1) The first three kilometres suck. Something about not finding your body’s natural rhythm and biomechanics. But whatever, they usually suck. Never trust them.

2) There’s no such thing as too much running gear. It’s the same with any passion. There’s a reason why my husband still looks at TV catalogues even though there is no room in the house for more TVs. There is also no room for more running tights, but I persist.

3) I’ve never met a finish line I didn’t want to kiss. Doesn’t matter if I’m racing or running socially, that finish line is always worth kissing.

4) Breathing, form and technique all improve with fitness. It’s great to focus on those things where you can, but most of it will happen naturally.

5) There are no limits, there are only plateaus. Trust me, you’ve got more.

6) The best feeling in the world is when you think you’ve got nothing and then your body offers up another gear. It’s a miracle, really. A moving miracle.

7) PBs and times are fleeting. Sisterhood is forever.

8) Nothing is predetermined. Not what pace you run at, or what distance you run or what you are capable of. You decide.

9) When you have a bad run, it’s usually your body telling you to get on the f*cking roller. Seriously, do that right now.

10) The most important thing that you have is joy in the sport. Hold onto that and never let it go.

11) You are an athlete. Anyone who cares enough about whether they can call themselves a runner or not, is one. And a damn fine one at that.

12) The quickest way to get injured is to let your ego do the driving. You know when you need more rest, more slow running, more down time, so take it.

13) You dont’ always get the race that you trained for. Every once and awhile you will get a perfect race, where everything comes together. The rest of the time you run the day you get.

14) Disappointment is fire in the engine. It’s good that you are disappointed, it means you care enough to get up and try again.

15) Once you show yourself that you can do the impossible, the things that you never thought you could do it will change your whole life. It changed mine.

16) There are so many things in your life that you have done that are harder than running a marathon. Life is hard. Running a marathon is a challenge.

17) Walking is not the enemy. In fact walking and running can be best friends if you let them be.

18) There is no runners body type. Look at a start line. There’s every type of body you could possibly imagine. Runners don’t look like elites, they look like you.

19) All the joy, growth, happiness and accomplishment is in the climb. Achieving goals is awesome, but the path you took to get there is what changes you.

20) It does get easier. A lot easier. Eventually, it’s like breathing.

21) You will be more devastated by a ripped pair of favourite running tights, than a skinned up knee. One of those things repair themselves, the other does not.

22) Everyone trains differently and they are all correct. There is no right way, no perfect way, only the way that works for you.

23) Strava or it didn’t happen. You know what I’m saying.

24) The quality of the fuel impacts the performance of the engine. I attempted to outrun my diet for many years, but eventually I accepted that one needed the other.

25) On a bad day running will remind you who you are and a good day it will remind you who you could be. You can find yourself running, no matter what.

26) You will change your mind a lot. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a post I’d written a few years ago that I’ve no changed my mind on and need to update, I could probably buy a new pair of running tights.

27) Other runners are on your team. I know in the beginning it doesn’t feel that way, but all runners no matter what level of experience are on your side, because they remember what the beginning was like too.

28) You don’t have to be motivated to run. You can just do it anyway.

29) It’s okay if some runners don’t drink coffee, because that’s what chai lattes are for. It’s okay.

30) Those crazy people who warm up BEFORE a half marathon are actually onto something. Once you try it, you won’t go back.

31) 21km isn’t half of anything. I’m going to start only referring to it as 21.

32) A maximum effort 5km is often harder than a marathon. True story.

33) You need a tribe to give you context and meaning and support. Your tribe will cheer you on and they will know what it means because they know how hard you worked for it.

34) Yes, you do need that new watch. Rose Gold anyone?

35) Running fitness isn’t built in weeks and months, it’s built in years and decades. It takes time, so enjoy your time.

36) No one really needs to touch their toes anyway. That’s what squatting is for.

37) There are almost no holidays that don’t involve a race of some kind. Okay, there’s been one. But I still ran.

38) The only person worthwhile comparing yourself to is you. You are the only competition you will ever need.

39) In the beginning it takes awe inspiring courage just to get out the door. Sometimes it takes superhuman strength to take that step.

40) All of your best, most creative, most amazing ideas will happen when you are running. It’s almost at the point now where I stop having good ideas when I have to skip my long run.

41) There is no failure, there’s only tomorrow. Tomorrow you can make any choice you want to make.

42) Your most memorable runs will not necessarily be your PB runs. They will be your social, chatty runs with friends.

43) Sometimes it’s not just that you love running. It’s that you love being outside. So when you can’t run, you can still get outside.

44) Your body is an ally, not an adversary. If you respect it, you have no idea how much it will give back to you.

45) Almost any obstacle can be overcome. It’s not can you, so much as how much do you want it?

46) There has to be something you love about the hard sessions. Not everything, you definitely don’t have to love everything, but there has to be something that you get out of it.

47) Running has to give you back more than it takes away. Sometimes that means you’ve got enough hard and your running has to be easy.

48) Don’t start over. Just keep going.

49) Skin is waterproof. You can run even when it’s raining, and eventually you really start to love it too.

50) Try not to attribute a moral value to a run. It’s just practice. Some days it will feel easier than others.

51) Running will teach you to find beauty in everything. Maybe it’s that time outdoors, or that time just to yourself, but I appreciate everything better.

52) You are capable of so much more than you could possibly imagine. Both in running, and in every other part of your life too.

53) Contrary to urban legend, you can actually be a runner while never losing a toenail. Not even one.

54) That view that you run past every day on your run, will never look exactly the same. It’s beautiful that way.

55) What your body can do is pretty amazing. And you really start to appreciate just how amazing it is.

56) Eventually, you don’t run for fitness, or for exercise, or because you think you should. You run because it’s a core part of your life, that you absolutely love.

57) Hard runs happen, but rarely twice in a row. So once it happens, you know the next one is going to be brilliant.

58) There’s no shame in finishing last. I’ve been last plenty of times and it says nothing about my training or my performance or anything about my day.

59) The more inclusive you make the running community, the better it becomes. It is of great personal pride to me that people who have been afraid to start, have started with the help of Operation Move.

60) There’s no finish line. Keep going.

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Zoey Dowling

Written by: Zoey Dowling

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