Confessions of a Non-Runner

I am not a runner. Period. All my life I’ve watched runners go by looking so peaceful, happy and full of energy and I’ve wanted to be like them. They look like they actually enjoy running. Like it’s the best part of their day instead of the worse. I want what they have. The only problem is that I’ve always hated running. I can go to spin class, dance, boxing, hike Africa’s tallest mountain and do just fine, but then I’d head out for a run and last about 4 minutes before feeling downright miserable, achy and mad and decide that walking is more my speed.

This summer I decided to try to tackle this problem. Perhaps a non-runner could be turned into a run-lover. After all, I’d watched enough seasons of the Biggest Loser to see less-than in shape people find their ability to run. Surely I could find my running mojo deep down, right? So I started this program called couch to 5K by Cool Running. Basically it is a 9-week program to get non-runners like me off the couch and able to run a 5k (3.2 miles) without walking in a brief 9 weeks. I was also hoping that being able to run that long without stopping would equal enjoying running for that long but…. well I’m getting ahead of myself.

J immediately argued that I was starting out way too slow. After all, I already work out 3-4 days a week so I wasn’t exactly going from “couch” status to start, but I wanted to do the program exactly so I started at the beginning and did exactly what it said.  My first confession: it’s been longer than 9 weeks and I haven’t finished the program yet. With summer travels and my other workouts, sometimes the run (surprisingly enough) gets left out. Go figure. Last week I ran, for the first time in my life, 20 minutes without stopping. Ok ok… I did stop once. I walked across 2 driveways, then thought about how J was gonna ask me if I made it without stopping and felt guilted….er… convicted to keep running. I’m guessing at my rate I barely hit 2 miles but hey, who’s measuring.

And did I enjoy it? Nope. My foot felt weird and tingly and every part of my over 30-year old body wanted to give up. But I did it and I was proud of myself. I started the program running slow 60 second intervals and weeks later I could run 20 whole minutes. This week I’m supposed to up it to 25 minutes. I’ll be honest, I’m not excited at all about running that long. I still get bored when running. Does anyone else feel like that? And of course there is the issue of hurting along the way.

So while I still have visions of myself going on long 10 miles runs looking happy and free all along the way, I think I have to accept that I’m still a non-runner who is just trying her best to run. I might look like I’m in pain most of the way but at least I’m doing it. I’m pushing myself and seeing results. I suppose that’s the point, really. Am I doing a 5k at the end of all this? J had been pushing for that all along but I never really thought about it. Being able to run a 5k was always more about just being able to run without stopping in case I’m on the Amazing Race (yes please) or being chased by a bear (no thank you) than paying money to run with a few thousand people. We compromised and signed up for a mud run — a local 5k with about 25 obstacles along the way. Silliness paired with running is definitely more my speed. Apparently I need to make cargo net crawls and running through pools of mud part of my training now. Awesome.

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7 thoughts on “Confessions of a Non-Runner

  1. Alexis! I have SOOOO been there. I got into running because I wanted to like it, not because I actually did. And because runners, as you said, always looked so healthy, fit, happy, and free. First of all, I disagree with Jason. Starting out slow is THE BEST thing for you. Many beginner running coaches prescribe that. It’s a totally new activity for you, so you have to ease into it or else you’ll continue to hate it. Secondly, give it time. It takes from 6 months to a year, I’d say, to actually get to that point where you feel like a runner and start to enjoy it. But the wait is worth it. Lastly, find a partner to ease the boredom (Movin’ Shoes has weekly runs on Monday from their Encinitas store) or make some good playlists. Keep me posted on your progress!

    1. Thanks, Jen! You totally look like one of those happy runners that I was talking about. 🙂 I’ll keep going slow. It helps that I run by the beach. I feel like stopping to watch surfers for a couple of minutes is a perfect reward. You guys should totally do the mud run with us!

  2. I’m with you. Those runners don’t know that they are exploding with free radicals. Hope they are refurbishing with plenty of antioxidants. A good walk at a healthy pace just can’t be beat–unless it is a dance class. What about zumba??

  3. Alexis,
    I could have written these same words 🙂 It’s been almost 3 years since we moved back out here, and I swore I’d become a runner (just like my triathlete hubby) b/c I could run by the beach. I’m at the same 25 minutes straight, maybe 2.3 miles, and then I’m bored, tired, and over it 🙂
    I’ll hope you get to your 3.2 mile goal before I do!

    1. Yeah I don’t know why we thinking being on the beach will make running less painful! Ha! It’s hard to keep up with our triathlete hubbies. Jason runs a mile in under 7 minutes so there is no way we are running together.

  4. Yes I feel that way about running: hate it, it hurts, and I’m bored. The only exercise I don’t get bored with is pilates classes or reading my kindle on the bike. But good for you for challenging yourself!

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