This is the story of how my lifelong abhorrence for running has been transformed into an all-out enthusiasm that makes me question my identity. I’ve deciphered the secret code to my running happiness, and I’m a new person when i lace up my running shoes. The old me was hopelessly lost when it came to running:
Before I graduated from high school, I had never run more than a mile or two at a time. I was fine with that–I hated running. I spent my teen extracurricular hours dancing at a local studio and for the school drill team (playing sports only for funsies at summer camp and church leagues), so team “conditioning” was not a part of my athletic training.
In college I made myself go 3.1 miles once a year for our sorority’s charity 5k. I joked that the stars had to align just so for me to have a good run: enough sleep, the perfect amount of the right food at the precise interval of time, the best time-of-the-month…I maintained that I was just not a “runner.”
In the years after college, a weekly-ish 2-3 mile jog worked it’s way in to my exercise routine, and I would complete the occasional 5k with respectable results, but i never got it. I enjoyed moving my body, but running didn’t feel like something I wanted to tolerate for more than thirty minutes—much less hours.
A handful of times I decided I was going to try to increase my distance, and my approach usually involved one of three things I heard often from runners: better form, better shoes, or better tunes.
Following popular tips on posture and stride yielded minimal improvement. The latest high-tech shoes gave me a temporary spring in my step, but did nothing to increase my endurance. Listening to my favorite upbeat music had mixed results: it inspired me to move, but messed up my breathing and pace.
I was focused on all the right areas, but in all the wrong ways.
image cropped from thisislondon.co.uk