The Race Goes Not Always to the Swift, But to Those Who Keep Running*

Running PhotoBut what does running have to do with writing, or horses, or the military, or any of the other things I normally blog about? Well, running is a part of who I am. I started running in college to try and unsuccessfully chase away the freshman pounds, but I didn’t become a dedicated runner until my first year in the Navy. I found that besides the health benefits, running gave me time to think, a peace of mind, and that there really was something to that whole endorphin-high rumor. I made many running friends, entered numerous fun events, explored new trails and sights, AND fit into my clothes better. I loved the solitude of a long run and found that answers to questions came to me while running that I otherwise could not figure out. I owe a lot in life to my running habit. As the title suggests, I am not a fast runner, but I have kept going. I’ve met people who have been discouraged by running, so since it is National Running Day today, I thought I’d offer my personal advice for what has worked for me. And all this for free!

  1.  Start slow. Real slow. Even if you walk a minute, then run a minute; some start is better than none.  This was probably the key to me continuing to run when I became dedicated. I had always gone out too fast, became completely out of breath, and thought “this sucks.” Start slow and build. If you can breathe while you are running, you’re more likely to stick with it.
  2. Listen to music you like that will motivate you. Bonus:  you also can’t listen to yourself breathing hard or hear the cat calls from your adoring fans.
  3. Buy good shoes; don’t skimp here. If you don’t know what kind of shoes to buy, go to a good reputable running store with knowledgeable salespeople and ask. Replace shoes every six months once you regularly use them.
  4. Find places you like to run – parks, running trails, bike trails, neighborhoods, gyms, your own treadmill – and break up the routine. If you like where you run, you’re more likely to do it.
  5. Finally, set you OWN goals, not someone else’s. Are your goals to improve your distance or time, or are they to ensure you are doing something good and healthy for yourself at least a few times a week? Are your goals to run in every local park? Do you want to complete a 10K?  Or are you motivated by ensuring you squeeze out at least a few hours a week just for you? Whatever your goals; make them yours, adjust them accordingly, and keep a running log to see your patterns.

What better day for a new start than National Running Day? If the President has time…and Oprah had time…don’t you?

*Author unknown, but in reference to Ecclesiastes 9:11


  1. Great post, Valerie! I agree with everything you said. Finding the way to do it that makes you happy is the key to continuing. Well, that and understanding how not to hurt yourself. LOL! 🙂