When people think about running, or just exercising in general, they think there’s some crazy and complicated formula behind getting started (myself included), mostly because they don’t know how to begin. They don’t want to start until they feel like they know what they’re doing. More often than not, that’s the reason why people quit before they even get started.
But guess what? That magical and complicated formula doesn’t actually exist. Getting started comes down to two things:
- How badly do you want it?
- Can you take it one mile at a time?
Yes. It’s that simple. I’m not trying to trick you!
Life is busy and it’s hard. Good, but hard. There are so many different responsibilities that need our time and attention and I totally understand why people have a hard time exercising consistently and make it part of their routine. I’ve been there, I get it.
But I also firmly believe that if you want something badly enough, you’ll do what have to do to make it work. So maybe the reason you haven’t been able to get started, or the reason why you fall off track so quickly is because you just don’t desperately want to become a runner. Speaking from personal experience, it took me 21 years until I got to the point where I wanted it bad enough. Let me tell you, it was NOT going to happen before then.
Now the one I’m particularly awful at is taking it one mile at a time. I’ve struggled on and off with anxiety since I was 8 or 9 years old so I can get overwhelmed easily sometimes.
Like right now, for instance. All within the next three weeks I’ll be finishing my classes, fixing up my resume and portfolio, starting my job hunt, taking my drivers test, graduating college, running my sixth half marathon, moving from New Jersey to Florida AND start shopping for my first car.
While these are all incredibly great things that I’ve been waiting for and dreaming of for years, it’s still making my head spin when I look at all of it at once. But this is exactly like a race. You can’t think about mile 10 when you’re on mile three. You throw yourself off balance and you never make it. What we can do though is worry about one thing at a time. First I’ll finish my classes, check that off and start polishing up my resume to send out. Then I’ll move on to the next thing.
The best part about running is you don’t need to know what you’re doing to get started. I mean, you COULD read all my blog posts and I’ll definitely have you prepared, but when it comes down to it no one ever knows what they’re doing.
I had no idea what the heck I was doing when I decided to sign up for a half marathon. And that’s kind of relevant to everything I’ve ever done in my life. One fall morning in 2013 I woke up and my first conscious thought was “Okay, right now is when I need to apply for the Disney College Program,” after not giving the program a single thought since the past summer. A week later I got my acceptance e-mail and I had to tell everyone in my life I was moving 17 hours away for an internship they didn’t even know I applied to.
Running was kind of like that too. I woke up one morning and made a big choice and I stuck to it and figured it out along the way.
I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing, but it was the best choice of my life. In this moment, I still don’t know what the heck I’m doing. In fact, the one thing I DO know is that I will never know what I’m doing
But that’s when the magic happens and lives change. We challenge ourselves and try to accomplish something and that’s when we grow.
When you decide you want to be a runner badly enough, you’ll make time for it. And then, you’ll take it one mile at a time.
You can’t worry about week 12 of the training plan when you’re on week one. Start small, and start now. There’s never going to be “the right moment”.