Be Okay With Looking Like An Idiot

It’s no secret that I hate running. In fact I have a tank top that says “I HATE RUNNING” in large letters just in case you weren’t clear on my stance on the matter. I hate that I have to wear three sports bras to do it. I hate that I have no cardiovascular endurance so the whole thing makes me feel like I can’t breathe. I hate how boring treadmills are. And yet I’m slowly but surely incorporating running into my regular workout routine.

It started kind of by accident. A few of my good friends are serious runners, so I would hear them talking about it a lot. They have so much passion for it, I wondered what I was missing. My friend Sam, a non-runner like me, started getting into it (read her post about it here) and I saw how hooked she got. Then one day I was thinking about how running has always been something I’ve feared. I would come up with every excuse to miss the day we had to run the mile in gym class. I hear people talk about the races they’ve run and I assume I couldn’t do that.

Why though?

Everyone who starts out trying something new sucks at it. So why couldn’t I work through the suckage? Maybe I don’t hate running, I just hate that I’m not good at it. But if I was consistent and did a little bit at a time I would get better and it could become something I’m mediocre or even acceptable at. With that in mind, I feel like my whole attitude about running has changed. I’m still slow as hell and basically want to die when I’m done, but I can tell I’m making progress. If you’re like me and you want to get better at running, here are some tricks I’ve been using:

  • Set a goal: I recently committed to running a half marathon with three friends (two other non-runners like me and one experienced runner) so instead of aimlessly clomping away on the treadmill, I’m working towards something tangible. With that said, I’m giving myself plenty of time to train because I don’t want to put too much strain on my body.
  • I got over my self-consciousness and started running outside: In the past, I’d never allowed myself to run outside. I pictured myself out at the park huffing and puffing while all of the moms and their kiddos stopped and stared. This past weekend I decided I really didn’t care and I went for a run outside. It was gorgeous and so much more interesting than running under fluorescent lights at my gym. Also, turns out no one at the park really cares what you’re doing. They’re too busy making sure their kid doesn’t fall in the duck pond.
  • Use a training program: When I’ve tried to start getting into running in the past, I’ve done so totally randomly and never really pushed myself. I’d do a half mile one day, then a mile another, then nothing for three weeks. This time around I downloaded a Couch to 5K app. I work off of that training program each time I go out. It’s helpful because it forces me to challenge myself, plus I can keep a log of what I’m doing.

Even if you have no interest in running (believe me, I get that) I hope you trust me when I say sometimes you just have to look like an idiot. Everyone sucks when they’re starting something new. Do it anyway. And the truth is that most people are so worried about their own deal that they’re not paying attention to the “dumb” thing you’re convinced you just did.

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