Getting Back into Running

“Oh now there’s a runner right there,” she commented as the tall athletic woman in workout clothes walked into the room.  For some people, it can seem apparent that they work out, that they know what they’re doing, and that they are no beginner in the world of running.  That can be very intimidating for those who don’t necessarily know what they’re doing or know how to start. The fact of the matter is that we all have silent battles we’re fighting that others have no idea about, all they see is a lady who seems to know what she’s doing on the track and in the weight room.  Comparison can truly steal one’s joy! But it is so important to remember that just because it looks like that girl knows how to run her life perfectly doesn’t necessarily mean that it is true. In any case, getting back into running or even starting for the very first time can be tough!  The mental barriers surrounding working out are real and when we start looking around at our neighbors thinking we don’t measure up, it makes things even tricker.  

First things first, you’ve got to know who you are and be grounded in your identity as a woman of God.  Once you know who you are and who you come from, it makes it easier to accept yourself just as you are. Running shouldn’t be used to change yourself in any way.  Sure, it’s a great way to stay healthy and glorify God. But it should be used as just that: a gift to show thanks for the gift of your life. That can also help to lower unhealthy expectations that we may put on ourselves through when working out.  Wanting to be in good health or hit that particular PR can easily be skewed into an obsession with the number on the scale or committing harmful practices to look or perform a certain way. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be stronger and faster, goals are great motivation tools.  But, there is a thin line that should be observed in order to avoid injury and destructive habits. Running is such a gift that not all people get to experience and if you are feeling the desire to run then that too is a gift from God, so use it! Run to be in good health, run to relieve stress, run to be social.  When you pray, check in with God to ensure your motives are good. He will clearly let you know if you are running the straight and narrow (no pun intended ;)).

So how to start the actual act of hitting the pavement?  Nike got it right when they said “just do it.” That is all it takes. You just have to get out there and take it one step at a time.  Whether you run for 5 minutes or 5 miles, it doesn’t matter because you did it and you are a runner! There is no secret runners society you have to join to be a runner, you become a runner when, wouldn’t you know it, you run!  It doesn’t matter how fast someone else may be or how much more they cross train, you too are worthy and deserving of the same title as they are:  runner.

It can definitely be hard to get yourself up and running on those days that you just don’t feel like it.  On those cozy rainy days it can be especially hard to drag yourself outside and get a workout done. In times like those it’s helpful to have a community to lean into for support.  Whether it’s a girlfriend you call to join you on your evening runs or a whole gang of sidewalk joggers that will run right by your side, having that community and accountability is key.  Perhaps you are struggling to find people that live near you to join you on runs? Turn to the online community for strength! There is a whole slew of women from Catholic Women Run that are just bursting at the seams to support you on your faith and health journey.  Oftentimes my sister in law and I would check in with each other as accountability for completing a workout. A simple text of, “help I need to workout but don’t want to!” can link you up with someone else and you two can complete your workouts in totally different places but still be in solidarity.  

Facing the fear of failure is another thing that holds many people back from starting.  The thing about failure is that you are only failing if you don’t try. Trying takes great courage and the first step is usually the hardest. Once you have taken that first step you know you have already defeated the biggest lie in your head: that you couldn’t do it. By not running and not pushing yourself mentally and physically, you can easily become very comfortable.  As much as we would like to stay in our comfort zones there is no growth found there. Just as Pope Benedict XVI says, “the world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.” Putting yourself out there, trying new things and not being good at them and still trying- now that is what makes someone great.

Kristin LaBruzzo (or better known as Kritter) is a cradle Catholic, wife, mom, runner, sweet potato and ranch advocate, sports lover, ocean swimmer and secretly introverted lady who is obsessed with all things athleisure. She graduated from Franciscan University and taught special education high school students for a year before being promoted to stay at home mom. Now with a second child on the way, she oftentimes finds herself escaping into the pages of a good book, pounding the pavements for some alone time, or standing in the sweet grace of the Eucharist in adoration. Oh and of course binge watching some Netflix or busting out a board game with her husband. She is eagerly awaiting the birth of this next child so her running shoes can once again be set free to roam the streets and shoreline of Ventura, CA with just a small babe in tow. What a beautiful life this is, making our way back Home. You can connect with Kritter on Instagram here or read her blog here.