Have you ever noticed the following attitudes when it comes to running:
- When kids run, it’s cute (and natural)
- When teenagers to 20 somethings run, it’s either for a sport, a college scholarship, or maybe even the Olympics. It’s important whatever it is.
- When female 30 somethings run, it’s to melt off that “baby weight” or “this is my alone time without kids”. Do 30 something males run?
- When Kenyans run, it’s their culture
- When Tarahumara Indians run, it’s a discovery. They run in what??
- When 40-50 somethings run, it’s OMG!!!! What the hell are you doing??? You will ruin yourself!!
- When seniors run, it’s a damned miracle
Hands up, how many of you 40+ individuals out there have had someone tell you the demise of running:
- Knees will be ruined
- Hip will need replacing
- Runners are always sick or injured
- Family life will be upset
- Sanity will be lost because you will become one of those runners. You know, those runners, where running has become, well, a disease!!
- Health will be in the basement because, after all, running is unhealthy (note the type of person who says this tidbit of “knowledge”)
How many stories have you heard of “my doctor/specialist/therapist said….” or even “to preserve my health, my doctor said for me to find something else”.
Now what if you wait until your 40’s or even 50’s to start running? Let the barrage of opinions (well-meaning or not) flow in. How about up the ante and start endurance racing? Enter in a battery of folks with half of them who will tell you that you’re crazy and the other half will pick out your designer white dinner jacket with sleeves that tie in the back. Now what?
For starters, everyone who has an opinion, suggestion, or story as to why you shouldn’t run, is making it about them. That’s right. Them. It’s much easier to point the finger and scoff than to take a good serious look at what’s really going on (or not) in their own lives.
So what does one do when the naysayers swoop in? For starters:
- Realize that it’s about them, consider the source, and let them go. Sometimes a change in friends is in order. Not always a bad thing.
- Connect as to why you like to run. Seriously, why do you keep putting on those shoes to go run?
- Find like-minded people who also love to run. Online or in person, these people are kindred spirits and will help keep you in your running shoes.
- Get a snazzy outfit and shoes that feel and look amazing. Have you seen some of the running clothes out there? Be warned, this is an area that can get addictive and yes, I need all 20 pairs of shoes!!
- Set some run or race goals and get excited about them. Get a friend or two and make it an event.
- Have a bucket list of dream or destination runs or races. Going somewhere? See if there’s a race or run happening. It’s a good way to get a local tour, with swag and bling!
- Decide that running is a gift to you and schedule this gift in your calendar. Book you as an appointment.
- Run in areas that feed and fuel your soul. Nature is great for this. Take some pictures along the way.
- Seek out people whom you admire for inspiration. Get to know them and what keeps them going.
When it comes down to it, why do people run? For the elite and product testers, it’s their “job” and yes, they do enjoy what they do. For some it’s escape, other’s it’s a social activity, and for some it’s a cause. Ask a senior why they run and it’s because they can. Now that’s a profound answer!
For me, I run because when I do I release all that is going on in my life and be with myself wherever I am. I find solstice and peace when I run as well as inspiration and ideas. Nature is often my playground and I do run with camera so I have fun taking pictures. When I run solo (which is most often) I am the best runner in the world, and the fastest person on the planet. Translation: I let my imagination run free. But I think the big reason as to why I run is because it’s who I am and I’m connecting back to me.
Yes I sure have been given “advice”, been called a wingnut (because I not only run, but also do long distance), and have had to re-arrange my friends list. However, in the process I have made and gained new and even more valuable friendships along the way with the most important one being with myself. As I see it, and because I can, I’m in this gig for the long run. Pun intended.
For some inspiration here’s a video of Gunhild Swanson finishing Western States 2015 100 Mile Ultra Marathon with 6 seconds to spare. Gunhild is 70 years old and was the oldest person to finish Western States, a race that runners have to qualify to enter into a lottery where race entrants are drawn from. Finishing Western States is tough and even getting into Western States takes some doing.
What keeps you putting on your running shoes? Who inspires you to keep running? Post in the comments below.