Running = Punishment. That is what I grew up belieiving. Anytime I screwed up in organized sprots as a kid, the punishment was to run. Get caught stealing second? Run a lap. Drop a pass in practic? Run two laps. And on and on and on. My experiences with running early on were often associated with punishment and that is a hard stigma to overcome.
But, with almost 20 years of running for the sake of running (and roughly 25,00 miles on my knees, hips and ankles) i think it’s safe to say I have overcome. How does this happen? How does someone take a seemingly monotonous, painful form of punishment and turn it into a passion that is part workout and part therapy? The answer is simple: make it fun. Like many things in life, you won’t be good at it at first. I still have trouble many days during the first three, four, five miles of a run. This is the part that is the hardest. Your body hasn’t woken up yet. It still doesn’t know what you’re doing. It is often miles 5-15 that are my best miles during a long run. Crazy but true. Since most people never make it past a 5 mile run, they never get to the “zen” or “runner’s high” that makes it all worth it. Once your body gets over that hump, it is able to go on cruise control and enjoy the ride. This takes practice (like anything else worthwhile) but eventually you will get there. You gradually work up the mileage and essentially “trick” your body into running longer and longer distances. If done properly, you can be training for a 10k, 10 miler, 1/2 marathon or full marathon in a matter of months. One leads to the other leads to the other.
I believe that running is the purest, most primal form of exercise. And like the book says, we were “Born To Run”, not sit on the couch or behind a computer. So, let’s get back to the “fun” I mentioned earlier. How do we make the most efficient, effective form of cardio fun? In my opinion, this is done by getting yourself off the treadmill and onto the roads and trails. By throwing away the watches and GPS systems. We’ve all been there: 30 minutes into a run on the treadmill and , because of all the clocks, mileage counters, pace calculators and calorie info, it seems like 2 hours have passed. Excruciating, painful and super boring. It starts to feel like a job and that’s not gonna turn you into a runner. If you don’t love it, you won’t want to do it forever.
Almost everyone loves the way you feel after a run but very few love the run itself. Once you learn how to love the run, you will never want to stop Throw away the GPS, put on some tunes (or not) and hit the trails ear your house or office. Go out for 10 or 20 minutes. Go out for 5 miles. Just go out! Make it fun. Run through the woods like an animal. Run down the country road or sidewalk like you are five years old again. Think about everything (or nothing). Solve a problem. Sing out loud. Look at the world around you Enjoy the day. Just don’t run every day. In fact, don’t even run two days in a row. I never do. It starts to feel like work and I already have a job. Learn to love the run. Uramachine. Put your body into a position to treat your mind that that pleasure.