There are certain things you start and when you start these things, you’ve more or less gone into them blind. When you really get into the thick of things, you inevitably learn things that you wish you had known before you started.
I’ve had a lot of experiences like this throughout my time as a runner.
Today I’m going to share with you what I wish someone had told me about running.
1. Running is a love/hate relationship
I can tell you all day long why I love running. However, I can also tell all day long why I hate running.
I remember after Ryan and I ran the inaugural two-course challenge in Disney last November which worked out to be 19.3 miles over two days (I thought that was a lot okay?) I told a friend we had done that and she said, “On purpose? Why?”. She also said someone along the lines of “whenever I run, I tell myself I’m going to stop and then I just stop. I don’t know how you could run that many miles without stopping…I hate running”. It was funny because really when I think about it, I too hate running. However, I love the high you get as a runner, I love the sense of pride and accomplishment you get after a run, and I love how good I feel about myself after I finish a race or just a daily run.
I wish someone had told me how much I would love to hate running and how much I would equally hate to love running.
2. Along the same lines, I wish someone had told me how much I would hate myself and love myself through every single training plan.
Ahh the self-loathing. There’s nothing quite like hating yourself and feeling awful for having a total shit week during marathon training. Alternately, there’s nothing better than feeling like a god damn beast for completing all of your runs for a whole week and not only completing them but absolutely knocking them out of the park.
When your in the thick of training, you will experience this. You will have weeks where you love yourself immensely for being amazing. Other weeks you will hate yourself for slacking off. That’s just how it is.
3. Running is just as much (if not more) of a mental game as it is a physical test.
You can train for hours and hours but if you’re mind isn’t committed on race day, all that training goes to shit. When you run, you have to tell yourself that you’re fine. You have to tell yourself that you can keep going and that you will finish. It’s never your legs or your lungs that are giving out, it’s your brain telling you you want to quit. However, if you tell your mind that you’re going to keep going, more often than not…you do.
So yes, running is an obvious physical feat, but more than anything else, it’s your mind that you have to convince.
4. Running isn’t free
Ok…so up to a certain point, running is free. However, once you start getting into running competitively running can get to be seriously expensive. And let me tell you, running being free is the biggest lie ever, for real. But we all tell ourselves that it’s free or at least cheap. At first, we tell ourselves that all we need is a pair of shoes and the pavement. Then, you run your first race and it’s all over. You get addicted and then you’re racing several times a year and with the travel and the entrance fees…it really adds up. Then you’re going to want a new pair of shoes. Then when you get new shoes, you’ll want some new socks…it’s honestly like a grown-up version of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”…it’s just one thing after another and friends…it’s not free.
5. It takes more practice than you’d expect.
When I first started running, I was so ill prepared for how long it would take me to get “good” at running. In fact…I’m still working on that 😂. I was a fast runner in high school and so when I first started running, I just sort of expected that I would be as fast as I was in high school (set aside the fact that I hadn’t been super active after high school…like what was I thinking?). That’s definitely not how it happened. I was a beginner and that was definitely frustrating. When it comes to running, a relatively basic skill for human beings, it’s frustrating to have to analyze your running skills and change up what you’re doing in order to improve. But, something I’ve learned along the way is to find value in being a beginner, “trust the magic in new beginnings”.
I have no doubt there are more things here than what I’ve mentioned but these are just a few.
Regardless of what these may say, I have an immense love for running. Even if there are things I wish I’d known, even if I had known these things, I wouldn’t go back and change a thing. I’d still be the runner I am today. In fact, I think learning these things along the way have helped me become a better runner and will continue to help me become a better runner.
What are some things you wish you’d known before you started running?