One of the misconceptions about running by non-runners or wanna-be runners (of which I count myself) is that those skinny, athletic people at the gym running away on the treadmills have it easy. We assume that they didn’t have to work to be thin or fast or to gain that endurance. We assume that they were just gifted by the gods with the gift of athleticism, and we resent it.
And we use it to excuse our lack of effort. After all, they don’t have to work to run, unlike us. I have to fight out every mile-against my body, against my traitor mind that gives me a hundred excuses why I’d be better off calling it quits. THEY don’t. Those girls that wear skin tight pants or butt shorts. THEY were running miles in the womb. THEY’VE never been overweight or out of shape. Not that they did anything to deserve that. Those skinny people.
And that assumption doesn’t bother them. But it hurts us. How do you know that thin, athletic-looking girl on the treadmill next to you didn’t use to be an overweight teenager that fought and clawed her way into shape–one gasping mile at a time. How do you know that fit middle-aged woman across from you doesn’t have 6 kids and a full time job, not to mention a sick mother-in-law? And that muscle-bound 40-year old man who is using the stair-stepper? He could have had a heart attack at 35 that scared him straight into losing 90 pounds, and he can barely recognize himself in the mirror.
And that tall thin girl across from you that runs a steady 30 minutes every day? She would much rather be at home taking a nap or reading a book. Her legs hurt, and she gets so thirsty. Sometimes her son adds to her reasons to quit by whining WHEN is she going to be dooone? Sure it looks easy (probably because she’s running so slow), but you didn’t see her a year ago when she could barely run 5 minutes without stopping to walk.
Running is hard. It’s hard for me. It’s hard for you. It’s hard for everyone. So stop excusing yourself from a workout, because those other people at the gym make it look so easy, and it’s so hard for you. But you know what? It’s always worth it. I’ve never finished a run and wished I had done something else. How many things can you say that about?
All those people you imagine are looking down on you and laughing at your lack of fitness, are probably applauding you in their heads and maybe remembering what it was like when they started running. Nobody is laughing at you. Everyone has to work at getting better.