The first step is always the hardest. That applies to just about everything in life. Some days, starting a run is extremely difficult. Some days, I have trouble putting on my running clothes and getting out the door. But once I’m outside and I start running, I know I will complete my run. Once I warm up, that is.
Warming up is very important to me. I never stretch before a run like I once did. I reached an age when the warm up alone seemed so tedious that I didn’t want to run afterwards. So, now I never stretch before a run, but rather start out running slowly and gradually settle into my normal running pace. I usually warm up after a mile or two, depending on many factors. But once I’m warmed up, my run is very enjoyable.
When I was younger and I was running a weekly twenty-miler for marathon training, I didn’t always have the motivation to go out and run that long run. Some days, I would feel like quitting at six miles, but I would tell myself that I had to finish my long run if I wanted to improve my marathon time. Amazingly, I could will myself to keep running and then a few miles later I would pick up the pace. Honestly, before I even began some of those long runs, I didn’t think i would finish them. On a few occasions, I felt so good that I ran twenty-six miles. And I could have kept running on those days, but I didn’t want to overtrain.
Over this past winter, I had a few days when it was extremely cold and snowy that I wanted to quit even before I ran the first mile. But, I recalled my youthful determination and willed myself to keep running, to keep putting one foot in front of the other, until I ran nine miles. All I had to do was warm up. Once I was warmed up, running was easy. Well, maybe not easy, but easier.
Warming up also applies to other things I do. For example, I didn’t feel like writing a blog post this morning, but I would not have felt good about it. So, I started putting one word in front of the other until I reached the end. Once I was warmed up, I finished this post.
And now it’s time for me to go running. I hope I warm up quickly.