I’ve been keeping a secret from all of you. I used to hate running, really really hate running. I ran / walked an entire half marathon, all the time hating running. But I love running now, and I have for about 4 weeks, so I feel like it could be a permanent thing.
Coaches would always tell me to find a pace that was sustainable, that I could comfortably maintain for miles and miles. I thought that this would be accomplished by suffering through pain. I’d heard that you just have to get through the first 2 miles, and then it would all be awesome. Others claimed that if I would just employ Chi Running, I’d be comfortable.
Coaches would tell me to slow down, and others would tell me to push through. Sometimes I’d be advised to listen to my body, which wanted neither. I wanted to go fast, and without pain.
I began training with a new team last month. I told my coach that I hate running, and one day she asked me to meet her at the track. After a couple of warm up laps, she had me begin to slowly SLOWLY jog. I thought it was a joke, it was so slow. But after a couple of laps, it was comfortable. And nothing hurt. Before I knew it, she turned to me and told me I’d just run 2 miles without stopping.
I just needed to be tricked! Former coaches told me the right things, but they never tricked me into anything. Now I can run for miles and miles. Still slow, but I’ve past the 5 mile mark. I’ve done a 5k at a faster pace than my endurance pace (total time 42 minutes – which isn’t fast, but considering I’ve never finished on in under 50+ minutes, I consider this an accomplishment). I now do track workouts, which I always thought were just for the super fast people. In fact, track workouts are my favorite days.
If you struggle with your running, I hope my experience helps you. There are many people who are natural runners, and I envy them. But if you’re not, my advice to you is to take it slow, even slower than you thought was ever possible. It will come to you – and someday we will both be able to hang with those naturally gifted runners.