The mudroom thermometer reads 99 at 9:00am.
The mercury will inch to 105 today, and I am ever-so-reluctantly slumping out the door for a four-mile run. I wish I was doing something else. Anything, really. Melting SPF 50 is already stinging my eyes, and the moisture-wicking top I paid too much for is damp and sticking unattractively to my belly. I’m still in my kitchen.
I’ve never felt less like running. There are a few people in this world who love to run miles and miles, the hotter the better. Just for the record, I am not one of them.
The skill of running long distances (5K or more) may not be one you desire to hone, but I will dare say that being able to run just one mile opens up so many fitness avenues. When you add the athletic skill of being able and willing to run, you kick that stubborn fitness door open a whole lot wider.
“…yeah, Kim…I’m not really a runner….” is a phrase I hear so often from nervous athletes who are considering an All About Athlete workout. I hear you loud and clear, terrified souls. You, like most sane people I know, don’t prefer burning, puking, gasping and being lapped by all the other svelte gazelles who “really like to run”.
But athletes, if it’s a well-rounded fitness you are after, you must be able and willing to run at least one mile. It all starts with a few steps.
A mile is not a long distance, folks, and most of us should be able to run one without requiring serious medical attention of some sort.
You don’t need to run five miles in a row in under forty minutes to be a runner. If you can run just one mile, nice and steady without stopping, you are a runner. If you can change speeds a few times in that one mile, you are on your way to becoming a good runner.
Many of us who hate running have never been taught how to run properly. We punish ourselves and run too fast. We run alone. We flail our arms, slouch, clench our fists, and slap our soles on the concrete. We don’t know how to rest while moving, how to breathe, change speeds and negotiate hills.
And so we fail.
Frustrated, bored, hot, cold, sore, injured and discouraged, we decide we really, really hate running.
Yet, running is not learned in one fell swoop. It is a skill best learned incrementally and over a years-long period of time. It’s best learned in a team setting, but since one can’t always have a team or a coach, one trick is to play little games while you run.
Today, I’ll share my trick for when it’s 105 degrees, and you might be in a foul mood as you lace up your kicks for a solo run.
I call this game “Run the Sun.”
It’s quite simple, actually. As you travel down your roadside or trail, run when you are in the sun, and when you are in the shade, walk. As you run the sun, run a little faster than normal. When you walk the shade, take your time and breathe small prayers of thanksgiving.
After all, we have been given breath for this day and there is so much to be thankful for.
A run, no matter how dubious or awful at the start, always reminds me of this.
It’s why I love to run.
Joy to you this day as you run the sun,