The hardest part about being a new runner is finding the light at the end of the newbie tunnel. Sometimes when you’re just getting started, it’s hard to stay motivated when every run feels like an uphill battle. Then when you see other runners who “just” ran 13 or so effortless miles, and can’t help but think that you’re doing something wrong. Becoming a runner requires patience while you build strength and mental will. Eventually you will reach a point where running is not only easier, it becomes addicting. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “I was bit by the running bug.” Well here are 9 things new runners can look forward to when that happens
1. You stop feeling self conscious.
As a new runner, I was self conscious and terrified of being judged. I was so afraid of being seen struggling through a run that I would walk and run an extra mile around my neighborhood if my neighbors were outside. There will come a day when you stop feeling self conscious and you’ll stop apologizing for being “slow.”
2. Finding the fun in pain.
I never imagined that I would actually tolerate and, dare I say it, enjoy the uncomfortable pain that you experience while on a run. But the day I realized that discomfort meant that I was getting stronger, everything changed. That realization helped me find a way to lean into uncomfortable pain instead of giving up or pulling back. Strength doesn’t develop overnight. You have to work for it.
3. You start to enjoy being sore.
This goes hand in hand with #2, but eventually, you’ll discover that you feel oddly satisfied when you’re sore. The other day, I was walking like the Tinman from The Wizard Of Oz after running every stair in the Hollywood Bowl 3 times with the November Project. My friend asked me if I was okay. Instead of feeling self conscious about walking like a zombie (See #1), I grinned like an idiot and couldn’t have been more proud of the fact that I was sore. I know, it’s sick and weird.
4. Looking at a hill and thinking, “I am going to eat you alive.”
Recently, I decided to do hill repeats on the giant hill. When I was a new runner, it was a hill that I couldn’t run halfway up if my life depended on it. It was the first time I’d gone back to that hill since moving away to New York City. I ended up doing 8 hill repeats and after I finished, I was speechless. I couldn’t help but think about how much stronger I’ve gotten since my first year of running. Which leads me to…
5. Remembering the days when running felt impossible.
Words fail to describe how proud you feel when you remember the days when running felt impossible. It’s a very surreal and rewarding moment.
6. Feeling like you could run forever.
If someone could figure out a way to bottle and sell those really amazing runs when you feel like you can run forever, that would be great! The day you take off and feel like you could keep going forever will change your life.
7. The first time you surprise yourself.
Last year, I met some fast friends who helped me find a balance between pushing myself and having fun. I started showing up to their track workouts. One day, my speedy and supportive friend Chloe Lasseron convinced me jump into the workout. I clocked a 7-minute mile and when I got home, I cried. I couldn’t believe I could run that fast. But amazing things happen when you push yourself to see what you’re capable of. Surprise yourself every once in awhile. It will refill your motivation tank.
8. When you run your very first race.
I remember mile 9 of my first half marathon. I didn’t think I was going to make it and I almost quit. Then an amazing woman who was running her first half marathon as well came up beside me and helped me get to the finish line. I remember sitting on the floor of the parking lot after we finished and telling my sister that I actually felt like a different person. It was the first of many life changing moments thanks to running.
9. When you finally call yourself a runner.
Any runner will tell you that it doesn’t matter how slow or fast you are. It you run, you’re a runner. But it’s not that easy! I didn’t feel like a runner until I ran my first marathon. I meet runners all the time who say that it took them months before they started calling themselves runners. I think it’s because running is so much more than just a hobby. It becomes apart of your identity. I understand why some people struggle to call themselves runners. Sure, we know they’re runners, but some need more time before they’re ready to assume that identity.
Being a new runner isn’t fun! I’ll be the first person to tell you that getting started isn’t a cake walk. But there is so much that you have to look forward to when you become a runner! Running isn’t impossible. It just isn’t easy. Keep putting one painful foot in front of the other. It will get better, I promise! Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.