Friday, July 13, 2012

The Truth About Running

You've all seen them before: pictures, magazines, websites, all trying to motivate you to run.

This isn't my goal here.

As a cross-country and track athlete at my university, my goal is to tell you the truth about running. Whether you're into it or secretly resent it, this is worth reading.

First off, let me tell you I'm a credible source. Besides the last 3 weeks in May and a couple weeks in December, I run all year around. Six days a week. I have to, I'm on scholarship! It's getting me through school. Here's an article for validation: Lady Cougars.

I'm not a professional runner, just a normal person who happens to run every day. Let me share what I have learned. Note, this is my opinion based on my experience. None of this is textbook-approved, just real life lessons from a girl who would know.

Rules to Run By:  

1. Running is pointless unless you compete with yourself.
It doesn't matter why you want to run, whether it's to lose weight, stay in shape, or impress people driving down the road. If you don't compete for a better time than you had yesterday, or a longer distance, or better form, you're going to be board out of your mind. Literally. Running will be the most pointless waste of time you've ever experienced.

2. Don't compare your ability. 
There's always going to be someone out there better and faster than you. Who cares? Remember rule #1, you're competing with yourself. No one else.

3. Learn to love it. 
What's the difference between avid runners and those people who can't seem to be consistent? The love. If you don't enjoy it, you're not going to do it. That's reality. You can only force yourself to do something you hate for so long before you give in. Granted, you may have to force yourself at first (give it 4 weeks), but you'll begin to crave it if you stick with your goals.

So now you're wondering, how do you love running? 
You have to be competitive.
You have to want to be better than you were yesterday.
And when you are (because you will be), relish your achievement.

That's not trying to be motivational, that's telling the truth.  

4. You have the time.
If you want it bad enough, it can happen. No excuses. This is coming from a college student.

5. Your brain is a liar.  
Your head will get in the way even before you take your first step. Your brain will tell you, "I'm too tired," or "too stressed," or "I don't want to." Don't listen! I found the days I felt too tired or busy to run were the days I needed to run the most. It's stress relieving and wakes you up!

Also, during the run your brain can sometimes be a broken record: "Stop. Stop. Stop. I'm tired. Stop Stop. Stop." Use discipline! Tell your brain you are stronger than you think. Remember, compete
6. Build a relationship with your body.
It's hard to listen to your body when your head is screaming, "I HATE THIS!" There's two voices inside you, one from your brain, one from your body. Usually, the brain is fussy, wimpy, and obnoxious. But you can learn to control it. With some mental discipline, it will be on your side. The body on the other hand, speaks more subtly...unless there's pain. Learn to differentiate between mind and body. That sounds kind of Yoga-zen-ish, but I'm dead serious! The body will tell you when you can push harder, listen!

7. Shoes matter.   
You know those sneakers you found at a garage sale in eighth grade that still fit? Don't you dare touch them. If you're planning on running even just a couple days a week, buy real running shoes! Bad shoes lead to serious injury. I recommend Asic, Brooks, or personally, I use Mizuno. I wouldn't recommend the Nike Frees. They look sick, but no matter what they may claim, I don't believe they're a running shoe.

8. Finish strong.
At the end of every run, no matter how tired you feel, try to really push it! Do the last 0.2 miles faster! You'll feel amazing after you stop.

9. Food matters. 
Have you ever thought "I went for a run today, I can have this {fill in an unhealthy sweet/snack}?" It's not true. In fact, when you're running you should be more careful. It doesn't matter if you're not trying to lose weight. Runners need fuel. Think of the food that you are putting in your mouth as fuel. Better fuel makes a better running machine. I'll let you do the math.

10. DRINK!! 
I shoot for as much as possible: 10 8oz. glasses of water a day or more.


  1. This is such a great post. Running is something I've always wanted to get into, but have never given a real chance. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  2. Curious about why you don't like Nike Free I have tried a few shoes and I like them best...usually I have a hard time with shoes because my feet are wide! Good post, lots of info!

    1. Thank you!

      And about the Frees: Several of my teammates own a pair or two, we all like them. However, they always come off for running. The Frees don't have very much arch support, especially for long distances. If you're looking into running several miles a week, I would encourage you to find something with better support. Nike offers other shoes that were specifically designed for running, or possibly look into a different brand. Then again, if high milage isn't a factor, maybe they would be ok! Just pay attention to how your feet feel.

  3. you have no idea how badly i needed to read this today! i was really into running a few years ago, LOVED it, but trying to get back into it has been incredibly difficult. i want to love it again, but my brain really gets in the way. thank you so much for posting this! i'll definitely be following your blog from here on out. :)

    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful!! Yes, just remember the hardest step you'll ever take in running is the first one out the door! Whenever you start, you'll always be glad you did. ;) Thanks for becoming a follower!

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