My first official run not involving a game of tag was in the seventh grade. It was my first (and last) day on the Paul Hadley Middle School Track Team. I dragged my body around the hot, rubber track three times, went home, cried, and never came back to that (or any) track again.
In high school soccer training, I ran my first mile, and it only took me sixteen arduous, humiliating minutes. Despite my lack of talent or enjoyment, I pushed through four years of high school soccer, and surprise, my time on the JV team never made me a “runner.” I was never addicted. I was never good, and I definitely never enjoyed it. Running was something for really in shape people, the crazy ones with major thigh definition. Running just wasn’t for me. Then, two years ago, my last year of college, a fickle idea entered my head.
I would become a runner. It didn’t matter how slow or how long it took, but I was determined to become the person who casually goes on a 3-mile run date (with a super hot guy) and finishes without tears.
Flash forward two years, and although the super hot guy hasn’t snagged me yet, four half marathons have. More than that, running has improved my life; it’s a source of confidence and a source of joy. What? Yes, I enjoy running. And let me make it clear, if I can go from a sixteen-minute mile to a half marathon, so can you. Whether you want to make it a mile without stopping or do an iron man, you are capable of great things. And great things should be enjoyed! Not only can you do anything, you can have fun doing it, even at a snail’s pace.
With that in mind, here are six ways I enjoy my run, and I hope they help you, too, wherever you are on your journey.
Turn Up The Tunes // Music makes the time and your feet fly. Oh, and pick the music you like. Some people really enjoy fast paced remixes, while I tend to enjoy slower songs that I can get a little lost in. Young The Giant’s “My Body” is my current favorite. Literally, danced in the street to this one yesterday.
Invest In New Gear // Let’s start with the shoes. Everything else is fluff. Shoes make the difference between pounding pavement and bouncing on little clouds of encouragement. New gear is also a great treat for completing your goals. Plus, there’s an entire world of running clothes that are so comfy that you’ll be wearing them every time you aren’t running.
Admire The View // I have a friend who says, “there’s no better way to explore a new place than on a long run.” I live in Malibu, and I understand that not everyone has an ocean view and mountains to run around and explore. But even when I ran in Indiana, I would explore downtown or an old railroad path. Of course, always be safe. They make runner’s mace, you know, and don’t let me hear about you running alone at night. (I can only imagine how proud my mom is reading that sentence.)
Do That Race // Go ahead; sign up for that race where everyone dresses up or gets super muddy. “Racing” is one of the most satisfying parts of being a runner. The community of people you meet, whether avid marathoners or first time 5-kers, is incredible. There’s nothing quite as inspiring as crossing a milestone with thousands of strangers, so do it.
Team Up // My dear friend and I started running together, making it to 15 minutes without stopping on our first run and have since completed 3 half marathons together. Running with her makes it fun. It’s basically a coffee date, but without coffee and lots of ice cream afterward.
Release The Endorphins // Enjoy moving your body and watching it become capable of things you never dreamed. If you feel like walking, walk. If you have a bad run, forget about it. If you miss a run, it’s okay! Just keep going the next day (or the one after). When I started, I walked, I ran, I got outside, and I got better. What if that’s all it takes to become a runner? To become a little stronger than the fierce individual you are? And even if you decide running isn’t for you, enjoy the run of life. Savor the air pumping in and out of your lungs, build a community of people you love, and most importantly, laugh the whole way.
Hilary Miller is currently an MFA student in Screenwriting at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. When not not watching, writing, or talking about movies and television shows, she can usually be found making crock-pot creations, laughing, talking too loud, running, devouring a good book, eating, racking up cellular bills chatting with her bomb family, sticking her toes in the sand, or wishing she were Hermione Granger, sometimes all at once. And while part of her heart is still in Indiana, the rest of it belongs to her puppy, Estelle Getty.