Becoming a Runner During Quarantine

I KNOW, I KNOW – YOU HATE RUNNING.

You hate it, you’ll never do it, I can’t convince you otherwise, running is the last thing you’d want to do, you’d rather get acupuncture with rusty nails than go on a run.

That’s exactly what everyone says. (Not the acupuncture thing, I made that up).

I concede, I probably won’t be able to convince you otherwise. Let me just share my story:

I’ve always hated running. Running sucked. It hurt, I was never fast as I wanted to be, there were always people a lot better than me, it was hot, competitive, miserable, and did I mention – it hurt.

But welcome to 2020. Gyms are shut down. Group fitness classes (like Krav Maga, a highly effective martial art that I love) are closed. Options are limited.

Technically, I have “gone on runs” before, at various times in my life. I certainly had to do some running during compulsory education – remember that? How miserable was that? Running at elementary school or junior high, clocking our mile times… I hated that. (No wonder nobody wants to run anymore.)

But despite that minuscule amount of experience, I would absolutely not consider myself “a runner.”

So, self-experimenting masochist that I am – with options limited during Covid-19 – I decided: screw it, I’m gonna pick up running.

Well, I started up, and I used some crafty high-leverage tactics to help me get started and improve (I can tell you more about that later, if you must know). One of these techniques, though – and I kid you not, the most powerful – was going for a walk every morning.

And I should clarify what I mean by walk:

I mean, after sipping some coffee, stepping outside my house, and leisurely walking to the end of the block (maybe an entire 100 feet) before lazily taking a few deep breaths and turning back.

A stupidly easy little trick that would take me about 30 seconds every morning. I would often do it coffee in-hand.

(Side note: in addition to the vitamin D and gentle exercise, getting outside in the morning sunshine is great for your circadian rhythm.)

Weirdly enough, I started enjoying this. Looking forward to it.

In fact, I started doing this every single day.

(I dare you to experiment with this for 2 weeks and see what happens to your mood. It’s amazing.)

It soon became a cemented habit – every single day I’d go on a brief, tiny, coffee-fueled morning walk.

Sometimes I’d even allowing myself to walk further, if (and only if) I felt like it.

But something sort of magical happened. Because of this habit, going on runs became easier.

Like, a LOT easier.

Any day that I’d already gone outside on a tiny walk, it was infinitely easier to get myself to go on a run later on.

(Words cannot do justice to this phenomenon, you just have to experience it for yourself to truly understand what I’m talking about. Don’t believe me? Test it out on yourself for two weeks. Message me if it doesn’t work, I’ll help you.)

Now, a couple months later (thanks to some other nifty tactics and jedi mind-tricks, as well as some support from my dad, who frequently brings me out on runs), I run multiple times a week, consistently.

(Again – if you want – in a later post I can tell you about some of the other strategies I used to get started.)

But now, I can now honestly say this. Almost sheepishly:

I actually love running.

I’m one of those people.

Let me tell you what I mean when I say “I love running.”

I go to bed, actually looking forward to going on runs the next morning.

They give me this wonderful endorphin-fueled “runners high.” They let me spend some time with other runners and friends. And overall, they improve my mood so much that when I take a break from running for a few days – and I go out again – it’s like getting a hit with a drug that I’ve been deprived of.

It feels so good. Not as a competitive outlet (at least, not for me), not as a peak-performance type of thing, but as a healthy, enjoyable, lifestyle.

And yeah, as the cherry on top, I recently went out to clock my mile time (….yes, like we used to do back in school…)

My first attempt (again, with a little coaching and pacing from my dad), I ran a 6 minute and 7 second mile.

And just last Saturday, we went out again, and I ran a 5 minute and 47 second mile.

For me, that’s nuts. Absolutely insane.

But more importantly, I like running now. It’s something else that not only keeps me healthy, but that I look forward to.

Oh, and I would definitely say – I now view myself as a runner.

Published by Dolan

Relentless self-optimizer, biohacker, traveler, reader.

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