The other day my parents asked me if I was a jogger and I said that sometimes I jog. Jogging, I think, is done absentmindedly, while running has an intention. It’s fine to jog. Certainly it’s preferable to watching CSI reruns or doing any other activities, some negative, that one can absentmindedly pursue. So how do you transform your jogging into the sport we call running and how can you make it mean more? By no means is this an exhaustive list, but these things—if begun now—will help elevate your hobby into a passion and thus, if you’re interested, produce rich rewards.
5. Set a goal.
It does not have to be running a marathon; in fact, you want your goal to be aspirational and yet not so lofty that it’s impossible to achieve. You’ll want short-term, mid-term and long-term goals, and a great short-term goal is to set how often you run. Is it twice-a-week? Four times? The difference between jogging and running is that jogging is an endless loop; running has a point: Today, sign up for an event, virtual or in-person. Doesn’t matter. But get something on the books. Work towards something. (And here’s a hint: with a race on the books, other lifestyle decisions will be easier to make).
4. Give back.
These are times when we all must consider what it is to be a Canadian and take stock of our place in the world. Are we part of solutions? Running can be a vehicle for change, whether it’s running in support of a cause, or directly trying to raise finances to an organization that helps people in need. Lots of ways running can give back. Check here, or here, or here. When you’re running becomes a vessel for doing good deeds, pride is developed beyond a superficial desire to show off new shoes.
3. Get connected.
Doing difficult things is astronomically simpler if they’re done with a like-minded group. We’re not going to run like the Kenyans, but we can learn from their teachings. They run in groups, and running clubs—whether connected to an independent shoe shop, the Running Room or an individual group—elevate your performance and add a social dynamic to a solitary endeavour. I love my run club. And whether you’re a budding Olympian or want to tackle your first 10K, there’s people out there that will help.
2. Invest in yourself.
Running is free but the gear costs money. Sneakers and hydration systems and trips to events out of town all add up and get pricey. They’re worth it. Buy shoes instead of a splurge meal; get gels instead of a bottle of wine. By expropriating funds from bad lifestyle choices to good ones, you’re actually saving money and new stuff will spark joy on your next run and keep you on your goal-achieving path.
1. It’s OK to push.
If you run as fast as you can you will not fall apart. If you push your limits you will survive. Talk to a doctor. We don’t want you to be reckless. But the sport becomes more fun, more interesting, more rich, when you actively participate. Sometimes that means challenges. Here’s a trick: sprint the last bit of your jog when your home comes into view. Here’s another one: each week, attempt to add one kilometre to your workout.
Think about this list as you plan your summer and begin to dream about fall. If you take some of our suggestions, you’re not a jogger anymore, now you run.