Shoes on. Laced up. Door locked. Watch on. Start running.
That’s all it takes right? Well it’s probably all that it should take, but I quickly found in 2002 after years of finding ways to avoid running that if I was really going to commit to this sport there was a whole lot more involved and it was going to change me in ways I couldn’t even begin to imagine.
8 Things I was Unprepared for When I Started Running
We start running for a lot of reasons. Maybe it’s to lose weight (that’s why I started). Maybe it’s a fundraiser. Maybe it’s a really bad way to lose a bet.
Whatever the reason, I think most of us have no idea what’s about to happen. Not just to our bodies (oh our feet), but to our minds, our free time and our wardrobe.
Whether you’re just figuring out how to start running (hint read this beginners guide) or a long time runner, I guarantee you’ll be nodding your head with many of these or perhaps having your eyes opened to what’s ahead.
1. Becoming more comfortable with bathroom talk
My husband and I still have separate bathrooms. We do not leave the door open. It’s like Las Vegas, what happens in there, stays there. HAAAAA. And yet as a runner, you just can’t avoid conversations about how to handle that need to go feeling, why people love their pre-run coffee, where to find porta potties and so much more.
2. Massive amounts of clothing air drying around my house
When I started running, I bought cotton t-shirts from garage sales because I knew I was going to ruin them anyhow. I washed, dried, rewore and discarded when stink appeared. Now, oh no, no my friend the gear has had a major upgrade.
Which has lead to racks all over the place to try out this fancy fabrics that I want to ensure last forever! Unfortunately they often still get to a point of stink even when I take care of them the right way!
Adding to that:
- missing socks are a bigger deal due to their cost
- running shoes outnumber regular shoes
- sports bras outnumber regular bras
- workout gear is always in a bag ready to be used
3. Pushing myself to do really hard things by choice
Very few of us toss off the covers each morning declaring “I can’t wait to do something super duper hard!!”. And yet that’s basically what running is for me even after 16 years. Of course some runs feel great, but it’s always hard because we’ve always got a new goal and new way to push ourselves.
Once I realized I could not only do hard things, but could feel rewarded by doing them, I stopped avoiding them in other areas of life. Like quitting the big corporate job to do the blog full time or climbing the wall when every limb in my body was quivering!
4. Clarity could be found in movement
As the meditation trend takes hold, I am all for it, but I know there’s an added way to get some clarity: go run.
I’ve written all about how mindful running and meditation are different, so I don’t be up in my grill about that. What I’m saying is in those first years where all I could think was “how will I take the next step?” and “why does everything hurt?“, I never would have imagined that while running I’d find a quiet peace.
Some days on my run I write entire articles in my head, I do complicated math problems, I plot out our next vacation and come up with solutions to major world problems. But just as often, I find my mind slowly slipping in to a soft quiet space. I’m focused in on just this moment, the movement, the feeling and then when all is really well not really focused at all.
5. Preferring an early Saturday morning to a late Friday night
Friday nights with friends soaking up the drink specials while a no name band strummed away in the background was a fabulous evening. But it didn’t take all that long for me to find, I preferred the dark o’clock feeling of Saturday morning long runs.
I found other ways to connect with my friends like running, long walks, hikes or when we’re both too tired for that a healthy lunch. The connections were deeper and felt more lasting, though there is NOTHING wrong with heading out for a crazy night, it’s just less appealing most days than a great night of sleep and treating my body the best I can.Sometimes it's better not to know things before you start - but these 8 unexpected results of running are both funny and inspiring! #runchat #running Click To Tweet
6. Pain wouldn’t be a reason to stop
I’m sorry did you say that I might actually be in pain and not cry?? As my orthopedic explained last year “runners have a warped sense of pain”, which is why sometimes we take things a bit too far and keep running through pain.
Let me be clear, I once fell over on my bike after taking off the training wheels and laid in the driveway crying for at least an hour. I mean at some point nothing about that cry was remotely real, but I wanted someone to acknowledge my boo boo!!
Yet as runners, we’re constantly faced with deciding what’s actually pain and what’s a mental barrier of discomfort that we need to push through. It’s an incredible skill we develop that helps in so many areas.
7. Tan lines were for watches as much as swimsuits
Summer has me realizing that once again I’m developing the standard runner tan lines…white feet, a watch line and oh my shorts. Years ago I worked hard on my swimsuit tan lines all through my college summers!
I’m sure running isn’t solely to credit with changing how we spend our free time, but my active lifestyle lead my husband to choose more consistently active hobbies. That lead both of us to wanting to find ways to explore on vacation that didn’t involve sitting in a bus!
8. Running would become the reward
Like I said, I started running to lose weight and to go on a road trip to the Nashville half marathon. BUT that also meant I equated miles with food!! Mmm a 10 mile run meant extra pizza or extra cookies…and we see why so many people gain weight while training.
Overtime I wanted to eat better so that my runs would feel better and then suddenly one day I realized I didn’t need a reward for showing up. The run itself was the reward. The way it made me feel. The way it helped me achieve my other goals. The way it kept me consistent with fitness.
If I were really hip, this is where I’d say “don’t get it twisted” because we all know that Amanda still eats a piece of pizza once a week and she eats dark chocolate everyday! But I don’t need a reward to will myself out the door…though I might excuse a new pair of running shoes for hitting certain mileage goals.
What has surprised you about running?
Other ways to connect with Amanda
Instagram Daily Fun: RunToTheFinish
Facebook Community Chatter: RunToTheFinish
Get more running tips: Pinterest