I fell in love with running the day I ran my first half-marathon. No, let me rectify that. I actually started to really adore the sport the moment I crossed the finishing line at that memorable first half-marathon. The endorphins had kicked in and, with my participation medal around my neck, I felt as though there was nothing that could ever stop me in life. It was late August 2006.
Running changed my life. It enabled me to connect with myself. It took me by the hand and helped me to believe in myself. It showed me that if you put in all the necessary effort, great projects can become a reality.
At first, it’s hard. Everything is hard. Personally, I sort of admired runners and definitely found them inspiring. How did they manage to run like that? What were they running after? I’d also always been in awe of that famous scene in Forest Gump where Tom Hanks just keeps running and running simply because he felt like it. Running after life itself, running after oneself, running after infinite opportunities, running after one’s potential, running after one’s well-being. You have to be a runner to understand runners. That intense craving to get out and run, to get that dose of wellbeing you come to need. The blood madly pulsing through your veins reminding you that you’re alive. That feeling of being full of life and that unbelievable boost of energy that overcomes you right after strenuous exercise. Doesn’t it make you feel invincible and ready to take on any challenge life might throw at you?
I’m head over heels in love with running. When I’m training, I sometimes get to the point where I hate it for a few moments. Those moments of agony when I start asking myself why I’m doing this and those moments of pain, which I know will be beneficial in helping me achieve my goals. Running hurts, but it’s for our own good that it hurts. No pain no gain, as they say. Running is like giving birth: it’s painful, but you’re always ready to start all over again. Ha! ha! ha! If you get up off the couch and give your legs a good workout, you experience a variety of emotions worthy of some of the greatest scenes in the movies. It’s easier to never start running at all than to tell yourself that one day you will. But, you’d be missing out on a myriad of opportunities.
The key is to start. One day at a time. One step at a time. Take things gradually. Run for one minute, walk for one minute, repeat 10 times. That’s what beginning to run is all about, that’s how you get started. There’s no right or wrong way of going about it. It’s just baby steps at first. But taking those first steps is key. 10 minutes. 15 minutes. 20 minutes. What did you do this morning? I had a 15-minute run. It would make you feel so proud, right? One day, if you’re interested, you may be able to say that you went for a short 5K run, 10K run, 25K run… just for the fun of it.
But, you have to start at the beginning. And then keep at it, never stopping and never looking for excuses. (It’s so easy to not go for a run.) Make a date with yourself, with a healthy lifestyle, with feeling great, with your wellbeing, that’s the true source of motivation. You do it for yourself. It’s in your diary and you do it, just like you’d keep an appointment with the dentist. As I often say, you’re the most important person in the world… in your eyes. That’s why you need to look after yourself. Because if you don’t, who’s going to do it for you? Nobody.