Who Wants To Be A Runner?

It happens now and then. The fact that I run marathons comes up in casual conversation. Someone in the room, upon learning the distance involved, exclaims “I’d love to be a runner, but I couldn’t do one mile. Never mind twenty-six.” (It’s actually 26.2 by the way.)

Here’s a secret: When I started a few years ago, my goal was to go a quarter mile without walking. I didn’t make it.

In time, however, things changed. The cardio and muscular systems slowly adapted. I gained a bit of knowledge and started hanging out with a bunch of marathoners. I hired a coach. Eventually, covering a fair amount of ground during a workout was routine.

Therein lies the secret to becoming a distance runner. Start small. Be consistent. Keep challenging yourself. Latch on to a mentor or two. One day you’ll look back and realize that you’ve made accomplishments which you never thought possible.

(The principle applies in other areas of life as well. Growing a career; mastering a skill; building wealth. But those are topics for a different venue.)

Only one ingredient is really necessary – desire. So if that describes you, then lace on some good shoes and head out the door. It doesn’t matter how far or not far you get.

Yes, your lungs may burn – walk home and try again tomorrow.

Yes, your muscles may be sore – use an icepack, maybe take an NSAID, and try again in a couple days. (But don’t push yourself to the point of injury.)

Keep it up, and see what happens in six months or so.

One more thing: Congratulations. You achieved what you wanted. You’re a runner.

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