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Why we run: Encouragement for early runners

The secret to the joy of being a runner.

It Doesn't Get Easier

That wasn't what you were expecting me to say, was it? But it's true. Even after all these years, running still feels like fire in my lungs, and rain on my face, and wind pressing me back like malevolent titans that wish me ill for simply bearing the name of Achilles in my heel. It's still cold when the snow falls, it's still wet when the rain pours, it's still hot when the sun swelters in late July. And I love it. I love it all. The fire, the rain, the wind, the wet, the hot, the cold. Because the secret to running is not that it gets easier. It's that you get better.

The fire in your lungs becomes your fuel to the finish line. The rain becomes your mid-marathon shower. The snow quite simply makes you feel like a Norse god (unless you breathe through your nose and then you may feel more like Sneezy from Snow White and Seven Dwarfs).

It may seem overwhelming right now. So just take a step, and then another, and then another. Because the beauty of running is that despite all the fancy chartreuse compression gear and the rhetoric of footfalls, and heel to toe this, and minute per mile that, it's really just one foot in front of the other. Over and over and over again. That simple act of two feet trading rhythm back and forth is what clears and cleanses your brain cells. You trade internal struggle for an external struggle. In the process, you realize that a baptism of perspiration takes place that purifies the sinful vanity of thinking that those pre-run problems were ever problems at all. After only 3.1 miles of the Earth holding you up, step after step, you realize that the Earth is still holding you up even after you've stopped moving.

Like I said, it's not easy. But it is simple. Take jog. Not a long one. Make it a game you can win and don't be a hero. Failure isn't a short run. In fact, as Tony Robbins says, "there is no such thing as failure, only results." Don't be ambitious for endurance, be ambitious for persistence. Jog for a 1/4 mile, a 1/2 mile, whatever you're comfortable with. And then go drink some chocolate milk (they didn't tell you about the chocolate milk did they?). The important thing is to keep going. Never stop getting better but don't force yourself to take giant leaps. Don't overestimate what you can do in a day, but don't underestimate what you can accomplish in a year.

To be a runner is to feel both invincible and uniquely humble. We, as runners, require no special tools or talent to enter into the sanctuary of toil and tranquility. But at the same time, we have nothing else to offer. Only ourselves. It's all we've got. When you run you realize... that's all you need.

So use an app, a friend, or just start running. Tie up your laces and take a step. It's all you need to start. I'll see you out there.