In case you missed it, today is Global Running Day! I’m super excited because I’m running a 5k with a friend tonight and it’s at one of my favorite breweries. Win win: two of my favorite things!
Last year, in honor of this day, I answered some questions about my running habits and how I was planning to celebrate the day, and today… I’m planning on talking about why I love running as much as I do.
I think to really share this, I need to talk about when I used to hate running. Yep, I really did! I remember when I was back in middle school, my friend Steph and I would run the track in gym class and try to sprain our ankles as we went so we could get out of having to run.
Flash forward to the end of my 8th grade year and I was on the chubby side, and decided that running a lot that summer would probably be a good idea. Plus, I was interested in running cross country so thought that it would be a good way for me to lose weight and get ready for the sport.
I ended up losing like 25 pounds over that summer! I ran five miles every day, and I used to track my runs in a journal. I wish that I still had it because I would also write down what I ate and how the run felt. I would either do a 5 mile or 3 mile loop, and I was still hating running quite a bit.
Cross country started to change my mindset about it because I started to learn about the awesome community that surrounds runners… and I actually started to get a little faster! I was the third fastest girl on the team for awhile and *almost* made it to state.
It wasn’t until my last year of college when I really found my passion for it… I think a little bit of it had to do with my roommates being super into running too (I think it’s what helped my random roommate freshman year and I bond, and to this day we are still besties!). I randomly decided to run the Twin Cities Marathon. When I registered, I don’t think I had run longer than maybe 8 or 9 miles so I really had no idea what I was doing. But I did find a super sweet book on Amazon, Four Months to a Four Hour Marathon, and figured that was the way to go.
So it wasn’t that surprising when I finished my first marathon in four hours and a few seconds… talk about a solid training plan! Flash forward to today, and I’m now 24 marathons deep with my first ultra on the calendar.
My love for running has definitely transformed over the years… it went from something that I “had” to do to lose weight, to something that became a core of my social life, to something that gives me sanity, to something that helps me know that I am setting up my future self for a healthy life.
In all the years that I’ve been running (if you count when I first started running cross country, it’s been 18 years — crazy!), I’ve accumulated some advice that I like to give people and I think Global Running Day is appropriate for that! So here you go:
#1 – If you run, you are a runner.
I think this is the hardest thing for people to realize because you go out and see all these amazing people running at incredible paces and if you aren’t there, you somehow feel lesser. But! This is one of the things that I love about running… it doesn’t matter. Just run! Do it for yourself, your health, your whatever… but the true competition is between you and your former self, not the other people who are out there.
#2 – Listen to your body.
This took me a LONG time to realize, and it’s so very simple. I had a lot of tears because of various injuries and even a few DNS for races because of it. But, listen to your body. If something feels off, it’s your body warning you that you are headed down a path towards an injury… better to rest now instead of getting to an injury and being sidelined because of it.
#3 – Don’t force it.
Social media makes it seem like everyone runs and loves running all the time and if you don’t, there’s something wrong with you. Nope, that’s not true. When life was really tough for me last year, I think I maybe ran like 2-3 times over the course of two months. I just didn’t want to. And yes, it was hard for me to realize that this was OK because most people rely on running to get them through a tough spot. I just didn’t. And I knew if I forced it, I was potentially going to lose something that was so important to me. I learned that running will ALWAYS be there. If your mind isn’t into it, there’s a reason for it… give it a break and find something else that will give you the outlet that you need.
#4 – You need to do more than just run.
If you want to get out of the injury cycle, you need to hit the gym and lift weights or do some cross training of some sort. For the longest time, I was like meh I run, that’s good enough. But it’s not… having a strong core and arms makes all the difference in the world (especially if you are fighting to hit a PR at the end of a race). Even if you just do some arm curls and push ups one day a week, it will make a difference.
#5 – The running community is the best.
This is honestly one of my favorite things about running and being a runner… just all the awesome and amazing people that I’ve been able to meet over the years and build friendships with. Some of the closest people in my life, I wouldn’t know them if it weren’t for running. I don’t think there’s anything else like it.
So there you have it, my running story and some thoughts on why running is my favorite. In case you missed it, I do have a giveaway going on for Global Running Day! Go HERE to enter.
What’s your favorite thing about running? How are you celebrating Global Running Day?
What advice would you have for new and experienced runners?
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