We all start somewhere. We all remember the day we were brand new runners.
I can still remember my first race (that I had no in the least bit trained for) with my now husband. We signed up for a 5k out of the blue during college. The entire race was awful. I swore after that I would never run a race again. It felt like the longest race of my life. Obviously, we all know how that turned out. Spoiler: I didn’t give up completely. It took me a little while but I eventually came around to it.
Running this past week during pregnancy has brought back a lot of memories of my early running days. Every step feels hard, you can’t imagine running any longer, and some days you are simply thankful to get it completed. It’s not always a fun way to run, but it comes with the territory.
It’s allowed me to think back a lot on where I started. Any runner you see, no matter how long they’ve been running, can remember how it felt too take that first stride. They can remember how hard it is to start and remember where it all began. We all came from somewhere and our story is part of what got us to where we are today, or where we want to go.
In some ways, I’m nervous about running again after we welcome our little boy. I feel like I’ll be starting over again. I have to remind myself that it’s always hard, even when you’ve been running for years. I often try to think back of how it felt when I started to reassure myself that I can do it again. I think back on setting big goals knowing that to everyone on the outside I looked absolutely crazy, but with hard work I accomplished them. It will take a lot of hard work but that is what makes it so worthwhile.
All of this got me thinking – What would I tell new runners who are just starting their running journey?
It Does (and Doesn’t) Get Easier
Yes, running will get easier. Does that mean that you will go out there every day and love running? Ha! No. Some days are always going to be a struggle and that is just part of the process. You will see your body improving and it’s motivating. Even when you’re improving you will have days where you notice yourself slowing down and it feels like a chore. It’s okay to get frustrated on these days, but don’t let it eat at you. Move past it and I promise you will have a better run soon!
Don’t Compare Yourself
You’ve heard the quote before – “comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s SO true! In this world of social media it can even be more of a struggle. No matter where you are in your running journey, don’t compare yourself to someone else. You are in your own journey and your own “race” so to speak. Be proud of your accomplishments and improvements. There will always be someone running further than you or faster than you – and that is OK!
Find What Motivates You
I love to race and I love to push myself to see what I’m capable of. That’s what motivates me often. I love setting my next goal for a race and training to get there. That being said – some people aren’t motivated by racing. Find the thing that motivates you to get out the door, even on the hardest of days. For some it’s racing, some its weight loss, some it’s just alone time. Whatever it is, find what works for you and use that to help keep you focused.
If You Don’t Enjoy it – You Don’t Have to Run
I know this is an odd one coming from a running blog, but it’s true! Sometimes I see people trying to force themselves to be a runner when they don’t enjoy it. Even if you love running, you’ll have days you don’t want to do but you still push through it because deep down you enjoy it. If you don’t, that’s ok! The key to staying motivated is to find what you enjoy.
Running is a constant journey and I can promise you one thing, it never stays the same. Just like in life we go through phases. Embrace the phase you’re in and remember that the best way to improve is consistency and taking it one day at a time.
What’s the best piece of running advice you’ve been given?