likely painful and so-so.  But Alayne, “IF you hate running so much, why the heck do you do it?”  I’ll tell you why, it keeps me SANE.

I know, I know…It doesn’t make sense.  While I hate the act of running, the runner’s high is real, and that’s what I CRAVE: the sanity that comes with running.  It doesn’t matter if you’re an amazing runner who kicks a$$ and takes names, or if you’re like me, praying that you make it through your 3 miler without falling on your face or getting lapped by a walker.  The outcome is the same:  ENDORPHINES!  YAY!

My journey to becoming a runner has been no easy feat (remember that time I told you I am extremely lazy?) and it’s been an on again, off again relationship.  It’s taken me years to train my body to actually run and not look ridiculous doing it (debatable!).  How, you ask?  3 things have been critical in my journey;

  1. Find a running buddy (one who is slightly more motivated than you). 🙂 I really started to get into running when my friend Sam asked if I wanted to start running with her in Baltimore. Our first couple of runs together were ROUGH.  She even told me that early on she questioned why I even wanted to do it, because it was so clear that I HATED running.  I laugh about that now, but it’s so true.  Having a partner to keep you accountable is KEY.  If my friend is going and I’ve committed to it, I’m going too, even if it sucks.
  2. Give yourself a BIG goal. Prior to 2007, I had never run over 3.1 miles (aka a 5K). That year, I signed up for something I NEVER thought I would do: a HALF MARATHON.  That was a huge stretch goal for me, but I think I just needed to prove to myself that I was capable of doing it.  That my body could actually run 13.1 miles and I wouldn’t die.  Sam and I (accountability partner, FTW) trained and ran the entire race together and had a blast doing it!  Since then, we’ve run 2 more together (while living in different states) and I ran one this spring with my girl, Katie.  Having that accountability partner is a key part of my motivation, so I always make sure I have a partner in crime.  I’ve now made it a goal to run 2 half marathons/year and I would love to do a full marathon by the time I’m 40 (4 years!).  I’m having a harder time wrapping my head around that goal, but I have faith that I can accomplish it.
  3. Take it one day at a time. As I mentioned above, only 20% of my runs are actually GREAT runs, the rest are kind of a struggle, but I’ve learned that I can’t stop running because of one (or four) shitty run(s). Each run is going to be different, one day it’s a mental battle, the next is a physical, but each one is preparing me to reach that goal.  If I don’t train my brain during a 3 mile run, how can I expect to have the mental focus that I need to run 13.1?  So, I take each run as it comes.  While it may be a win physically (god am I so, so slow), maybe I pushed through a mental wall, or fixed a breathing issue.  Regardless of the quality of run, there is always a win to celebrate.

So there you have it: I’m a runner who kind of hates the act of running, but would probably be a crazy person, glued to the couch, if I didn’t motivate myself to get out there and give it my best.  Running keeps my mind and my a$$ in shape, and that my friends, makes it ALL worth it.  #winning

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