I can't run. I'm a not a runner. I hate running. If you see me running, something must be chasing me. Have you ever said any of these statements? Have you heard any of these statements? Are you chuckling or smiling because you have heard or said all of them?
Alright, you've heard and said these and deep down you want to be a runner. As you drive through your neighborhood and you see someone is running do you wish you could do that?
Well you can! Let me let you in on a secret. These runners often walk from time to time and that's all right. Some actually walk more than they run. There is a reason that most of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Series sets the half-marathon finish time pace at an 18:09 per mile pace. That is a walking pace and when the competitors cross the finish-line they get the same medal as the runner that crosses the finish-line running a 5:30 per mile pace. Each finisher earns the same medal, crossed the same terrain and they will forever have a kinship. They will forever have an unbreakable bond and understanding of what it takes to arrive at the starting-line and cross the finish-line.
Give your self-permission to walk.
Giving yourself permission to walk will free you from the thoughts of I'm not a runner. Giving yourself permission to walk will allow you to wrap your head around the fact that you can be a runner. You will begin to tell yourself I can do this. I want to be a runner!
Let me let you in on another secret, it’s hard for everyone no matter how easy they make it seem. A mile is 5,280 feet no matter how fast you cover the terrain.
Once you join the running community you are a runner. You will greet people as you cross paths long before the sun comes up. You will high-five strangers. You will give a reassuring nod as you make eye contact with another runner. You will give or receive words of encouragement as you embark on a steep climb. You'll enter and finish a local 5K (3.1 miles) and talk to a stranger and discuss the run or the shoes on your feet. You will congratulate and be congratulated by strangers. Why? Because you are a runner.
Meb Keflezighi came into the 2013 New York City Marathon with a lot going against him. As he got to the later stages of the race his lack of training caught up to him, causing him to stop and walk. He could have stopped completely, he could have put his body first. But he didn't. Meb chose to push on and worked with a local Staten Island runner to honor New York, Boston and all those who's lives were lost in the past year's tragedies.
Never apologize for your pace. Own it! It's yours. Compete with yourself and realize you have become a runner for you and no one else. Your friends will ask about running. Don’t say it's slow, followed by an apology. You put in the work and remember whomever is asking wants to run too.
You have become a runner to prove something to yourself. Nothing else matters.