I am a runner. I am a real runner my friends would now say. “What exactly does that mean?” I ask them. “You wear Lycra, you go to races, and you go running out in the cold”. I do now and indeed think nothing of it, but it wasn’t always that way.
If you have never run before the first three runs are the hardest runs you will ever run in your life. 71% of people who want to start running never get to their 4th run. So I am warning you the first three are terrible. Write them off as an investment into your health and the key thing is DO NOT make them very long. Short and sweet is perfect at this stage. As Josh Waitzkin says in the Art of Learning ‘you have to invest in loss/failure’ for a long-term gain and allow for your body to make the adaption from sofa to pavement, road or trail.
So why run? Everyone has different reasons; they have signed up to run a marathon for a charity close to their heart, they have read about the health benefits in a magazine or newspaper or to just stay in shape and keep the weight off. If I am brutally honest I was a sporty guy who having stopped playing team sports after university didn’t want to put on the weight as work intensified. Standing at 5 foot 5 inches and having a penchant for a good burger and chips I knew I would have been on a one-way street to looking like Danny Devito. It does not matter what your reason for starting is, it just matters you start and start this week, don’t put it off. However you do need a plan. There is no going out tomorrow in your Reebok Classics or Dunlop Green Stripes that have not been worn since 1996. This only results in one thing. Injury. Injury means physio sessions which hits the wallet and the chances of reaching Run ‘No.4’ decline drastically.
Prepare for the first run as if it is the biggest race of your life because these first three runs are. They will change your life so make sure you nail it and feel ‘okay’ by the end of them. If you do feel ‘okay’ then that is a result.
Okay so what do you need for your new ‘other’ life as a runner. I say other life, as this is what being a runner is all about, no matter what standard a runner you are. Your normal life continues whether you work behind a bar, a FTSE 100 company CEO or are a part time musician trying to make that break. The running part of your life runs in parallel. It’s a segment of your time which is disconnected and should be disconnected to your everyday life. I think too many people think they are not runners or cannot become a runner for the very fact that they have existing lives which are in no way connected to:
- a) Being healthy
- b) Being fit
- c) Wearing Lycra or other silly looking attire!
This is even more reason. It is an escape, a journey. If you see it as that it will be easier. The ultimate goal is not a sub 3-hour marathon or an Ironman medal, its health. Your body will thank you for it. Coming back to the disconnection theme for one second. While running you get time to think. If you do run with your phone make sure it is on Airplane mode, no calls no chitchat. This is ‘me’ time.
The ‘Me’ time can be whatever you want it to be. For me personally it is:
1) I get to think; I can think things through about my business, my personal life, my goals and what are the logic next steps I should take. When things boil up and you feel enclosed and do not know which way to turn, go for a run. I guarantee you will have a clearer path to a solution by the time you get to the post run shower.
2) An escape from normality. I am not a fan of trance music but when you run it is beneficial to listen to music with a ‘beats per minute’ score that is close to that of your hear-rate. Trance is where I escape, my music and my body are in equilibrium and I feel in heaven. Sounds strange I know but listening to Bob Marley (my favourite) is not for running. This feeling, labelled as the runners high is the release of a chemical into the body called endorphins. It’s the feel good hormone. It reduces stress and lifts up your mood to make you feel happier. And that is it, you will be happier. It is why Darryl (the ‘obsessed runner’) over there in the accounts department who runs to work and seems a little strange is always smiling and seems ‘too happy’! That is endorphins in action.
It is all about one step at a time. Depending on your personality traits different things will manifest. If you are an obsessive type A personality, you may well be aiming for that Ironman medal and going for a sub 10 hours (for you guys it really is trying to not go to far and keep a handle on the situation!) in a few years time. For the normal mindset (not Darryl in accounts) you will be the biggest winners. Life will get better. Oddly starting this parallel ‘running life’ will impact your normal life in a plethora of different ways. Relationships will blossom due to your more positive outlook to the world and other people. For the people who ‘lack self discipline’ mindset its going to be all about the 4th run and then sticking on in there. Try and prove to yourself that you can do it; you can overcome that calling of the sofa and the 42” TV. I can guarantee you that the sofa and TV feels 300% better after a run! I love the sofa and the TV!
Regardless of where you are on your personal journey and starting your ‘running life adventure’ it will be fun, it will make you feel better. Get it going this week and let me know how you get on.
Co-Founder of Runderwear™