Running is something a lot of people do and a lot more people wish they could do. It requires discipline, stamina, proper equipment, and strength of spirit, not to mention time and motivation. But the beauty of it, which is something you may not know, is that absolutely anyone can pick up this hobby on a shoestring budget. It may take you a little time and effort, but believe it or not, it could be you running one of those benefit races for charity without huffing and puffing five minutes in. At this very moment it may seem impossible, but really, it’s completely obtainable – and not even as long as you would imagine.
Let’s say you’ve never run a second in your life. I hadn’t either. I was often out of breath after a few accelerated steps and I would wind down, put my hands on my knees, and just breathe. I gave up time and time again because I was convinced my out of shape self was incapable of ever running for more than ten seconds, and I would move on to other activities that I half enjoyed and did only to stay fit.
But one day I revisited the idea of running. I found a REI coupon code online that got me some excellent running shoes for a good price that made me feel like I was walking on clouds. Then instead of running my hardest for 30 seconds, I ran my slowest for a minute. And when I say slow, I mean slow – I ran slower than I could walk. But I did it because I knew that I hard to start somewhere, and start somewhere I did.
Within a few weeks – yes, weeks! – I could run for five minutes straight at my snail’s pace. My cushy shoes still felt amazing whenever I got into them, and that encouraged me to keep going even when I didn’t feel like running. I kept working at it, stayed hydrated, bought some pony tail holders to keep my hair out of my eyes, and encouraged myself quietly while I ran. It felt good and amazing – like it was something I was always meant to do.
Quickly, I became a running addict, and it went from something done every few days to something done absolutely every day, otherwise I felt as if I was missing something. Within a year I could easily run an hour at my snail’s pace, and half an hour at a true running speed, one that made me feel like there was a cool breeze blowing constantly, even on hot days.
Why should you run?
Everyone needs to start running, and not only because it’s awesome. It keeps you fit, healthy, and is relatively cheap. Even if you run often, you’ll use roughly two pair of running shoes a year. If you wait for shoes from last year to go on clearance, and then find a coupon for your favorite merchant, you should be able to get two pair of running shoes for the cost of one.
As a bonus, you can spend time with friends, your dog, or your neighbor as you run down the sidewalk, down the street, or in a local park or forest. Not only does this activity make you feel amazing, it helps you feel more in tune with your body and the people around you, especially when you recruit them into running, too. You can run anywhere, anytime, at any pace, with anyone. There is no better exercise.
So, in the words of a famous shoe company: just do it. And do it today. It’s never too early (or late) to start your healthy addiction to running.
Sarah Stovall enjoys running and is currently training for her yearly 5k. Maybe one day she will be ambitious enough to attempt a marathon.