I’ve talked about my hopes and disdain all the same for running, here, here and here, to be exact. I’ve always marveled at runners – how the idea of pounding on the pavement for 26 miles sounds fun, how they’re drenched with sweat and covered with pollen yet they have a ‘runner’s high’, how they consider it FUN when really, it’s effing hard and I’m not sure how I understand how it’s so awesome that people like my office mate wake up at 5 AM every morning to jog around Los Angeles before the sun comes up. I mean, really? What’s better than being in bed? I guess health??? Anyways… despite my skepticism about running, tonight I think I might have unlocked a big reason to why me and running don’t always get along.
I have the high school mentality of running, where in my high school gym teacher would scream, “FASTER!” as we looped around and around the track. I felt like a chubby bunny chasing a carrot, except there was no carrot, just cruel, cruel exercise. On days when I didn’t lie about having cramps to get out of it, I hated the days we’d run “the gold course”, a three or four mile loop that circled around the back of the high school. My best friend and I actually liked the gold course, because we’d be really fast in the beginning, and then stop behind the school, slacking off for awhile, and then cut across the field and pretend we finished with everyone else. HA! I’ve been an exercise avoider for many years — for shame, but also, kind of awesome. Slacking off in PE class was pretty much the worst thing I did in high school, so I’ll take it.
Tonight, I knew I had to squeeze in some exercise, so I donned my fancy FitBloggin’ tee, cranked up the Nine Inch Nails, and set to it. The first few minutes I wanted to die (ok, slight hyperbole. Maybe not DIE but at least go back into my cozy little house and eat tortilla chips from the pillow-sized bag we just bought from Costco). I could feel my boobs jostling uncomfortably with every step, my arms were itchy, and I just couldn’t find a pace. I was out of breath and my chest was pounding within seconds but then I realized something. SLOW DOWN. I slowed down. My bootcamp instructor used to tell us “You can jog as slow as you want, just don’t walk.” So I jogged reaaaallly slow. Like almost speed walking slow, but enough that I had a little bounce in my step. And it got easier. I made it a half mile without stopping to walk, actually starting to feel like, “Hey! This isn’t so bad!”. By the second mile loop, I was doing much better; enjoying the smell of a neighbor’s wood burning stove, seeing the stars light up the smoggy hills of Los Angeles like twinkling sapphires, feeling the pulse of the pavement below me as my body settled into a natural rhythm. So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong with running, I’ve always focused too much on the speed rather than the quality. By slowing down, I was able to keep it up for much, much longer, still get an awesome, sweat dripping work out, and even better, I actually enjoyed my time on the run, rather than how I usually feel, which is trying to run away from running.
When it comes to running have you found you need to alter your pace to make it more enjoyable? Are you more of a sprinter with a need for speed or are you fine being all like “Slow and steady wins the race”?
PS: Whatcha doing tonight at 9:00 PM EST? Join me and the Diet to Go ambassadors on twitter with hashtag #DTG for a live chat with a chance to win tons of cool prizes. We’ll be chatting it up about what it means to be “common sense healthy” and how little tweaks can help you make big changes for your summer shape up. Hope to see you there!