Think you can’t run? I feel ya, believe me. For years I chunked about thinking my size 14 curves were just part of who I was, and that my thunder thighs were incapable of transporting my body at a fast enough pace to call it a run.
I was the slowest runner known to man (and my PE teachers enjoyed pointing it out to me), and I seemed to get left behind even doing simple things like trotting across the road (true story).
I’d see people out running on Saturday mornings and literally feel the jealousy penetrating my bones. I’d always wanted to be a runner, but for some reason my wobbly legs said it wasn’t too be. I truly believe some people just have the ability to run and some don’t. For all my trying, I’d never been able to break the barrier, yet there I’d be, cowering in the corner of the gym sulking on the cross trainer when some newbie would hop onto a treadmill on her induction and casually jog for 15 minutes straight declaring she hadn’t run since before her kids were born. Like seriously wtf.
I’d been flumping around the school track for years and nada. I remember one year, year six to be exact, I thought I’d made a sublime escape when somehow my teacher managed to assign a sports day event to everyone but me. There I was fist pumping to myself in the assembly hall thinking HELL YEAH I can just sit on the sidelines like an untameable badass scoffing mini rolls and dairylee dunkers and nobody gon’ tel me no.
Somehow she realised and plonked me on the 400m sprint. SPRINT. Ummmmm what? My poor Mum. The poor little lamb had to leave work early to come and endure sports day with all the other Mums cheering on their little Olympians while I was incessantly lapped by my fellow competitors. When I finally flopped across the finish line the entire event had practically been packed up and everyone sent home. No sticker for Emma. No trophy for Emma. No participation award for Emma. No, niente, nish.
I actually have a vague memory of being told I ‘just had to try a little harder’. TRY A LITTLE HARDER? Are you kidding? I can assure you I was trying so flippin’ hard I honestly felt like my thighs were going to pop out of my pelvis and continue running off on their own. Try a little harder. PLEASE.
(Personally I think this is bullshit because if I’d gone into the dumbo class and told the kids they weren’t trying hard enough at maths I’d probably have become very acquainted with a scraper and the underside of a gum-ridden table. But yeah sure I’m just not TRYING hard enough in PE. Okay.)
So yeah. That pretty much scarred me for life and I had a fear of running ever since. I sort of accepted that it wasn’t for me, and that my poor body just couldn’t haul weight around for longer than a few minutes.
Turns out, people like me actually CAN run. And so can YOU. I actually regularly get told ‘I wish I could go running too’. BABES YOU TOTALLY CAN. If anyone knows the feeling of not being able to run it is me. Need I tell you another of the school stories? I’ll save you the pity. But let’s just say when we went to high school and met the infamous 3500m part of the athletics term, well, I pretty much had to be called in from the depths of the track as I’d ‘miss my next class if I didn’t keep up with everyone else’. PE teachers, hey. WANKERS.
I’d actually love to rock up to my old school head to toe in Nike waving a giant flag (perhaps with a marching band behind me for emphasis) and say through a giant megaphone “To all my PE teachers that taught me here between 2002 and 2009, FUCK YOU. I just ran 10k.”
Yep, it’s true. I can run now. Some days it’s 3k, some days it’s 10k. But I can run. Like the effin’ wind (ish).
The key, I think, is to let go of all the reasons you think you can’t run. Whether you’re like me and you’ve been scarred by a lifetime of jibes about your sporting abilities, or perhaps an injury or weight loss/gain, let it all go. Forget the bad memories. It’s just you and the track now.
Start small. You can only run within your means. If you can run 1k, run 1k. If it’s 500m, run 500m. When you feel like you need to walk, walk. But always keep going back to running. Some of my favourite ways to get started are these intervals:
- 30 seconds run, 1 minute walk
- 30 seconds run, 30 seconds walk
- 1 song of running, 1 song of walking (if listening to music)
- run until lungs feel ready to burst, walk for 1 minute
- 30 seconds comfortable jog, 20 seconds harder, 10 seconds RUN LIKE MO FARRAH (repeat 10 times)
- 30 seconds easy, 30 seconds hard
It sounds lame but these little intervals actually build you up really really quickly. Run at least 2-3 times a week and you’ll see a difference so fast I promise. Oh, and get decent running shoes. I’ve learned the hard way that Nike Roshe’s (while totally babetown with a pair of ripped jeans and a striped tee) ain’t a runner’s friend. I’m now rocking the ugliest, chunkiest New Balance kicks (New Balance 1260 V5 Stability to be exact), but they give me the support and shock absorbance I need to not, well, shatter my knee caps.
The Nike + Running app is also my best pal. It shouts out when you reach a certain distance and tells you your pace at the same time, so you can monitor whether to kick it up a gear or slow it down to preserve energy while you’re training your endurance. Oh, and when you’re passing a group of onlookers scoffing a Nandos in the park and it shouts out that you’ve just nailed your 4th kilometre, it sorta feels like you’ve just won gold at Rio16. Just sayin’.
If you like to run to music, go for it, but I’ve actually learned I prefer silence. I can nosey into other people’s conversations in the park, let the wind catch my hair and sort of pretend I’m Delta Goodrem in a music video, or day dream about a load of fantastical shit that’ll never happen like winning American Idol or bumping into Richie off The Bachelor and having an impromptu coffee while gabbing about life. It’s a great mind cleanser, especially for the uptight like me for whom meditation and other relaxation techniques are pretty much useless. Haven’t heard about my meditation experience? Have a read here.
Trust me, you CAN do it. And it feels really awesome when you do. Let go of everything that’d ever stopped you, lace up your hawttt running shoes and stick your middle finger up to everyone that ever told you to TRY harder, BE faster or that you’re anything less than totally rad. RUN THE WORLD, GIRLS.