I call myself a runner. It’s part of who I am, and if I were to need to describe myself in a few words, I’d be sure to put running on the short list. That wasn’t always the case though. Years ago I was not a runner. Oh I went running, sometimes a lot, sometimes not so much, sometimes a long way and sometimes just for a short jaunt, but there was something different about it and about me. So what is it that changed. What was the switch that got flicked to turn me from regular joe into Joe the Runner. If you ask me I don’t think that there was one.
When I began, as is the case with many, I ran to exercise. I ran because I knew it was good for me and I wanted the benefits of running. I read articles about running online and I did research on the best time to run, the best shoes to wear and even the right music to listen too. I did so many things that I no longer do that you might wonder if I got things mixed up. The answer is no, there is no mix-up, even when I seemed most outwardly dedicated and informed, when running was the topic of conversation most of the time (usually because I brought it up) I don’t think I was really a runner, maybe that was the first step and maybe I thought at the time that it was the case but looking back I would disagree with that young whippersnapper who had all the facts.
The truth was that most of the time I didn’t even look forward to a run very much, sometimes I dreaded going out and sometimes I even skipped a run in favor of a couch and the TV, though I kept going back out and I think ultimately that is what led to my self awarded title: Persistence. As time went on running just became part of my life, part of the routine of the day not something I had to schedule and plan for but just something I did. Whereas in the early days I might have eaten half a banana and a protein shake before my run I no longer worry about the “scientifically perfect formula” for what to eat but I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I’m not worried about looking the part because I know that I’m living the role, living the life of someone who runs. So you might ask what does a runner wear? Well a runner wears whatever I wear, because I’m a runner, and I don’t need flashy shoes or special shorts to prove that to the world, maybe that’s what I’ll wear because I like it or maybe not, its not what matters.
So what about running to get/stay healthy, I must need to plan out my mileage for the week and make sure not to do 2 long, hard runs back to back right? That’s a negative. That’s a short term mindset of someone who has a goal to get healthy from running and then stop once they reach their goal. The mindset of a runner is to go out there and just let loose on the pavement. There is no hidden agenda, there is no ulterior motive and there is no end goal, there is just going and doing it because it’s what you do. And guess what? When you run just because you get healthy, you get fit, it just naturally happens. It’s just a whole lifestyle change and it sort of irons things out, even if you eat a gallon of ice cream one day that is just a drop in the bucket compared the the miles you are putting down each day. It all just sort of smooths out over time.
So how do you become a runner? Well you’ve got to run and you’ve got to keep doing it and not give up until it becomes a part of you. So the real question is how can you keep motivated and not give up on the running? That is a tough one, how do we stay motivated to do anything really? For me it was just being motivated at the start and then just being too lazy to change my routine I guess, even though it sounds silly. Maybe I was always meant to do it, probably not though, it is more likely that running is something I picked up and haven’t been able to drop. So once you find that motivation to run hang on to it and remember that if you hang on long enough it will eventually work out.