With the success I’ve found in my personal 1k words/day for a year challenge, I’ve decided to transpose the basics of the challenge onto a month-long running program. As I’ve noted in past posts, I am in no way, shape or form a runner. I’ve tried multiple times to take up running – from cross country in high school to running with a partner and jogging sporadically in college to the couch to 5k program – and every time I fizzle out after only a few weeks, if I even make it a few weeks. Cross country was the longest span I’ve ever consistently run, but I never could run a full mile and every 5k we raced in filled me with anxiety and shame; the anxiety before, the shame after when I once again had to walk half the time and was always the last one on my team to finish.
Every time I run, I’m so utterly self-conscious about it. I don’t run on roads because people might see me and my jiggly legs. I don’t run during the day because again, people might see me. I’m slow and awkward and can only run such a short distance. In my head, every person I pass is judging my form, my pace, my distance. I notice each step and force myself to take the next. Running, for me, has always been agony.
So why do I want to keep doing it?
All the benefits – easy cardio you can do anywhere, anytime, ability to flee from zombies and/or mountain lions, health, competition, greater lung capacity, quicker ability to get from point A to point B – aside: I’m stubborn. I tasted runner’s high in August when I ran a full mile for the first time and I haven’t been able to shake that feeling. I finally understood why some people turn running into a religion. There is a point you reach where it’s no longer step-after-step-after-agonizing-step. You fly. Running becomes as effortless as walking.
Since then I keep trying. I’ve run a number of miles in the last month, but none of them as beautiful or effortless. Nothing consistent. Nothing fun. Our half and quarter mile warm up runs at crossfit have been getting a little easier, but that’s it. I was ready to give up altogether on running when I came across this quote over at No Meat Athlete:
If you hate running, it’s probably because you’re not yet good at it. If you want to become a runner, you’ve got to accept that the first few runs might not be so much fun.
But your second run will be a little easier than your first. And after a week or two, you’ll start noticing gains [...]
And then one day, you’ll realize you’re a runner. That you, the last person on earth who could ever like running, actually like running.
So I decided, fine, before I throw in the metaphorical towel on running, I’m going to give it one last chance. And this time I’m going to give it the attention and space to really see if this works. That means a daily commitment. None of this once or twice a month maybe business. That kind of sporadic running doesn’t bring any results, just anger, anxiety and pain.
I will give running a thirty day trial. Using the 1k/day method, I will set a daily goal that is both somewhat challenging, but low enough that skipping it would bring more mental anguish than it’s worth. Also low enough that I could go above and beyond quite easily, if I were in the mood. And most days I likely will.
1,000 meters – or 1 kilometer – will be my baseline. Since I still struggle with one mile, one kilometer is an easier goal to achieve every day, mentally and physically.
My goal is to hit at least 5k by the end of the month. My other goal is to better my 1k running time substantially by the end of the month. This Saturday I’m going to grab a watch and see just how fast my 1k is.
But my primary goal? To find out if I can finally love to run.