National Running Day: How to Become a Runner

June 1 was National Running Day.  As an expert on running and timely blog posts, I thought that today seemed like the perfect day for a how-to guide on becoming a runner.

If you follow these simple steps, you can join me atop the pinnacle of fitness:

Build Your Base

Before you start an official training plan, you might want to establish a base fitness level to prevent injury and keep you motivated.  Alternatively, many runners (e.g., me) shunned this approach in favor of nearly 30 years of complete inactivity.  As long as you are willing to put up with intense pain and hours/days of discomfort your base fitness level doesn’t actually matter much.

Find Some Running Partners

Running is always easier when you run with friends.  You’ll feel more motivated to get outside and more terrible about yourself when you stop to rest.  It’s important to have a variety of running partners because, if you’re anything like me, you’re really really really annoying.  If one running partner tires of your jokes and complaining, and tells you that (s)he never wants to see your face again, just call someone else!  If your running partners tire of your jokes and complaining during a run, I suggest running with people slower than you.  It will be more difficult for them to run away. 

Think Positive Thoughts

Runner’s World recently published an article stressing the importance of mantras when you run.  I could not agree more.  As Yogi Berra once famously said, running is 90% mental and the other half is wicking shirts.  I’ve developed some of my own mantras that help push me through those long grueling runs:

– God you are slow.
– Am I still breathing?
– Why am I doing this?!

Choose a Race and Set a Goal

Lots of people will tell you that for your first race the most important thing is to go out and have fun.  NONSENSE.  These people are not only ruining your development as a runner, they are also probably ruining your life.  Running is about setting goals and failing.  If you do not fail, you didn’t set a reasonable goal.  Go out and find an ultramarathon.  Just trust me on this one.

Run For Charity

Once you’ve picked your race, I suggest running for a charitable organization.  Pick a charity and immediately start sending daily emails to everyone you know requesting donations to the cause.  Not only will you feel like you’re actually doing something for society, but you will also improve as a runner because

a) No one will ever want to talk to you again (creating more time for fitness),
b) You have to refund all the money if you do not complete your goal, and
c) The charities will literally send a child, who no longer gets to go to camp, to sit on your front porch with sad little eyes and nothing left to believe in ever again.  If you deprived the child of a trip to camp, he may take up chasing you as his source of physical activity (increasing speed).

If you follow these simple tips you’ll soon see yourself transform from this:

To this:

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