My world is immersed in running. My paycheck comes from selling running shoes. I have run thousands of miles, yet I started just like many of you. I was out of shape. A friend said I should come run. I am sure I was terrified at how bad I was going to be stomped into the ground by my running friend. Just like you. So while most “writers” will say, you shouldn’t give away the farm in the first paragraph, I’m going to do just that. The secret to running is this. Take the first step.
It’s simple really. As kids we spend countless hours running around. In fact, most kids seem to run everywhere they go. They run to the car, they run to see friends, they run around and play. Heck, they hardly walk anywhere.
But it’s frightening. I remember meeting my friend at the lakes for my first run with someone else. I had started the Couch to 5k program from www.coolrunning.com and was up to running 2 miles or so. He was an avid runner and multiple marathon, and Ironman finisher. We met on the shoulder that ran up to Baton Rouge beach on Stanford and got out of our cars. He told me to follow the lakes around and it would be 4.2 miles. We ran to where it turns onto the jogging trail, about 200 yards, and he took off. 47 minutes later I was back at my car. Two min later he showed up, but there was a subtle difference. In the same amount of time, he had run two miles further. Talk about a morale boost (this is sarcasm).
Over the next 4 years, I met him almost every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 a.m. to run the lakes, and never once completed a run with him if he didn’t allow me to. But that’s not the purpose of meeting really. It’s about accountability and showing up.
To run you have to simply take the first step, but I realize that it’s also about facing your fears. About possible embarrassment. “What if I can’t run more than 5 minutes? 2 minutes? 1 minute?” “What if I do it wrong?” So many questions, that are all answered by simple taking a step, then another and running. Running like a kid. Feeling the burn, feeling good, and feeling bad, but still continuing to run.
There will be more about how to improve your running if you stay tuned to this blog. The first steps are the hardest, but with local running groups abound, (Happy’s Running Club, CYJ’s Sunday Runday, and Fleet Feet and Varsity Running groups) there are plenty of supportive outlets out there to fuel your fire and journey. One step at a time.