how to become a runner
hate running, for years and years and years, because of how overwhelming literally everything about "running culture” is, and the extremely preposterous number of shoes available, all with their own advertising teams assuring you that you need more ankle support or maybe less ankle support or maybe more AND less ankle support but ONLY if you PRONATE whatever the fuck pronate means--don't @ me about this, i know what pronate means--and every commercial featuring incredibly svelte people sprinting up mountainsides, and also, of course, the way running makes your whole body hurt and your heart beat wAY too fast and also, your lungs collapse.
try some other forms of exercise. honestly, if you find one that you like, just stick with it. don't let runners peer pressure you just because runners are the vegans of exercise.
WE ARE. IT'S FINE. YOU CAN SAY IT.
if all other forms of exercise are unappealing to you, get on a treadmill or go outside. i’m giving you the option of the treadmill because some people claim to like it better than being outside, which seems EXTREMELY fake to me, given that treadmills were created literally to punish inmates in prison and i hold them responsible for the death of oscar wilde, and also when you go outside you get to be in the SUNSHINE or sometimes in the RAIN. and you get to look at the world!!! the best thing about running is the very different way your body interacts with the world when you’re running through it, which sounds fake and stupid but i looked it up and science supports me on this, so don’t give me that look. anyway, if you insist on being on a treadmill, fine. that’s your call. just run until it stops being fun.
i mean, immediately once it stops being fun.
if you only go ten steps and then have to stop and walk, that's fine. good job. i'm proud of u. if you're outside, pick yourself a nice flower or something. wave at a dog.
dogs are good.
if anyone gives you any shit about running--about your speed or your shoes or how fast you can go--let me know. i'll fight them. i know i don’t look tough but you’d be surprised. i cheat and i’m a biter and despite my overall vibe of The Nice But Plain Best Friend of the Main Character In A Nicholas Sparks Novel, there’s a very, VERY deep well of frothing rage inside me that i mostly repress but would honestly love to point in the direction of anyone who gives you a hard time.
go running again. run until it stops being fun again. walk the rest of the way, and walk as far or as long as you feel like. (also: don't land on your heels when you run. land in the middle of your feet, erring toward your toes. just trust me on this.)
lather, rinse, repeat. say, three times a week. you can tack it on to the end of any other workouts you’re doing, just as like, a cool down.
eventually--it might take a while, it might not!!--your body will get used to running whatever your starting distance was. you will be able to do it pretty easily, and feel like going further. do that. it doesn't matter how much further. just go until you don't want to go more, and then stop. don’t push yourself to go 8 miles your first times out. just go for as long as you’re enjoying it.
the reason i am telling you this is because running is hard. it's not ALWAYS hard, and on days when running is easy it's the only & best thing in the world. it makes every day where running is hard worth pushing through. i promise that when you have a good run it makes you feel like your blood is singing, and your whole body is a perfect machine, and your mind clears and you get so filled with the joy of being alive and having a body that can see and hear and breathe and touch things, and nobody can interrupt to talk to you about the boring stupid things that people want to talk to you about, and sometimes there are dogs that you can pet, and sometimes the world around you is so beautiful and the weather is so perfect and you feel like you can go forever and ever and ever and never stop.
but like ..... it is hard, though, especially at the beginning. and if it is hard and unfun at the get-go, you'll never learn to like it. so you have to get a taste of the part of it that's so good and fun and freeing and then your mind won't be scared of it and you're less likely to give up.
also, let's be real, going a long way can take a long time, and like, probably at the outset it would be hard to force yourself to carve out an hour and a half or whatever to run a big long distance. so just be chill about this. take the relaysh slow. don’t scare running off by jumping right into the DTR and talking about having kids.
during this process of running-till-it’s-not-fun-3-times-a-week, eat. eat slightly more than you think you need.
please trust me when i tell you that running without having eaten enough food is the worst feeling in the world. imagine you've been traveling on an airplane for 50 straight hours, and you haven't really slept, and you're getting intestinal cramps bc you haven't been able to move enough, and you're dehydrated, and then when you land they make you lead a conga around baggage claim while everyone you've ever wanted to impress co-authors a study on all your myriad flaws and failings.
that's how it feels to run on an empty stomach. so eat. running is a celebration of what your body can do!!! you belong to the best species of long-distance runners ON THE WHOLE DAMN EARTH. you can OUTRUN A HORSE, if you both run far enough. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!! so give yourself some pasta.
i'm serious, you really can outrun a horse, look it up.
after a small handful of weeks, check how far you're going. i promise you'll be surprised. you might even realize you’ve been running the whole outing, or most of the outing, or even just more of the outing. you’re going further than you were before. you might notice that you’re JUST running, instead of tacking a cool-down jog into another workout. you might notice that suddenly part of the fun is pushing yourself to go a little farther, or a little faster. you might notice that you like the feeling of being tired and sore the day after a long long run, that you hate the moment when you look at your watch and realize that you have to turn around and run home.
congratulations!!! you're a runner. sorry about how your feet are gonna look from now on. that doesn't get better; in fact, it's only going to get measurably worse.