What They Don’t Tell You About Running

Around 5am every morning you can hear the low hum of complaint as angry runners rise from their comfy beds to get 30 minutes in before the day is underway. They grumble as they lace up their running shoes, grunt as they pull on their compression socks, and whimper as they step out into the cold, unforgiving world. They force their way through three unpleasant miles, and kiss the door as they return, so absolutely thankful that running is out of the way, and they don’t have to go through the process for another 24 hours.

Fun, right?

And then they go to work and complain to their coworkers about how much they hate running, but they have to do it. They do it for the carbs, or for the abs, but never because they want to. We love the camaraderie of misery.

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I used to be a spiteful runner. I ran in spite of what I wanted, and for that I was proud. I made myself run today, wasn’t I a rockstar? I didn’t give in to my primal desire to lay in bed all day, feasting on Cheetos and binging on Netflix. No, I went out and I ran.

It was awful.

All that time I spent angry about my feet hitting the pavement was a lot of wasted energy. If running is something you do for thirty minutes a day, four times a week, that’s over 100 angry hours every year. Four entire days of negativity. Sounds exhausting.

Especially because something wonderful happens when you embrace the choice to run. Your body finds it’s rhythm. You start to feel like a gazelle. You start to build confidence and mental endurance. You begin to believe you were made to run. And guess what, you were.

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Our ancestors were persistence hunters, chasing down their prey before the invention of bows, arrows, and rifles. We ran to protect ourselves from predators, and as early as 1829 B.C. we were running for sport in ancient Greece. Our body mechanics, from our glutes, to our sturdy trunk, are huge proponents in our choice to continue moving forward. Running is natural.

Let’s stop buying into the negative narrative about running. In our everything-is-easy-and-accessible world, we shy away from hard things at a rapid pace. While I have a newfound perspective on running, I don’t neglect the fact that running is hard. When I’m running uphill and my lungs are on fire and I feel like I’m going to collapse, I curse the hill, but I keep moving forward. When my arms start to tingle around mile 6, and the sun is beating down on my shoulders, and sweat is burning my eyes, I am thankful to be moving.

Let’s change the narrative and embrace the run.

3 thoughts on “What They Don’t Tell You About Running”

  1. Good point. I have a question for you, because I’ve always run on a track, I notice you are running a trail. How is it running on irregular terrain? It seems you could turn an ankle or take a tumble. Hiking alone runs a risk of that but at a faster clip, what advice do you have to prevent injury?

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  2. I actually find this relatable in regards to my husband. He grew up with asthma and thus hated running growing up. It wasn’t until a few years ago that he knew he needed to start doing it to boost his endurance for climbing and general well-being. But this also happened around the time he met me. I told him I signed up for the Bolder Boulder 10k and he, under pressure to impress me, said he was going to run it too and went home and signed up immediately, ha! Not only did he follow through but in the 2 years since then he has created an amazing base for his running. It went from something to force to something he now craves. I’m definitely the weirdo: running was my first love! Ever since I watched my older brother race a 4:54 mile for track in High School, I knew running had to be a part of my life, and it came naturally. I was competitive and in college I joined the sprint triathlon team because I think I’m also a bit of a masochist; but college is where I also discovered trail running and it was game over. I moved to Yosemite and destroyed my knees with ambition, running the Upper Falls, Four Mile, and Mist trails weekly. I’ve toned it down since then, but the fire is definitely still there. I lust after trail running, and as you are aware, my recent injuries have completely taken it away from me. So it’s neat to see how different people find and approach running. For me it was almost a calling and for my husband it was something he truly had to work for. Either way, it’s an amazing thing and I can’t wait to get back into it, as hard as it will be!

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    1. Running is versatile and it touches people in different ways, and different walks of life. My parents recently started running in their 50s, and it’s so cool to hear my mom talk about how strong it makes her feel. Running is empowering. It shows us that we’re capable of pushing past mental and physical barriers that seem daunting and defeating when we’re sitting on the couch. I love that your husband ran that race in order to impress you! Sometimes that’s what it takes! Being injured is a hard season to endure, and I hope soon you’ll be able to return to the trails.

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