Last week I returned from my running clinic with a bounce in my step. I put my key into the door and had an epiphany:
My sense of fun started to come back.
I met a lot of people fixated on speed. One got on my case for running the same pace all the time. I was new to the whole running scene, and all I just wanted to keep myself fit. I noticed getting anxious lacing up my shoes, while worry held me back more than a few extra pounds. When people take up a new activity encouragement is paramount. I needed encouragement more than lectures about my pace. My pace will pick up in due time. Now I really wish I said the following, “Thank you for the advice, but my pace will improve with time. For now I just want to get out there and do it.” It beats saying something else, a little cruder, with a sprinkling of F sharps for good measure.
Some people feel intimidated starting any sort of lifestyle change. The only way for type-A runners or gym folk to understand the fear is ask them to prepare and give a speech. I can hear the excuses now from ‘I can’t do that’ to ‘I am not the speech giving type.’ Well, newsflash, people do go from hesitate to doing presentations. How? Practice and encouragement. It’s the same way with running. It’s actually the same with any new activity.
Let’s get something straight. I will not run in the Olympics nor will I run Olympic-grade times. I watch people turn their long, SLOW, distance runs into races. They run fast, run hard, and get injured. These same individuals wonder why they get injured all the time. Nobody takes them aside and cautions them to slow down. Come to think of it these are the same people complaining about my pace. Dude, why do I want to do as you say if it clearly leads to getting hurt. My running goal is simple-keep doing it during a kick-ass old age. I may have wrinkles, thinning grey hair, and may be a few replacement teeth, but nothing says ‘youthful’ like attitude.
Luckily, I met a number of fantastic people running. They do impart advice like ‘get out of your head’ and ‘don’t hold yourself back’. The difference between those individuals and the pace complainers comes down to one thing-simply keeping me going. It’s all about getting our and finishing what I started. If I want to impart anything to my group it’s getting up on a Sunday morning, despite wanting to stay in bed, to run is one victory. The other involves signing up for that run and getting through it. No matter the pace, the very act of finishing is a victory worth repeating again, again, and again.