Running Through Life

RunningI love running. I love everything about it.

However, it wasn’t always this way. There was a time I would dread the word “run.” I would cringe if someone mentioned the idea of running and I’m sure a lot of you may feel the same way (and if not, more power to you! You already conquered the hardest part, so get out there, stay motivated, and keep moving).

I believe a major problem  I faced with running was the fact that I was doing it wrong. And you may be asking yourself, ‘how can you possibly run wrong?’ Well, I suppose there are a lot of ways to run incorrectly – and no, I’m not talking about running mechanics and proper running form (that’s a topic for a different blog post). I’m talking about my encounters with running in the past.

I used to run not because I wanted to, but because I had to. Throughout middle school and high school, I was relatively active. I played multiple sports – hockey, lacrosse, soccer. All of these sports required me to complete a timed run in order to actually play on the team. I associated running with the pressure of making a sports team and feeling accepted. So why would I want to do that as a hobby? To make things worse, I would run on the treadmill in the basement of my parents’ house. This might sound like an exaggeration, but treadmills are the worst possible way to run. They’re annoying, loud, restricting, uncomfortable, etc… I could rant about why I hate treadmills for hours. It’s safe to say that I associated running with a lot of negatives.

But when I joined the Marine Corps Officer Program, running became a big part of my life. I began to associate it with something other than failure and pressure. Running was now a part of  my career. Don’t get me wrong, the program has challenged me more than any sport I have ever played, and I still have to complete timed runs, but in order to better myself and advance in the program, I needed to start running.

Throughout my years of both competitive and leisure running, I have come up with a list of rules and guidelines that someone new to this activity should follow to take away some of the intimidation factor:

  • Always run outside when possible. The fresh air and scenery is often a therapy for me if I’m ever feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
  • Don’t push your limits. I am all about finding my barriers and smashing them into pieces, however, pushing too hard can sometimes take the fun out of an activity such as running.
  • Run with a buddy. Find someone who is at or close to your ability and run with them. A light conversation tends to make my runs go by a lot quicker.
  • Invest in a good pair of running shoes. It sounds kind of odd but there is a lot less pain involved with running when you have the right pair of shoes.
  • Find your motivation to run. If you don’t have a reason to do it, running is going to be painful. Find why you want to do it and get it done.

Yes, running isn’t always fun. There are some days where I wake up and decide not to run because I feel like I need a break (and it’s extremely important to listen to your body) but when all is said and done, running is the greatest thing I have taken up to better myself.

I’ll leave you with a quote: “When your legs can’t run anymore, run with your heart.” Find your motivation, get out and make it happen.

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