Friday, September 6, 2013

10 Things You Learn When You Start Running

Earlier this week, my cousin posted an article on Facebook about the ten things that happen when you join cross-fit. I was pleasantly surprised and giggling as I read, not because I have ever tried cross-fit myself, but because every single item applied to running.

In my mind, I happily converted every word the author wrote into a running-related example. Here's my list, partially-plagiarized and tweaked.

1. You will find out how truly out of shape you are. I can clearly remember the beginning of my running days, and how difficult it was to run a full mile...the first few times out, I barely held a "running" pace for a minute before I needed a walk break. Here I was wearing small sizes and thinking I was probably fitter than my friends...and then running humbled me. Running has taught me to never judge others by how they look, because that dude with 30 years and 50 pounds on you may just be able to smoke you in a race.

2. You will realize how fat you and other regular people are compared to real athletes. Even training for a marathon, I avoid calipers like crazy. When I happen to see an honest-to-goodness athlete in the gym (or at a race) and they're 50 years old, toned up, slimmed down, and everything I want to be...Well, yeah. I'm definitely no elite athlete. And that's not to say that normal people are "fat", but elite athletes are seriously in a class of their own!
Keep your dignity intact and avoid these like the plague.
3. You will begin learning the lingo and using it without feeling like a dork:
  •  Fartlek
  • Tempo
  • Intervals
  • Pronation
  • Repeats 
  • Race pace
Need I say more?

4. Your friends and family will start Googling [running] and giving you warnings. If I hear one more person rant on how my knees are going to give out, or how marathoners drop dead at the finish line all the time, I may explode. Recent studies show that runners' knees and joints are actually healthy and strong, and few people die from over-exertion in running unless they have a health condition. It happens; it's tragic; it's rare. Isn't it ironic how the ones giving you the advice are always the worst of the couch potatoes?

5. You will get insanely good at counting. Figuring out your pace for beating a PR, your tempo pace, interval times, your race pace, your 800 pace, etc. takes a little mental math. Not to mention the last couple miles into a long run when you see "10.56" on your GPS and have to figure out how many miles left you have to hit your target of 13!

6. You'll begin to respect endurance and stamina. I I need to even comment on this? The farther I can run, the more respect and awe I have for those who have been running long distances since before I was even a runner. Every time I hit a milestone, I look up to see someone completing twice my distance. The ability to just keep going? That's truly amazing.

7. You will gain weight at first. Because suddenly you are rungry all. the. damn. time.
Sad truth: there were tons more food pics on my phone than just these.
8. You'll notice an uptick in energy, even when you're dead sore from [running]. The days I was running before work, I'd spend the day zippy and peppy, full of energy from the run. When I take too many rest days, my energy plummets. I know I'm not the only one! Sitting still becomes nearly impossible when in the midst of training.

9. You will learn about your mental weakness. You begin to realize, as you tack on mileage, that certain miles are harder than others. Jumping from 5 to 6 miles was tough, but 7 miles was a breeze. 9 miles was easy, but pushing to 10 - and seeing double digits - was mentally exhausting. Runners are notorious for superstition: the shoes we wear, the colors we race in, having our lucky headband, etc...these are crutches we create to combat perceived mental weakness. The best thing ever is breaking through it.

10. You will learn a lot about your mental toughness. Like I wrote in my guest post on Alyssa's blog See This Girl Run, you've got to just break down your mental barriers and learn to be mentally tough. Nike had it right all these years. Just do it. We are truly capable of doing so much more than we think we can; our minds give up long before our bodies do.

As Matt (my cousin, not my husband) pointed out, these things apply to any sport or exercise routine we undertake, especially if we stick with it long enough.
If you want an extra laugh, go read the comments on the original article. They're so negative - like most comments on things of that nature - and I just know that the negativity comes from a place of jealousy and bitterness. Nothing is stopping you, naysayers. Get out there and join in.

What would you add to this list?
What's the #1 "warning" you get about running from friends/family?



Kristina @ Blog About Running said...

"You will get insanely good at counting" sooooo true. I hate math and use a calculator for pretty much everything, but I can compute any number in my head, on-the-go if it relates to my training!

Ali K. said...

haha same! Especially if I'm figuring out a total distance for a run. I've gotten really good at piecing together routes to create new distances!

Courteney O said...

I'd add that 'You will become your own GPS and be able to tell anyone how far away 5k,10k, etc are in any direction from your house!

Liz Bierly said...

Cracking up :) LOVED that and I am going to go read the article :)

Katherine Elliott said...

I'm always hearing about people giving these warnings but everyone in my life has either been entirely supportive or held their tongues. I see articles online that bag on running but none of my friends and family do. Mostly, they seem to put me on a pedestal and insist that they "could never _______."

Girl Goes Running said...

I am cracking up at numbers 4 and 5! I had coworkers warning me of Marathoners 'dropping dead' last year....and don't even get me started about all the 'knee excuses' I hear from

Great post :D

NotRachem said...

Awesome post! I love that you had all of those pictures of food on your phone. I am exactly the same way. Luckily, in my life, I've been converting people to the running cult! :-P

keepcalmandjustrun said...

Great post! I mostly have pictures of great GF food on my phone. Ever tried Katz's GF cinnamon rugelech? Like little GF cinnamon buns!

CheapRunnerMichelle said...

Love this post!...and yes to everything ;)

Ali K. said...

Oh yes, so true!! I'm the BEST at estimating distances now!

Ali K. said...

Glad you enjoyed it!

Ali K. said...

It's so nice that your family and friends are so supportive! (I hear the "I could never..." often too, but only from people who didn't know me pre-running.) Mine are supportive, but I still get a lot of warnings haha.

Ali K. said...

It's so true that non-runners (or just non-exercisers in general) are always the ones warning me about my knees. I'm sure sitting on a couch is really good for your joints lol.

Ali K. said...

I feel like taking pictures of food is a slippery slope...first it was food, now it's constant selfies!

I must say, when comparing # of converts to # of warnings, converts probably wins! (The warnings are usually from the same people, and usually the same warning over and over haha)

Ali K. said...

The rugelech sounds super familiar...I may have gotten it from Whole Foods awhile ago! I try to steer clear because if I'm in a GF pastry mood, I go a little crazy with the spending. All the food in the pics in this post is GF!

Ali K. said...

I'm glad! Happy to amuse :o)

Michelle @ Running More Than Errands said...

I loved reading this! I am new to the running world, very very new, so while I'm still hoping I even like this running thing, i'll pay attention to if I start to learn these things too. :)

Ali K. said...

Once these things start setting in, that's when you know you've caught the running bug and will be addicted for life :o) (In a good way!)

Run like a G! said...

Awesome post!!!
I agree with most of these as well!!!!

Ali K. said...

Glad to see you back in the blogging world :o)

Tonya@Heatlhy, Fit, and Frugal said...

I love this! The one that always annoys me when I tell people I'm training for a 1/2 is "I only run if I'm being chased." Well good for you, but what does that have to do with me? The other annoying thing is when, instead of someone saying, "wow what a cool goal" they say, "you know how far a 1/2 marathon is, right?" Well, uh yes I do...I mean it's right in the title. :)

Ali K. said...

haha, how about, "How far is your half marathon?" when they don't realize that's a set distance!