Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Running Scared

So my little boy, Jackson, got himself a 'boo boo' the other day (I know, I know, the Americanisms are infiltrating the vocabulary of our household at a rate of knots). He was running down the street on his way back from the park and he fell, grazing his knee. After the obligatory "Up you get then!" style encouragement from me wasn't working, I resorted to cuddles and a liberal smear of 'magic cream' for his knee, which seemed to do the trick.

After his nap, we decided to go to the park again (when it's on your doorstep you've got to make the most of it). As we were getting ready he said "I'm not running anymore, Mama".

"Why not?' I said, 'Because you got a boo boo?".
"Yes", he said, "I'm scared of running".

Now this is coming from the boy who runs EVERYWHERE.
He's a toddler.
Toddlers LOVE running.

With this in mind, I asked him "Do you remember when Mummy went running and she fell down and got a boo boo?" (I fell flat on my face a little while ago. It was neither pleasant, nor pretty).

"Yes", he said cautiously.
"Well, I didn't get scared of running. I love running. It's so much fun. Don't be scared, everybody falls down sometimes".

And with that, the subject was dropped and we carried on getting ready to go out.

When I started this blog, I asked a few of my friends for their feedback. Many obliged, and I found it incredibly useful, not least because one of the comments got me thinking about writing this post.

My friend Sarah was really sweet about the blog and told me it had really struck a chord with her. She explained why:
'I really think I want to get into running more. My fear is that I won't enjoy it enough and I will hate it once I start - I think the thought of failing scares me a little!!'
So here's what I think about that:


The trick is not letting your fear prevent you from trying something you may grow to love. Oh, the things I wish I'd done in my pre-child life, when I didn't have to juggle babysitters and maternal guilt just to get my legs waxed (but let's not go there). At the end of the day, if you don't try, you can't fail and I think that's why many people, me included, put off things that scare them, because they don't want to feel a failure.

If you're reading this and thinking, "look I like the sentiment here, but running's just not for me", then find out what is for you. Find something that you're scared of and give it a go. Blogging is something that I've always wanted to do, but it scares me silly to actually put anything out there. If you had any idea how petrified I get when I'm about to publish a post, you'd wonder why I bother. And while I'm sure there are some readers who wish I hadn't bothered, at least I'm trying. At least I'm exploring the new despite my fear.

But back to Jackson, as he has some advice for Sarah, and anyone else thinking about taking up running, too. There we were, on our way home from the park for the second time that day, when Jackson announced that he wanted to get out of his pushchair. To run. As he climbed out he said

'I'm not scared of running, Mama. Running's good.'

And off he went. Flying down the street, arms out to the side like an aeroplane, laughing his little head off.

Jackson has a point. Running is good. It's not meant to make you feel like a failure or like you're not doing it right. It's meant to make you feel free, like a toddler does running down the street. When Jackson gets out of breath he stops for a little while until he's ready to run again. He doesn't push himself to the point of exhaustion or frustration, because that wouldn't be good. Or fun. Jackson loves running because he likes how his body can make him go fast. He likes putting his arms out to the sides and pretending to fly.

Seriously, would you take advice from this lunatic?

Now I'm not suggesting that you impersonate an aeroplane when you run (unless of course you want to). Nor am I implying that running is effortless. It's hard to begin with, and you have to put a fair bit of effort in to start seeing results. If you haven't run for a long time (since toddlerhood maybe?), you'll need to give your body a chance to catch up to what you want it to do too. So take it slowly - not too fast, not to far - and give it time.

'They say' that 21 days is long enough for something to become a habit. Well 'I say' give it 3 miles, rather than 3 weeks. With a good
Couch to 5K running plan under your belt, you'll be running 3 miles in just over 2 months. 2 months. That's a drop in the ocean in the grand scheme of things, and you'll be able to run 3 flippin' miles!

Then just decide. Decide if running(or whatever else you've tried) is good for you. If it's not, that's no failure on your part, because you tried, and you found out. But if you're lucky, by the time you've made your decision you might have experienced moments when you've felt like you're flying too.

So don't be afraid to fail, or fall (like me and Jackson) and you might just find that you like running so much that frankly, it scares you.


Ro @ MommyMindSpa.com said...

Wow ... great post! I love talking about fear! Fear is such a good thing!! It helps you grow in wonderful ways when you tackle your fears! Thanks for posting.
New follower from MBC!
Ro :)
Have YOU had your Mom-ME Moment today?

Veronica Lee said...

Hi! Stopping by fom MBC. Great blog!
Have a nice day!

Actually Mummy... said...

Great post! You have inspired me to get back out there. My son smacked his head on the swimming pool floor today and has an egg-sized lump. Once he got over the shock all he was concerned about was that he missed most of his lesson, and can't wait to get back in the pool. And so he should, because I have never seen anyone look so happy as he does when he is swimming.

Sarah said...

OK, OK. I have signed up for the 5Ks and I have packed my running gear for some beach runs in the UK. Happy Now ;0) xxx

nikki said...

hello, found you through bmb.
i wish i could run, i have a knee injury though, the best i can do is a funny fast(ish) hobble! would love to take part in charity runs, but i just cant. love the goggles pic, hilarious and cute.
nikki xo


Sandy said...

Excellent post! My new years resolution was to do something that pulled me out of my comfort zone. I've been in protective mode, afraid to get hurt, for so long that I have not been able to learn and grow either. Funnily enough, I had thought my new adventure would be taking on a marathon or maybe even a sprint tri...instead it's brought me to blogging. Who knew? ;-)

MonicaB said...

Wonderful post! This is very inspiring and so true. I wouldn't sign up for a 5K because I was afraid I would run poorly, but I finally said even if I walk the race it's better than not doing it at all.

Sarah Fitness said...

I'm kind of in love with this post! I agree, running 3 miles comfortably is a great goal, and from there, you can do ANYTHING! And your little one is very wise!

(Also, I am a new follower from Jill's Blog Hop! Happy to have found you!)


Courtney said...

Love this post, I am going to feature it tomorrow on my weekly running ramblings (but i dont have much followers since i am new so it wont be much!)

I agree on giving running 3 miles and do a race. Because once you complete one and you do it, it helps keep your self going! running isnt easy and we have ups and downs but its nice to get up and keep going!

Carrie said...

Doing a race is such a huge motivator. Thanks for the reminder to get out there and tackle a fear.

Found you from Fitness Friday.

AnMiSu said...

Great post! Such a good lesson to remember. You're never too young or old to have fears and face and overcome them.

Stopping by via the Fitness Friday blog hop.

jillconyers said...

Great post and a "well said" to the running wisdom of your little boy.

I'm right in the middle of new is scary, but not about running. I need to stop giving into my fear of failure.

I'm sure this post will be helpful to anyone scared of running (or anything for that matter). Very inspiring!

Thanks for linking up this week!

Life…as I see it [Fitness, Health and Happiness]

Jennifer said...

great advice! Thanks! :)