This blog post is way overdue, but here goes.
I hate running.
Wait, let me correct that.
I hated running.
During my high school and college days, I used the excuse that I just wasn’t built for running to avoid it as much as possible. The farthest I ran back then was 3k and even then, it took a lot of effort just to finish. It was only when I got into the gym consistently that I realized that I need to get both stronger and faster.
Spending time at the gym almost every day, I got to meet a lot of people. And one of my new-found friends happened to be a marathoner. After hearing him talk about his experiences, I got the reaaaaally crazy idea that maybe I might try to get that marathon milestone as well.
But a marathon is no joke. It is 42km of running and my personal best at the time was only 3km. Where am I going to get the strength and endurance to add 39km to that!?
So that same week, I tried running around the clubhouse outside my home. I ran about 4km before almost passing out. Yep I still hated running.
But getting into fitness really changes your mindset. Where before I would have given up if things get hard, I was already looking forward to my next run session instead. My thoughts were: Maybe I hate running because I’m no good at it. But if I continue training, I might get better at it and hate it less.
So I kept running, and even better, I signed up for fun runs! As of now, I’ve had a few fun runs under my belt:
- March 1, 2015 – Run For Your Life 2
- This was my first fun run in years. I saw this run the very night before and read that they were taking on-the-spot registrants. Since the venue was near my house, I biked there and registered. Talk about spontaneous.
- I met a couple of veteran runners and while they were running 16km and I was only doing 5km, they still overtook me!! But instead of getting discouraged, I saw them as inspirations and they taught me a lot of things about running. Thanks, sir Richard and kuya Dominador!
- This run was so tiring for me even if it was just 5km. But back then, I had nowhere to go but up!
- March 15, 2015 – 7Eleven Run 1500
- I decided to up my mileage because I need to get comfortable with long distances if I want to get that Marathon Milestone. I was supposed to go on this run with friends but with schedule conflicts, I ran alone. This was my first run to get a medal and I think that really made the run worth it, haha.
- April 26, 2015 – Nat Geo Earth Day Run 2015
- After a month of intense training (lol), I’m officially halfway to my Marathon Milestone. This was grueling and even at a conversational pace, this took a lot of mental power. This run proved that I can actually run more than 10 kilometers. It’s not the best time out there, but I know I can improve.
- I ran with a few friends but we set our own paces. What I learned from this run is that when it comes to long distance running, the biggest enemy is mental. It’s true that your mind will give up earlier than your body so you really have to push through with it. I can’t count the times I thought of quitting while I was running. But stick with it and you end up with a cool finisher’s shirt and medal!
- May 16, 2015 – Color Manila Run Blacklight Edition
- ??:??:?? Untimed
- This run was purely for fun. One of the best part of fun runs is the atmosphere. There are so many things to see and do. Visit the booths, claim freebies, oggle at other runners. I really like the ambiance and I get hyped up when I see all the people.
- The colored powder really did a number on my clothes and shoes, but wow, what an experience it was! After the run, there was a party. It’s been a while since I fist-pumped so hard. And of course, I got a cool medal as well.
And those have been the runs I have joined. I am still continuing to run at least once a week, but I aim to increase that frequency soon. I have 2 more fun runs coming up this June and July, both are Half-marathons so I need to train again.
So what did I learn by running?
- Long distance running is a mental game – There’s always going to be a voice inside telling you to stop and just go home or that you can’t do this or finish that. Don’t listen to that voice. Push. Finish.
- Consistency is key – I shouldn’t be the one preaching about consistency because I don’t run a lot. I’m still spending more time at the gym, but this learning can be applied to any aspect in life. The best way to get better at something is to do that something a lot. The better you are at something, the better you’ll feel about yourself. Win-win!
- Don’t be overwhelmed, be excited about where you’re headed – I used to think that running 10km was impossible. And after running my first 5km and almost collapsing, I thought that I didn’t want to run again. But with some training, I finished 10km and even 21km. Now 10km is just the distance of my training. It feels great to do things that you once thought were out of your reach. Don’t be intimidated by your goals, let them motivate you.
- It’s going to take time – Right now, my goal is to be able to run 10km in under an hour. This sub-1 is my short-term goal, while the full marathon is the long-term. It’s not going to happen any time soon, but I know that with consistency and proper training, I will be able to do it. Remember, don’t let time stop you from achieving something, time will pass either way.
- Run at your own pace – Don’t explode from the starting line like a rocket. Conserve your energy and run your own pace. Don’t let others intimidate you. You’ll know your comfy pace with training and maintain it early on in the run. Save your energy for the last few kilometers and go all out once you see the finish line.
- Have fun – You will not have fun immediately, but once you get past the wall, you will enjoy. You will feel the fabled “runner’s high” and from there on out, maybe you will love running just as I did. Also, don’t forget to smile during fun runs because you never know whose camera is taking a picture of you at that moment.
These are just the things I can name off the top of my head right now. I’m sure there are more important lessons but yeah, I’m spent.
So if you haven’t tried running yet, I urge you to start. It’s a great way to sweat and burn calories. And also meet new friends. And be happier. There are so many benefits. Don’t think too hard on it, just run!
As of October 4, 2015 I have officially finished my goal of running a marathon!