Running is a weird sport: How to best explain running to new runners

Running is a weird sport

Running is a weird sport because at any given moment you can choose to run. You can be any age. You don’t need any skills or talent, you just need two feet and a mindset that makes you want to move forward.

When people ask me how to start running I never know what to say. The sport has been complicated to the point where, in some cases, it has lost any enjoyment that a person could gain from it. Running shouldn’t be complicated. I don’t care how experienced you are, how fast or slow you are, or if you are an elite runner. It shouldn’t be complicated. Before we had GPS watches, fancy shoes, fancy clothes, and hundreds of running accessories, people ran. Runners survived without these things for years and in some areas of the world people still run without these things. You don’t need anything to start running except the desire to start running. 

What are these “I’m not a real runner” comments???  If you are an olympian or a guy who runs around the neighborhood after work you are still running. Running is running no matter who you are or how you do it. If you are running you are a runner.

Fast is relative.

I often wish I was running 17 minute 5ks because I think that is a fast time. Then, I turn around and realize that hundreds of other people are wishing they were running the 20 minute 5k that I am running because they think that is a fast time. The definition of “fast running” will always be variant when talking to people who run. Fast is relative and running is a sport that will leave you constantly craving faster race times, just don’t get too caught up in that. Run, enjoy it, compete with yourself, and allow yourself to improve by focusing on who you are and where you are in your running journey. We all want to run faster, but don’t let that take over your running entirely because if you do you will stop enjoying the sport.

Running is about seeing individual improvement over time. The very first day you run you may only run 400 meters. A year from that day maybe you can run 1 mile, maybe 3 miles. Maybe in 5 years you will run a marathon, maybe not. Maybe you will run your first 5k in 45 minutes and your 12th 5k in 30 minutes and your 100th 5k in 21 minutes. Each run makes you stronger whether you can see it or not. You will never see improvement if you use other people as a means of measurement because each person progresses differently. Compare yourself to who you were the run before and ALWAYS find one good thing about that run. I know this sounds cliche but I believe that this is the secret to running. Also, remember that improvement in anything takes time and commitment. Nothing is immediate and you won’t see progress if you don’t give yourself an opportunity to look for it.

You will find your pace. Just as “fast” is relative, so is pace. Your general pace will be comfortable for you and the more you run the more you will see your pace changing. This too takes time. Let your body find its natural pace and let your body naturally alter that pace as it grows stronger.

There is no cookie cutter plan for success in running. What I do is not going to be the plan that works best for you. I know this because what other people do rarely works for me.

This sport is weird because there is no right or wrong way to do it. There are millions of ways to do it. You have to find the one that is best for the runner that you are. Be patient, take the necessary time to figure this out, and allow yourself to fall in love with the sport.





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