I loved running. Running is cool. You see these fit and beautiful skinny people in movies, having a morning run in deep thought, with the sunrise in the backdrop. They look fit and happy and that’s exactly the kind of person I want to be.
Running hated me.
I’d run, okay jog, for a few steps and then I’d give up. I couldn’t run for even a minute. My version of a run was a really weird jog that for someone reason, is slower than my normal walking pace.
I guess, because running didn’t like me, I started to not like it back. I started to hate running. I didn’t want to run. I keep telling myself I just didn’t like it. Running is not for me.
Recently, however, things changed a little bit. I wanted to get more fit and I wanted, again to befriend running. I just kept trying. Running is the object of my affection who hates me but I keep wooing anyway. I’d put on my runners and try–maybe this time, it would be different. Maybe this time running would approve of me and say yes, I like you, I think I’ll allow you to run happily now. Maybe this time I could run.
If there are running gods, and there may well be. I think today they have finally smiled upon me. Today, I ran for a full hour at a normal pace. I did not die. In fact, I was smiling throughout.
So here I’d like to share what I usually bring to a run, first to make it bearable, and later on, to make my run enjoyable.
- Running shoes. And okay, socks. Any pair you feel super comfortable in, really. Just get yourself a pair according to your budget. According to your aesthetic if you are that kind of person. Because I like to read, I’d recommend Haruki Murakami’s (yes this amazing Japanese writer who wrote Norwegian Wood is also a marathoner) favorite brand Mizuno. And because I like Karlie Kloss, I’d recommend the brand I’m using now, Adidas.
- Yourself. The most important thing to bring to a run. Those beautiful shoes ain’t going nowhere without you. The most difficult part in running is really just the beginning. You’ll feel yourself wanting to stop. How I dealt with this was I made a rule: no matter how slow I run I will run until I finish one whole song. The song was BigBang’s Blue.
- Running clothes. Again, choose comfort. You can wear shorts or leggings, depending on what you prefer. I like to wear shorts these days because they’re easier to put on. The problem with shorts sometimes is they pull up near the crotch area. Not sure what’s happening there. I become really conscious about that at first and then, I just didn’t care. Leggings are quite good for extra compression, but it just feels like such a task to put them on sometimes. For the top, it’s okay to wear whatever shirt you prefer. You’ll have to adjust this according to the weather. I like to wear a simple Dri-fit shirt. I’m not very particular with the fit here, really but the next one is super important
- Sports bra. You’re going to need a pretty good sports bra if you want to have a happy jog, ladies. Are there boys here reading this? I feel like I should be more inclusive in my language now. Anyway, I’ll write another blog post for sports bras because that is a topic I am too passionate about. The rule here is: you need a comfortable sports bra to run.
- Phone. I do bring my phone because I like listening to something when running. It distracts me from the pain and confusion and the struggle and the hopelessness in the beginning of a run. Remember, the beginning is the most difficult, always come prepared.
- Podcasts. When I started to run, I listened to music. Perhaps, some people like music better. Personally, I prefer to listen to podcasts. Music sometimes destroys my pace because of its tempo–it distracts me too much while running. If you have the same problem, try running with podcasts or audiobooks. For Podcasts, I’m currently loving Dear Hank and John. They are two amazingly beautiful people who just inspires me to do better. (Note: today was the first time I listened to a podcast and today was the first time I reached an hour with a smile)
- Bluetooth earphones. This really changed my running game for me. After I tried Bluetooth earphones, I couldn’t go back to the normal one. The wires are horrible. It’s too distracting and it goes everywhere. I feel like I’m choking when I’m wearing normal headphones. I don’t have recommendations because I have to admit I don’t have special ears that can judge music quality well.
- A cap. This is good for in case it rains and also for focus, I think. You have to be a little bit crazy to keep moving your legs left right left right for a long time if you’re running. You’ll have to be amazing to actually smile and do it. I’m not a person who naturally smile when I started running. I was the person who cursed everybody who passed by me. I’d compare myself to them. But no more. Now, I wear a hat, put on my earphones and say sayonara to the world. When running, I focus only on myself and how I can improve.
This isn’t the perfect list of course. Maybe you only need the first three. Maybe, you even run barefoot. Running is a trial and error thing. And I guess since I started with the wooing analogy, I’ll have to say it’s similar to dating. You have to go out there, run or date, and you have to find out what works for you— which style, which pace, which shoes. You’ll learn what you prefer–you’ll learn what makes you better– as you go along. And when it turns out, you prefer going solo, that’s perfectly fine too.
Running alone is a date you have with yourself.