Paul Buijs of I Run For You doesn’t like to run, but he loves what he gets from it.
I started running a little over 15 years ago. It was not because I wanted to, but because I was ordered to. A team of three fearless drill instructors at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, SC made sure I got both my time and mileage in — not exactly a guaranteed way to make one love running.
I consider myself the average runner. I run three to four times a week and will sign up for local 5 and 8ks – the same distances I stick to on my runs. I honestly don’t like to run but I sure love how I feel afterwards. Activities that create as much confidence in self are few and far between. Personally, great runs are etched in my memory. They are both goals to beat and more importantly, reminders of what I’m capable of.
Four years in the Marines taught me a few fundamental things about running. You can do it. Just don’t quit on yourself. In spite of any competitive environment you may find yourself in, finishing is all that matters. Over the years since then, both what I know about running and how I feel about it have changed. While I still would rather spend my time SCUBA diving, road or mountain biking, running is the best and easiest way to stay in shape (easy in this case meaning the most accessible). All you need is a good pair of sneakers and head out the door.
Now that I’ve been running for a while I’ve learned a few other fundamentals:
- Never experiment with diet and supplementation on race day. You would think that would be obvious, but my experience suggests otherwise.
- It is easier to stay in shape than it is to get back in shape. For those that aren’t in the shape that they want to be in (which is everyone right?), all this means is to stay committed. Even on my bad days where I come no where close to either my time or distance goal I set for myself that day I still feel like I did something good for myself.
- A good diet won’t make you a good runner, but a bad diet will hurt your running. Some ground rules: no carbonated anything and no simple sugars (white breads, sweets, and many juices and sports drinks)
I’ve come to realize I’m my own #1 competitor. I’ve always had a goal in my mind of running a 21 minute three mile and I’ve always stayed around three minutes outside of that goal at around 24 minutes. Almost two years ago I cracked my C4 in my neck in half and had the good fortune to be put back together in fully functional shape. At first I was pissed that had happened to me, especially when I thought I was in the best shape of my life. I’ve come around to take it as a renewed opportunity to reach for my long standing goals — of which include that 21:00 minute mark. This focus has led me to cut out drinking, analyze my diet and actually get out there and run like someone striving for that goal. I’ve recently started incorporating intervals into my runs. And like running itself, the intervals have given me the confidence to know I can run at a faster pace. A couple of days ago I ran a 22:28. I’m so close now I can taste it.
You can read more about Paul’s thoughts of running and support some of his favorite causes by visiting him at I Run For You.