How to Run

Because you’ve been doing it all wrong.

I always thought I was a slow person. Because being slow is not just an attribute, it’s a personality. I hated to run, I wasn’t motivated, and I lagged so far behind that I was merely a spec in the distance to the front runners (pun most certainly intended). I was a slow person, and it actually had very little to do with my athletic ability, but rather my methods as a runner. But I’m not a slow person anymore, and here’s why.

Motivation

Whether from the salivating mouth of a coach (who was ironically plump) or inside your own head, you’ve heard it all too many times: You have to get motivated! If you don’t want it, you’re never going to get there! Well, I didn’t want “it”, I wanted results. I quickly realized that my desires weren’t being met through my efforts, so I quit trying. The truth is that you don’t have to want it, but somebody does.

If you loathe running to the very marrow of your bones, but envy in-shape people in your arteries and veins, than make someone else motivate you. When I was in junior high, that someone else was my callous, merciless coach. My own conscious could never screech at me with more intense passion than I had ever known, “Faster! Faster! You’re better than that! Do you even want to be on this team?” But she could, so find someone who cares about you but doesn’t exactly show it in a very affectionate manner. Quick tip: Don’t choose a parent. I know people, and they care way too much what their parents think about them. If they comment on your form, it’s much more likely that you’ll belch out about how they correct your every mistake than to simply consider the remark while your running. This rule especially applies if you are indeed the emotional equivalent of a hormonal teenage girl.

Competition…You Need It

Are you a competitive person? I don’t care, because competition is essential to running for multiple reasons.

  • What’s the worst thing that could happen? You could come in last, horribly embarrassing yourself and rendering your efforts an utter waste. Are you going to quit just because “you’ll never be as good as the others”. Well, that’s what your heartless mentor is for. In my case, I was fortunate enough to have one of those horribly critical, but logical coaches. I could’ve walked into practice with a broken leg and within five minutes of intense screaming, I would feel that a fracture was only a minor impairment and hardly a reason not to run.
  • What’s the best thing that could happen? Well, you could win, boosting your self-esteem and showing that your ruthless training is making a difference. You could also improve upon a previous time, showing self improvement, which is more important than outside competition (no it’s not, but it is if you are just learning how to run using the right methods).

What Doesn’t Kill You Won’t Kill You

I know the feeling. Your sweating profusely, an indescribable side stitch strikes, and your arms simply cannot swing back and forth. Your energy is at an all time low and you probably won’t ever eat again. That’s around the fourth lap. I used to think that it stopped right there, but really it doesn’t. You have to push through the pain, and I know that the saying is so trite that it’s pretty much lost all meaning, but when you get out there, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Because the side-stitch is curable and you will eat again. In fact, you’ll feel way better eating that half-pint of ice cream later on when you could justify it with the mile you ran.

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