Rule #1: cardio
Running is like having a baby. Everyone wants to offer advice.
It’s natural. Our bodies are made to do it. There should be no instruction needed. We have all the requisite parts. just do it
Except sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Like having a baby, sometimes folks need assistance with running. Technology, doctors, councilors… Petri dishes, medications, headaches…running can be just like that. Frustrated thoughts like, “Why is this so easy for everybody else? Why can’t I do this one supposedly natural thing? What’s wrong with me?”
I feel that way sometimes. Like I’m caught, perpetually, in the Running Through Jello dream. My legs are so heavy, my hip flexors are concrete. My brain won’t engage in the run, only whine in protest and pain. Each footfall is punctuated by “stop.quit.stop.quit.stop.”
And nothing anybody says ever makes it any better.
I’ve learned to not say anything about those runs. I don’t want to hear, “your diet is wrong. Are you hydrated? Did you stretch? You weigh too much. Change your music. Deep-6 your shoes. Get up earlier. Work your abs.” I know those things, hearing them from someone else just pisses me off and makes me never ever want to run another step.
When I need advice, I ask for something specific: what do you think I should change about my socks? What about coconut water?
(people offering advice about childbirth and children mean well…but holy diaper cream, Batman, they never shut.up!)
The thing is…real runners, the ones who struggle and fight to take the first steps, they understand. I understand. We get it. When you’re having a bad running day, all you want is a good running day to prove that you’re not a biological anomaly.
No matter the effort, once a child is brought home instincts take over. Love, encouragement, shelter, nourishment…no one has to tell you to cuddle your baby, change the diaper, stare at him while he sleeps. Your heart is now in those tiny, miraculous fingers. Running has instincts, too (just as stinky, but no less joyous). You learn what feels good, what movements are efficient, what clothes work, what music you enjoy.
…and once you figure out your groove with parenting and/or running, unsolicited advice grates terribly in the nerves, doesn’t it?
A real running friend will never tell you that you’re too slow, too fat, or too “tight in the hips.” A real running friend will roll with you through the suck and say only one thing:
“Good job today. You want some food?”
…they will listen to the bitching, the foot-slapping, the “I’m hungry”s, the excuses, and the “I quit”s. a real running friend won’t stomp you down because they know. They know that sometimes you have to slug through 2 miles and sometimes your ten-miler was not as bad as you’d feared. They understand the high that comes at 6 miles and the rapture that only peanut butter and jelly can bring. They know when you really are done and when you really just wish you were done. They know because they run. They know because you are them and they are you.
Anyway, insults and nagging?! Eff off. I’m having a bad enough day without adding your sanctimonious poop, thanks.
If you want cold advice, read books. If you want camaraderie, join a running group. If you want a t-shirt, sign up for a race. If you want to have a good run…well…bad as I hate to say this, and I’m only saying this because I care about you, and take it or leave it, and if I were you, and what’s always worked for me is:
Just do it.