Advice from a Non-Runner

‘I don’t do running’, ‘running’s not for me’ or ‘I hate running’. Sound familiar?

If you are the one with the tomato-red face who doesn’t quite seem to know what to do with your limbs, trudging along at a pace that feels kind of comical, then I’m right there with you.

I have come to realise that my negativity towards running is rooted in my perceived inability to actually run like a normal person.

Advice from running experts can be exasperating

It’s totally acceptable to have zero interest in running a six-minute mile or competing in a triathlon, so while I’m sure they are giving great advice, none of it seems to actually be applicable to me. I’d much rather high five with someone who feels the same about running as I do; happy with the fact that I will never be the next Mo Farah but sticking with it regardless - a commitment to my future self.

Setting motivational goals

So many make a marathon their first goal, often signing up to this mammoth task as the motivation to just do something. I’m curious to know why it’s unacceptable to make your first goal a straightforward one mile. I don’t expect to become a runner overnight – it’s just not realistic and so I would be letting myself down at the very first hurdle. Whilst I consider myself to be relatively fit, I am still starting to run from scratch (or at least close to it).

Hitting my stride will no doubt take time and practice - and just how much time and practice is different for everyone. I’ll try not to get caught up in comparing myself to others and even if it takes a bit longer or it’s a bit harder than it is for someone else, so what?

Run your own race.

But don’t take running too seriously

I could simply never be one of those people who would say "if you see me collapse, pause my Garmin". For many, running is a very serious matter, but this will never be me – and I’m fine with that.

A quick scroll through Instagram proves that there is a formula for being a runner which includes these signature photos.

  • Race Medal Selfie - From the first 5K to the hundredth marathon, it’s an iconic must have photo

  • Running watch photo – for those days you have a really great run, people need to know!! 

  • Looking down at running shoes - you need to see the super cute outfit and trainers before heading to the shower. Bonus points if there are leaves or a pet in the photo too!

  • Sunrise - That’s right, you get up before the rest of the world and like to prove it!

  • Kit flat layout - Standard night before a race.

They might not make me a better runner, but they will certainly prove I run.

Racing and obstacles?

The use of the word ‘race’ induces serious anxiety for the less hardened runners like me.

I am reassured thought that obstacle course races are more inclusive than the title suggests. All participants receive a finishers prize regardless of their time. Races normally start in waves to let the faster runners whizz off in front leaving the rest of us to move at a pace suiting our own levels of fitness. The obstacles along the course also takes the monotony of one foot in front of the other out of the equation, making the actual running part a vastly more pleasant experience.

Regardless of age or gender, I am told there will always be a sense of unity and camaraderie amongst obstacle course race participants. This infects others into running their own personal best, but without it being competitive in nature. 

And this is why I run (or at least attempt to!).

Guest Post by Sarah Morris