Some people were born to run. For the rest of us, here are 8 things to remember when you’re running, hate it, and want to quit.
1. The business of life is the acquisition of complimentary race t-shirts. As long as a commemorative t-shirt is involved, the race is worth it. No article of clothing is as satisfying to wear as a t-shirt that has been soaked with the achievement of your blood, sweat, and tears.
2. At the end of every run is a mountain of food. Occasionally you will need to create the mountain yourself, but if you end up competing in races, bottled water, basins of fruit, bags of carbohydrates, and foil-packaged granola bars await you at the finish line. In this one case, food can, in fact, replace the support of loved ones and fans.
3. The more you run, the more junk you can eat without feeling guilty. If you’ve ever wanted to eat a carton of ice cream guilt-free, run for more miles than you thought physically possible. When your quivering, exhausted body craves food and is on the verge of collapse, fuel it back up with all the anti-diet foods imaginable. Hello, pancakes, eggs, meat, and potatoes, with a side of French toast and, of course, your beloved soft-serve ice cream.
4. Exercising is a good reason to treat yourself to exercise swag. Fitness magazines say that cute workout-specific gear helps you stay motivated. I say that eventually, your supply of free college t-shirts will run out, so go ahead, splurge if it helps, especially if from all this running you end up losing weight.
5. Every stride brings you one step closer to being able to survive in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games made us confront our worst gym-class fears in a very mortal way. By training now, you prepare yourself for the day that you may be pitted against your fellow man in a contest to the death. More realistically, you’ll be better able to defend yourself (or run away) if you’re mugged or attacked by a wild animal.
6. Long runs provide the perfect opportunity to catch up on your audiobooks or rifle through your old playlists. Did you know you could listen to that book you keep falling asleep on while reading? Or listen to playlists from your middle-school years? Those songs got you through your angst-ridden puberty, and they’ll help you get through this run.
7. If you keep going, the runner’s high will kick in eventually. It’s the natural way to kill pain, banish sadness, and achieve euphoria. All right, technically you need to consider a couple other factors, like how strenuous your run is and how hard you’re pushing yourself, but if you do it right, you will be rewarded.
8. Victory comes from within, but medals help. A friend told me that the great thing about running is that it’s an individual sport. You challenge yourself mentally and physically and reap the pleasure of accomplishing those goals. But occasionally, beating other people in races and picking up some medals also helps. If you’re so motivated, find a run where there aren’t that many people in your competition category, and go for it. It’s not cheating; it’s strategy, because sometimes when you’re down, you need to remember what it’s like to win.