Just start something: Trail running

Words by: Amanda Ciesielczyk

It’s 6 a.m. Forty degrees outside. The sun’s just beginning to rise. I should be getting dressed, lacing up my shoes and heading out for a morning run. I haven’t gone in weeks and every day I’ve been telling myself I need to just get up and go. Just get out there.

If you're running, you're a runner. You don't have to go pro to give yourself some credit. Photo: Courtesy of Brandon Scherzberg

If you’re running, you’re a runner. You don’t have to go pro to give yourself some credit. Photo: Courtesy of Brandon Scherzberg

But instead, I’m sitting in my pajamas by the cozy fire in our den writing about running.

“I am not a runner.”

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve told myself this over the summer and throughout the years. Then I began hearing this sentiment over and over again from friends, colleagues and family the last few months, my own thoughts echoed in my ears.

Then, one morning over coffee, my friend Brett from Territory Run Co. said to me, “Well, you run right? So that makes you a runner. It doesn’t matter how often, how fast or how far.”

With such a positive affirmation in hand, you think I’d be running right now! But for some reason, I still haven’t found the routine and “runner’s high” that so many of my peers seek out.

So, in an effort to jolt myself and perhaps get you motivated as well, I’ve rounded out the running dilemma into three key influences that can either keep us tardy or quick to the trailhead.

Run with friends. Run alone. Just run. Photo: Courtesy of Alex Borsuk

Run with friends. Run alone. Just run. Photo: Courtesy of Alex Borsuk

The “B” Word

I’m starting here, because this seems to be the big one. How routine has it become to get a canned “busy” response the second you ask someone how they’re doing?

There’s never enough time in the day, am I right? There’s always something more important to do, to accomplish, to check off that list than an hour-long trail run. Wrong!

Get moving — an hour alone on the trail can do wonders for your workload. It can clear your mind, bring fresh perspective and be the peace and quiet you need to come up with that idea you’ve been trying to summon by sitting at your desk and scrolling through Facebook for an hour.

That time could be better spent building a friendship, too — the emails can wait because connecting with a friend on the trail is so much better than watching their cat meow on Snapchat.

Being Good Enough

I recently came to the realization that when people say “I am not a runner,” what they are actually trying to tell you is “I am not a good runner.”

You know what? That's okay. So you aren’t an ultrarunner and you don’t run marathons and you even skipped on signing up for that 10K. Just because you don’t have a set goal, regiment and publicly declared purpose behind your running doesn't mean you aren’t a runner.

That’s like telling someone who isn’t good at camping that they can never call themselves a camper. If you like running, when you run, I’d say you’re a runner.

I run to build endurance for pursuits I’m super stoked on like snowboarding, mountain biking and backpacking. But I truly enjoy the accomplished feeling a run provides during and afterwards, and that motivates me to go on another.

So whatever your purpose for running is, just do it and don't worry about what others may think.

Finding Passion

Photo: Courtesy of Alex Borsuk

Photo: Courtesy of Alex Borsuk

Just because you aren’t passionate about running, doesn’t mean it can’t energize and excite you.

Find that spirit and cultivate it. Give yourself more encouragement for the little achievements on your run and take notice as you progress. Perhaps you love to run on the trail rather than around town. Focus on the details of running that make a run a good run, to you.

Like rewarding yourself after a run? Have that bit of chocolate. Do you run best alone? Don’t worry about saying “no” to friends who ask you to hit the trail with them. Run the way you want to run, at your pace, in your arena and know this: you are a runner.

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