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The body can do amazing things

This weekly Tuesday post is being devoted to beginning running.

So if you experienced runners are now planning to excuse yourselves from reading here, please don’t. Supporting beginning runners is the privilege and responsibility of experienced runners, and this blog needs your abundance of ideas, training plans, advice, stories, and inspiration to support new runners.

Youre_amazing But where does beginning running begin?  How do experienced runners, who are some of the most helpful, wisest, and selfless people on earth, begin to pass along the wisdom of getting started running?  Rather than start with a list of tips about how far, how fast, what shoes, stretching, form, hydration, injuries, racing, and so on, I think getting started running begins with something more foundational.

Above all the vast information to be learned about running, there is one timeless lesson about running that comes first.  This lesson is uplifting and miraculous.  It’s consistent and predictable.  The number one lesson that I would share with a beginning runner is that the body can do amazing things!

The sports scientists call it the Law of Adaptation.  When we apply an effort or a stress to our body, we’re creating new capacity and capability.  Literally as soon as we finish a run, the body is already adapting to the stress and getting ready to recover and increase what it can do. 

But in my mind—which is filled with every bias imaginable about running—the number one way we can advance the enjoyment and success of our sport is to help beginning runners with their mindset.

Whether beginning runners are embracing a new sport, managing stress, transforming a lifestyle away from inactivity, managing weight challenges, seeking new direction, or building confidence, (whew, that’s a mouthful), my first getting-started message is the same to all.  The single-most important message I want beginning runners to understand and believe is the phenomenon that the running body can do amazing things!

While each of us would scoff at saying we’re impressed with our own running, I’d guess all of us deep down have been amazed with what our running bodies can achieve.  That’s what we need to pass along to beginning runners.

Be sure to drop off some advice on Take It and Run Thursday.

Pay it forward with a beginning runner and assure them how much they can accomplish with their bodies and with their running.

You're Amazing! on Flickr by Skonen Blades


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You are so right - the body can do amazing things. I remember how amazed I was after I finished my first half marathon (in Des Moines) - my body just logged 13.1 miles...at once! And I lived to tell the tale! It definitely made me want to push harder to see how far I could go. I'm still working on discovering my limits...marathon training begins next month. :)

Bill Carter

Wonderful post Tom.

I believe the most important first step is to go into it with no preconceived notions and just see what happens. In other words see what works for you and kind of ignore what everybody else tells you. I know this sounds kind of contrarian, but what I am saying is who knows your body better than you?? Hey, wait a second. I guess I am in complete agreement with you. The body can do amazing things and each individual body has its own strengths. What better way to explore them than running??


Great post! My body has been shocking the stuff out of me for the past 3 months :-)


Great post Tom.
Two things.
1. Do not be afraid.
2. Listen to advice, but follow your soul.

(Do I get extra points for cheesy.)


I'll see your cheesy, Nat, and raise you serendipitous (is that a word?) too.

One day I was having a horrible run. Everything hurt, I could barely shuffle my feet forward. I was about 2/3 of the way through, and I looked up at the pub across the street to see it had a big sign that said "COURAGE." Exactly what I needed. My feet began to lift off the ground. The pain in my shins subsided. I finished stronger than I started. Now every time I run that route I look for the courage sign to give me a lift, and realize how far I've come from that day.


Looking at the big picture - the whole body experience!
It's easy to focus on just speed or distance.
Interesting post - thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.

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