I was there once, a beginning runner. So, I know. Beginning to run is the hardest thing. Getting to the point to run 30-35 minutes without stopping is the hardest part of running. EVER. It is so hard.
That is the time you see others running and it looks so beautiful and effortless and inspiring. Key is to know that the person you see looking this way doesn’t necessarily FEEL THIS WAY AT ALL!!!
I’ve now been running for 25 years. When I began, it was the hardest thing. I tried to do it in the dark because it was so embarrassing to me to be looking this way on public roads, like I was near death, needing an ambulance. The funny thing is, 25 years later, I have numerous runs where I feel the same way, where I feel like I must be dragging cement blocks behind me. I’ve run marathons and raced well, but I still sometimes go out and feel like literally…. I don’t even know if what I’m doing is considered “running”!! It is barely faster than a walker! It really doesn’t even feel good some days, and I have learned to just carry on, step by step. That in the end, every step DOES MATTER! And you can ALWAYS DO THE NEXT STEP! It doesn’t need to LOOK GOOD. And it shouldn’t always FEEL GOOD. Sometimes it will, and those are the days that sustain you through some of the other drudgery workouts. It is so easy to judge ourselves and others- to judge that others are somehow just better at running, that they are feeling a sense of ease on their runs, so “what is wrong with me” that I want to stop, that I struggle to keep going. There is nothing wrong, it is not an easy thing physically to run, and the mental challenge to will yourself to continue is what makes the difference.
So……what does that mean?
It means day by day. Go out. Get it DONE.
It means if your goal is 10 minutes, do 10 minutes. Not 1 minute less. Mentally, don’t let yourself physically stop.
It means if you have built up and you are doing 30 minutes and your next week goal is 34 minutes. Plan for it, prepare, mentally and physically, and be relentless….. get it done. Do NOT CONSIDER stopping early.
It means the long runs/ builds are maybe the most important run of the week, however…. All the supporting runs are what allows the other to happen. That is the funny thing—each run you do is what allows the others to be successful. Even the days that you just run for 10 minutes. Even the training runs that feel terrible make you better, sometimes those are the most important ones. The days that require you to be your grittiest, fiercest self to will yourself those extra 3 minutes are the reason why you will finish your goal race. Don’t doubt that every single step you take makes a difference.