I’m often asked how can I like running, or do I love it. Nowadays, I usually respond with ‘I have good runs and bad runs’ or ‘I don’t love it but I love the feeling when I’m done.’
I haven’t always felt that way. When I first started – in fact, before I even started – I hated running. With a passion. I thought people that posted about it were crazy and there was just no way I could do it. What’s the point? It’s so painful, and exhausting, and boring. When I did Couch to 5k, I was stressed out every time I started my daily interval, wondering if I was going to be able to do it, or how painful it would be. I usually found that while I disliked it the entire time I was doing it… I thought my chest would explode from breathing so hard, or my legs would just collapse on me from exhaustion… that I felt so accomplished when I was done.
Once I finished the program, I wanted to find ways to love running. I wasn’t really sure how on Earth I could make this happen, but I figured if there was someone else there to distract me, it would help. So I put out some personal ads.
I went to a couple of places. My Y has a board in the women’s locker room where you can post if you’re looking for someone to workout with. I posted in the postpartum mother section that I would love a workout buddy. Then, I went to my local community. The neighborhood that I live in has a Facebook page, so I posted my ‘personal ad’. I wrote:
‘Any runners in the community looking for a running buddy? I’m a new runner – recently completing Couch to 5k, a few 5ks and recently a 10k, and I’m looking for running buddies for my jaunts around the neighborhood. I’m not speedy (12-14 min mile) but I am working on increasing my speed and distance as I train for a 1/2 marathon in November. I’d love to meet up with other runners. I usually run in the evenings after the kids go to bed. I have been doing between 2-4 miles in the neighborhood and longer runs outside (if anyone wants to join me on those too).’
I was surprised to get a few hits from each. I couple of ladies from my neighborhood responded and I did some ‘test runs’ with them. One was too fast for me, and could only meet early in the morning. I’m not a morning person, and her speed intimidated me, but I knew that eventually I could try again, so I put her information to the side for the time. The other responder is now a good friend of mine. We started running together pretty regularly, and she has a little boy in between the age of my two.
From the Y, I had a couple of responses as well. One woman met me a few times for runs but the times that we were both available didn’t always sync up. The second, was actually put in contact with me because of my ad and conversations with one of the wellness coordinators. She emailed the both of us and said ‘I know you both have young children, and crazy work schedules but similar fitness goals – you should try to get together to workout!’ We did, starting with interval training, which then extended to other fitness classes, and now she’ll be running her first half in one of the races that we all signed up for in Virginia. She’s another one of my closest friends thanks to the tortures we’ve been through together and the ability to get to know each other during our workouts.
Through all of this, I formed a natural group that started to ask about joining me to run. They saw my posts on Facebook, or heard me talk about it. Those who were already runners invited me to join them on their runs, and those who were new to it or intrigued by the idea, asked how I got into it and I offered to join them on their runs. Knowing how hard it was to get started, I’m happy to offer support with others who want to give it a try. Running with friends has been a huge part of my success.
So a combination of these activities got me new workout buddies, and company that helped to distract me from the pain of running. In addition, running regularly with my various running friends, helped to get me used to the activity. As with any activity, practice makes perfect, and I had to work on my mindset. Ultimately, it took time and patience. Some days, runs are one of the aspects that I really look forward to, and others, I know it’s just something that I need to get done. Just like any workout, you may not always be in the mood but once it becomes your way of life, you just start to plan for it and oftentimes even look forward to it.
Do you have a love/hate relationship with running? Or just love it? How do you get through your long runs?