Oops! I just ran another 5k.
It takes a lot of self discipline and will power to consciously decide that you’re going to independently become a runner. That’s why it’s a whole heck of a lot easier to do it by accident. 10/10 would recommend it.
So how did I do it then?
Step one: Serendipity.
When I got to university, within minutes of being on campus for the first time without mommy and daddy, anxiety struck. This constant state of nervousness gave me so much extra energy. I had no idea what to do with myself! But, I was in a completely new place, free of any stupid habits I had back at home. So, when I woke up at 7:30 AM the next day, rather than pacing around my dorm, attempting to go back to sleep (and inevitably failing), or crying over the phone with my parents, I put on my big girl pants (which look a lot like running shorts) and went out for a light run to get accustomed to campus. In the wee hours of the day, I found myself in tranquility in my isolation. The sun was awakening slowly, the air was still cool, and the world looked as if it were full of opportunities! It was a beautiful way to get myself motivated.
Step two: Creating a habit
I was still adjusting to my new environment, and every day the first week, I found myself waking up early for one reason or another. Seeing as how de-stressed I felt from my first run, I decided I should continue running to fight off anxiety.
The next week, stopped naturally waking up early. I liked my runs, so I started setting an alarm, so that running simply became the norm. Now, if I skip my daily workout, I feel as if part of my day went missing. It’s simply ritual!
Step three: Nurturing Mentality
Waking up is already quite a chore for most of us, but to wake up knowing that immediately after you leave the warmth of your fuzzy blanket, you’ll be sweaty, stinky, and breathless is even harder to swallow. I needed to keep myself optimistic about my runs. I wouldn’t let myself complain, and kept negative thoughts before, during, and after my run to a minimum. Perspective changes everything! Now, I look forward to my runs in the morning. It’s the highlight of my day!
Step four: Nurturing the Body
It turns out that running in Texas in the Summer is actually quite difficult. Who would have thought?! In order to prevent myself from passing out on the track, I’ve been drinking LOTS of water THE NIGHT BEFORE I run. If there’s one thing marching band taught me, it’s healthy hydration (Thanks, Mr. J). I’ve seen kids pass out on the pavement before and I’ve watched myself and my friends suffer from symptoms of heat exhaustion. It’s not fun.
Now, I’m not saying that if you don’t drink water, you’ll pass out. It could happen, but generally, if you’re not drinking enough water, both waking up, and running is going to suck. I’m amazed at the difference in my own performance on days that I hydrated for, and days that I neglected that habit.
Moral of the story: Water. Water is your friend.
Also, getting a full night’s sleep and eating healthy can help you to get out there and have a good run too! Though nobody seems to get their eight hours nowadays…
Step five: Pushing just enough
Remember the disappointment in the tone of every teacher responding to “Will this be on the test?” This is one situation where it’s okay to try just enough to do a satisfactory job. There’s absolutely no reason to make yourself run as fast as you can, as far as you can every single day. That’s how I used to run. Any by run, I mean get motivated, run for three days, miss a few days, then completely stop running for another month. Don’t be like high school me. Pace yourself, don’t overexert yourself. You’ll lose motivation, and chances are, that’s not great for your body either.
If you’re a first time runner, GO SLOW. See how far you can get at a just-above-walking-pace, then work your way up from there. You’ll be amazed at the distance you can cover while taking a relaxed pace.
Step six: Repeat!
Keep it up! You’ll get there soon!
Anyone can fool themselves into becoming a runner. Just remember, the hardest part of running doesn’t actually involve getting tired, sweaty, breathless, or sore. It’s all mental. Stay positive, and have a great run!