All of us have fitness goals, whether we’re honest with ourselves about them or not. Maybe you’re tired of your favorite clothes getting tighter and tighter. Or maybe you watch wrestling and are starting to feel weird that the wrestlers are billed at your weight, but they have 42 abs and you look like someone put a Peep in the microwave for 13 seconds.
Believe me, I’ve been there. Health, weight, and body image can take you down a slippery, depressing slope and a lot of the time, climbing back up that slope seems impossible. But you CAN make the decision to actively make a change in your life, just like I did. I came to the door, and I opened it. And I’ve been running ever since. That was two days ago.
I’ve learned a lot on this fitness journey since it began months ago when I started thinking about running, to two days ago when I actually started. I’ve been through so many changes, and have been blessed with the benefits that come with taking an active interest in my own health. I want to share what I’ve learned with you so that you can be inspired the same way that I’ve inspired myself in the last 48 hours.
Pick the right shoes
The first step to a better you is taken exactly where you think it would be: at the mall. More specifically, at the Foot Locker across from the bench that you usually sit on while your wife shops. Except that this time, you’re not just sitting on the bench wondering why there are five different Weztels Pretzels stands in this mall. Because it’s not a very big mall, and this is a fairly absurd amount of pretzels per capita. Forget all that. Because this time, you’re marching into that Foot Locker.
Once inside, examine every shoe that is under $60. Once you have found all three pairs of those shoes, figure out which one of them is for running. Find a sales associate (they will scatter when you come in) and ask for your size. When trying on the shoes, answer with “oh dude, totally” every time you’re asked about the support so that the 19-year-old kid thinks you know what that question means.
Don’t buy the expensive socks he suggests. You can tell by the gleam in his eye that he makes a commission on accessories.
Create the right playlist
Your workout playlist will constantly be evolving and improving, much like your body after two days of hardcore commitment to and worship of Icarus. Or whichever god had the wings on his ankles. Xena? Was it Xena?
Start with a great foundation of songs to get you pumped, but don’t be afraid to make changes. We’re not perfect, after all, and not even 50 combined minutes of total running, with no mileage tracking, over a two-day period can change that. For example, Michael Jackson’s Scream is his best song and should be a fantastic addition, but somehow doesn’t work in the context of fitness. Replace it with a lot of old Prodigy. They keep a good pace, plus you get to listen to a lot of old Prodigy, like you did when you were 16. Reflect on 16 as you run. Wonder how your buddy Drew is doing, and feel guilty that you don’t keep in touch. Ignore the cramps in your side by picturing every detail of the JNCO jeans and Mossimo shirts you wore every day. You’ve come a long way since then. You don’t want to be that kid, but you would like to weigh as much as him. You’ve been running for ten entire minutes. You’re killing it.
Push your body to its limits — not its breaking point. For instance, I’ve stepped up in a way that few people have and run for two straight days. But because I know I’m no Superman, I’ll be taking a break tomorrow … and maybe the next day if my legs keep feeling like this. I can barely walk down the stairs right now, but that is the price we runners pay for personal glory, is it not?
Breaks are a natural part of life, no matter how long they can get. For example, I have been taking a break from playing trombone since 1999, and on a horror script I started since two years ago. I love that script, as evidenced by having spent the exact amount of time on it that I have running, which I also love. What I’m trying to say is not to be afraid of breaks. I’m going to finish that script, ok? It doesn’t go in the ‘discarded project’ pile, ok? It’s just a break. Like this one. Fuck you, brain.
And that’s all of the wisdom I really have to give you, my friends. Running is a way of life, and no one person has all of life’s answers. Not even me. But if you get an affordable pair of shoes, find the right music, and take an appropriate amount of breaks, you’ll be right there with me.
And we might even make it to day three.
Also remember to feed the cats. Just because you’ve added this to your morning doesn’t mean you get to cut chores.