Confessions of a Former Running Hater: 5 Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Running
I’ve got something big to confess, you guys: I hate running. Like, I really hate it. I hate running the way you might hate someone who whistles Rent show tunes for an entire Megabus ride—there is a lot of hate there. Or, at least, there was.
As of last month, I am officially a running convert.
To give you a little background: I ran track from sixth through 12th grade, and was a team captain for the last two years before I very unceremoniously quit in a short and not-so-gracious email five minutes before a Saturday morning practice during my senior year. Because I just hated running So. Freakin’. Much. (And because I was a super-bratty teenager. But hey, that’s beside the point.) And the day I quit track, I quit running. Forever.
But don’t get me wrong, I love working out: I’m all for a good boot camp or hot yoga class, and I’d rather trek five miles across town than hop on the subway. It’s just, distance running has always seemed so…boring. Then, about a month ago, Be Well editor, Emily, convinced me to go on my very first run since, well, high school, and I actually kind of enjoyed myself. Emphasis on the “kind of.” But then I went on another run, and another, and, eventually, I started to actually enjoy myself. And soon it became official: I like running.
I know, I’m shocked, too.
And since I started running, I’ve noticed a few things about the practice that I never would’ve picked up on had I just continued hating on it from the sidelines. So here, five surprising things I’ve learned about running since I started pounding the pavement myself.
1. Running isn’t the most boring activity on planet Earth.
And trust me, I am truly surprised to learn this. From the outside, running looks either boring or painfully exhausting or a terrible combination of both, and who wants that? But when you’re actually running, you aren’t bored at all. You’re too busy repeating motivational Pinterest board quotes like “Do your best, forget the rest” and “There is magic in misery” to yourself to be bored. And the whole painfully exhausted thing? Well, yeah, that’s just true.
2. Running lets you see the city with a whole new set of eyes.
The other day, I was running along the Delaware River when I saw a huge American flag mural at the corner of Delaware and Spring Garden Streets that I had never noticed before. Mind you, I’ve driven directly past this mural at least once a week for the past three years.
When I told my boyfriend that I’d seen said amazing mural, he turned to me with a concerned look and asked, “Are you blind?” Well, no, I’m not blind. But when I’m in the car or on my bike, I’m not usually taking in the sights—I’m trying not to crash and die. When you’re running, you actually have time to look around and take in your surroundings. (Just don’t Instagram every new thing you see—that’ll really slow you down.)
3. And speaking of slowing down: Running doesn’t always mean you’re racing.
Coming into running with a sprinter’s background, where my main objective had always been to leave everyone else in the dust, I hit the ground running fast. And then Emily looked at me like I was insane and said “You should slow down.”
Then she pointed to a fellow runner on the Schuylkill Trail and said, “See? A snail’s pace is just fine.” And it really is.
4. Running is the perfect excuse to squeeze in some “me” time.
Saying, “Ughhh, I so need some ‘me’ time right now” can sound obnoxious. I mean, who doesn’t need a little “me” time? But when you say, “Ugh, I so need to go for a run right now,” it sounds productive. See what I did there?
And on that run, you can soak up all the “me” time your body can handle, listening to your favorite music, decorating your future dream home in your mind and stopping for a manicure on the way back home. Now, that’s what I call quality “me” time.
5. Running really is addictive.
This past Saturday evening, I found myself not enjoying any of my favorite Saturday evening activities like having one too many margaritas, indulging in a Netflix marathon or chowing down on a big plate of sushi. Instead, I was running. In the rain. Because I wanted to.
This led me to, first, ask myself: Who are you and what have you done with the real me? And then conclude that running must be addictive because I can think of no other explanation for this behavior.
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