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The Non-Runner’s Guide to Running

I think by now it’s pretty apparent that I’m a crazy runner. I love talking about running just as much as I love actually doing it.  And while I try to place all the blame for how I turned out on my parents (who are crazy runners themselves), the truth is that I really only have myself to blame. You see, there are four girls in the HOTR family, and of the four of us, I’m the only one who has fallen off the deep-end.

So what happened to the others? What was it like for a non-runner to grow up in a running-obsessed family?? Hell, I’m sure… (haha just kidding Mom & Dad 😉 ). Over the years, I think you learn to adapt. And with enough time, you can sort of trick yourself into becoming a runner.

Just ask my sister. Today, she is here to share her secrets with her second guest post. For all of you out there who hate running, or don’t consider yourself a runner, this post is for you!

I am not a runner. Running and I have always had a love/hate relationship. There are days when I wake up and excitedly think, “I am going to run today!!” (Which in all reality happens once a month. Maybe). And on those days I run with a smile, breathing in deeply and thinking about how amazing running feels. And then there are days (most of them) when I know I should go running, but it takes every ounce of my will to drag myself out there. And on those days, I trudge along hating every minute of running. (Cue gasps of outrage from blog readers.)  I know what you are all thinking: “Umm…doesn’t she know that this is a running blog?” and “This girl must be lazy. She doesn’t know the true joy of running.” I know, seriously. The second one may be true.

Nonetheless, growing up in a running family basically means that you will be running whether you like it or not.

“Oh, you want to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve? Okay, well then you better run a mile in under 12 minutes!”

(Let it be known that I was 9 years old at the time…)

Some of my earliest memories are of races, family runs and wearing an embarrassing t-shirt to my 5th grade class that read: “Running’s the Drug, I’m the Addict.” Yes…running is “in my blood” and I can’t seem to be able to escape it.

So what’s a non-runner to do when she knows she needs to run? Well have no fear! Over the past 17 or so years that I have been running, I have developed a (not so much) fail-proof guide to running. It would be selfish of me to keep these amazing techniques a secret, so I have decided to share them in the hopes that non-runners everywhere can experience the joys of running, fooling runners around us into thinking we are “one of them.”

Christina NationalThat’s me on the left, leaping running alongside my sister during the National Marathon

The Non-Runner’s Guide to Running

Tactic #1: Have something more important to do and then use running as a procrastination tool.

Yes it may be more important to finish that big project for work or your entire master’s thesis, but when there is a deadline on the horizon I always feel as though it is the perfect time for a run! Sure you may get fired, or not graduate, but trust me, you will have your best run when you are “running away” from a bigger responsibility.

Tactic #2: Tell yourself horrible things will happen if you do not keep running.

Scenario: I’m running along and I am exhausted. I must have gone at LEAST 10 miles by now. Okay, so in reality it’s more like 3, but it feels like 10. I want to give up, but instead my terrible motivational thoughts kick in! “Christina, do you see that dog in that yard? That dog will DIE if you do not finish your run!” This gives me a few minutes of renewed energy. I will not be the cause of that dog’s death!! This lasts for about ½ mile until my renewed energy slips away. You know what? That dog looked really old…it has lived a happy life… the dog’s the one being selfish…making me keep running…I think it’s fine if I stop. Every dog’s gotta die sometime you know! Maybe it would have worked better if my threat had been about a child instead…

Tactic #3: Threaten yourself.

When threats against innocent, but random dogs stop working, you know it’s time to turn the threats on yourself. “You know what Christina, this is it. If you do not finish this run you are not eating ice cream tonight. Seriously. If you do not earn the dessert than you do not get the dessert!” Nothing is a more serious threat to me than my ice cream. I need to eat it every night to feel as though my night is complete. Therefore, this threat really gets me going for a bit. I just bought a new carton of cake batter ice cream and you better believe I’ll be scooping myself a big bowl tonight. I’m really going now. I might even be chanting “run for the ice cream, run for the ice cream” in my head. But then the other voice in my head kicks in, “Okay so you’re totally going to eat that ice cream tonight, even if you stop. I mean, who is really going to stop you?” I try to tell the voices to shut up, but I know they’re right. I mean, my parents should have made me a t-shirt that said, “Ice Cream’s the Drug, I’m the Addict.” It would have been a lot more accurate. Who am I kidding, nothing can keep me away.

Christina FrozenYo

Tactic # 4: Make up magical scenarios in your head.

When my sisters and I were little we had a mile running loop that went around our neighborhood. Our parents would send us off on a run and we would make sure to tie our shoes as loosely as possible so that we’d be forced to stop and tie our shoes at least 10 times along the way. Lauren and I also came up with “magical leaves” to get our younger sister to keep running. We told her that whenever she felt tired running, all she had to do was reach up and grab some leaves from a tree. Then, when she squeezed the leaves over her head their magic would enter her and she would get tons of energy to keep on running!  This same tactic still works when you’re 25, trust me. Magic’s real, right?? If there are no leaves in sight, maybe a stick will work. Grab a stick from the ground and poke yourself with it, letting its magic enter into you. Pokes may by needed every mile or so, as the magic tends to not be long-lasting. Yes, people might look at you like you’re inane, but trust me, the magic works.

Christina Butterfly.jpg


So there you have it. Four tactics that, when used correctly, will have people thinking you are a runner in no time! No need to thank me, just make sure to pass them along to other non-runners in need.


24 Responses to The Non-Runner’s Guide to Running

  1. haha this is definitely a tough love way to go about it!
    lots of fun :)

  2. Love the guide- makes me laugh and smile. My brother used to tell me magical things as well but never to keep me running. Honestly, I never had to run over 6 miles until college! Running is a crazy thing and even non-runners can enjoy it (sometimes).

  3. Oh Christina, you are so funny! I would apologize for the times we ‘forced’ running on you girls but I can’t. That physical movement made all of you see, know and crave it’s benefits to your body. You are a healthy,(and funnier)girl because of it. By the way, I STILL proudly wear my “Runnings the Drug T-shirt”!

  4. #5: Think of all the food you can justify eating after a long run. That’s what helped me when I started running.
    DC Runographer´s last post ..Save the Clock Tower 5K and a cycling accident

  5. This is an awesome post! I think even crazy runners could use these tactics sometimes.
    Cyndi @ Weightless Life´s last post ..Productive Sunday

  6. This was such a fun guide! Next time I’m feeling anti-running I am definitely going to find a magical stick.
    Christy´s last post ..Rest Days ≠ Quitting

  7. This is so cute!! I love hearing about my blog friends’ families :)
    Getting your sister’s perspective, as a person who likes to run here and there but isn’t obsessed (like us, hehe), doesn’t race that often, and doesn’t really enjoy running all that much, is so interesting because there are TONS of people out there who feel the same way! Including a lot of my friends. I think most of the time running is either pure torture or a drug. Pretty funny how that works out.
    My sister is a complete non-runner in a family of runners, and I think she’s learned to embrace (and love) the spectator role :) I think it’s great that our families can still support what we do and encourage us even if they aren’t super into running themselves!
    Corey @ the runners cookie´s last post ..North End Adventures

  8. Oh my gosh…this was hysterical! I feel the same way about running as your sis does…and I also happen to come from a similar “runing family.” I’m the weirdo sibling who has to bribe herself into doing all the runs instead of loving running for the sake of running like my other family members. I wish I did, but I’m just not there yet…I might just adopt your some of your sister’s tactics for motivating myself to run. Gosh, they are too funny! I love the “magic one.” I’m definitely stealing it for my next run! :)

  9. Haha this is so funny! I definitely used to use some of these tactics back in high school when running was one of the meanest things you could ask me to do.
    gabriella @ embracement´s last post ..Don’t You Hate It When

  10. I absolutely love this post! Today I wrote about my love/hate relationship with running…and I’m definitely going to use your tricks for the days me and running are in a fight!!!
    I especially love tactic #4!
    Angela @ My Pinky Toes´s last post ..It’s a Love Hate Relationship

  11. OMG, clearly humor “runs” in the family :) Thanks so much for sharing, Christina and Lauren. Though I’ll never quite understand the non-runner thing, I really enjoyed your perspective!

  12. Hilarious! I use the first tactic way too much. If I have to study for an exam or clean, I’ll go for a run first and use the excuse that it clears my mind and will motivate me when I get back. Mostly, I just use it as procrastination!
    Lauren´s last post ..Bloggie Beach Party

  13. OMG! I’m basically dying with laughter over here, ha. I can use all of these on my next run because I feel a kindred spirit with Christina. :) #2 is my absolute favorite.
    Stephany´s last post ..Race Recap- Athleta IronGirl 5K

  14. Haha! I’m sure my family could write a missive (that’s for you, LB) about their non-running ways. Try as they may, I don’t think they will ever understand my crazy runner self. I like to imagine what it would be like to be surrounded by a family of runners…and I love Christina’s perspective. Fro-yo does make for good running motivation!
    Becky´s last post ..A Rest Day Recipe

  15. This was way too funny, and I totally agree about the ice cream motivation. Not that I ever actually deprived myself from the ice cream…
    Susan´s last post ..run slow to run fast

  16. What, wait. You didn’t like running? Are you serious? I thought you loved running on cold mornings being motivated by my gentle voice. Were those not tears of joy that I saw?

    This is very funny Christina. Wonderful job. Dad

    • I know – until now I always thought Chrissie was the one who loved those family “fun” runs the most! I mean, what’s not to love about running through snow listening to your amazing motivational phrases like “if you can yell at me, that means you’re not running fast enough!” 😉

  17. Haha, hilarious!:)
    Erin @ Until You Tri´s last post ..Girls’ Weekend and an Amazing Bike Ride

  18. I think I could have my sister write one of these too. Very clever! I loved the magic leaves idea – going to try that on the next run!
    Erin @ Big Girl Feats´s last post ..Out of the Closet- Part 1

  19. Hey everyone thanks for the great comments! I always enjoy being a guest writer on Lauren’s blog! :-) I would love to hear everyone else’s running tactics! What motivates you on a run?

  20. […] sucks my mind is more powerful than my legs. It’s a good thing lots of blogs have been posting about getting over mental hurdles when running. Maybe my brain will get the hint if I keep reading these posts and let […]

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