What if I told you I know the secret to unlocking all your hidden potential? What if I told you I have found the fountain of youth? What if I told you by consistently doing one single activity you could lose weight, get toned, have more energy, treat depression, alleviate crippling anxiety and induce an amazing transformation into a better version of yourself?
I know, this all sounds way too good be true, right? Now that my cheesy, sales-pitchy opening has you on the edge of your seat, I’ll let you in on the secret.
That’s it. Maybe that was a bit anti-climactic, but my experience with running has been so incredible and life-changing that I find it absolutely necessary to share this experience when given the chance.
I love to nauseatingly gush about running to any unsuspecting soul who will lend an ear. I feel an almost obligatory duty to introduce others to this joyous activity and also provide motivation for the crazed runners who share my affinity for the sport.
Running has become not only my passion, but my identity. It has given me life, almost killed me and brought me back to life again. Its my medicine for many ailments and has made me who I am today.
Of course, running isn’t for everyone. I have many friends and family members who absolutely despise running regardless of the countless benefits. And that’s okay.
However, I know there are a ton of people who have always wanted to give it a shot but just haven’t made the commitment. Or maybe you used to run but you’ve been out of the game a while and are thinking about picking it back up.
Whatever the case may be, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re interested in this increasingly popular sport and may be on the verge of jumping in head (or feet) first.
When exploring any new, life-changing miracle cure-all, testimonials are always helpful, so let us dabble into how I started running. For those still on the fence, my experience may provide the motivation needed to get you out the door.
I’m an athletic guy. I’ve played sports since I was old enough to walk. I played just about every sport I could but, for some reason, distance running was not something I wanted to do. Running was a form of punishment in the other sports I played.
At practices, my coaches routinely gave out laps and suicide drills like politicians giving out empty promises. “Running helps with endurance and conditioning!”. Yeah, whatever, coach. Running was a miserable activity in which I had no desire to willingly partake.
Athletics instilled a sense of competitiveness in me, and I always thought my insatiable hunger for competition would eventually lead to my downfall. But it was my competitive nature that may have saved my life by leading me to running.
Anyway, this whole ordeal began about nine years ago. My cousin had recently picked up running and boasted that I couldn’t beat him in a popular mid-summer 8k road race known as the Crazy 8’s. The race was only a couple of months away when this challenge was bestowed upon me and, given the fact that I had never ran a race in my life, I was a little worried about how this would go down.
Nevertheless, I was determined to win this thing. In the beginning, I had no clue what I was doing, but I devised a crude training routine.
The race was eight kilometers, or about five miles. Because my body was not acclimated to running long distances (a.k.a. out of shape), I had to start small and work up to that distance. At first, I attempted to run just two miles, three times a week.
To say the experience was brutal would be an understatement.
When I first started, I could barely make it half a mile before I had to stop and walk. My lungs were on fire, I literally felt like death and hated every second of it. Regardless, I wasn’t about to let this chump beat me so I kept training.
About five weeks in, I stepped it up and ran the full five mile course for the first time. Again, I hated every second of it and felt like dying.
But, I kept going. By the time race day arrived, I felt ready.
I completed the race in 37 minutes, it was an amazing experience and something I will remember for the rest of my life. Oh, and I beat my cousin by a good two minutes.
During this whole process I noticed running wasn’t absolute misery for me anymore. It became a habit that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was healthier and had a better outlook on life
After completing the Crazy 8’s, there was no way I could just quit running after making all that progress, so I kept running . In the years that followed, I went on to complete numerous races. Although I’ve completed several half marathons, I’ve not quite made it to a full marathon. Yet.
The competition is what kept me going, but you don’t have to race to enjoy running. You don’t need special skills or expensive equipment. To get started, all you need is a pair of shoes. And clothes, of course.
In your running journey, you’ll want to quit. It’s going to suck, but stick with it. After a few weeks, running will become a habit and then a lifestyle. The transformation you’ll see in yourself will be intoxicating and motivating.
Like most things in life, running takes consistency and perseverance. I’ve found that running is far more mental than physical, and the benefits are also just as much mental as they are physical. Running has made me a better husband, a better father and a better person overall. It has taught me self-discipline and given me a sense of accomplishment unrivaled by anything I’ve ever done. If you’re serious about changing your life, lace up those kicks and get out there. It doesn’t matter how far you go. Just run.