The Top One Thing Every Amazing Runner Does Before 8 AM (Number One Blew My Mind, But You'll Never Guess What Happened Next)

I can't resist clicking on those links, the new era of self-help articles via the short, bullet point list of The Top Ten Things [insert something successful and idealistic here] Does Every Day. I read them even though I know in advance that there won't be a lot of substance. We have distilled our advice to junk food bullet points with no emotion; glossy-sounding tips created in someone's sterile life-lab, stripped from any real experience. I clicked on one about the top ten things successful people do, and realized that, wow, I occasionally multitask, act rashly, and sometimes even dwell on the past. Kiss any notion of success goodbye.

I don't want to be accused of click-baiting, so there is this running tip that has been working for me lately, and while I'm sure it has been said before, it just struck me as so obvious and simple, that I wanted to share it. I figure I owe at least one bullet point based on the obnoxious headline.

  • Fake it.

When you're out there running, struggling, tired, and the hill is winning, your body will reflect it. Your head will be bowed as if that section 3 inches in front of your feet holds the keys to the Universe's most pressing question (which, by the way, is "Kim Kardashian?"), your shoulders are so hunched that Quasimodo would offer some advice on posture, and your two feet are engaged in a battle over which one can take the smallest step.

I know, because I've been there. I was there last week on a steep climb, the second time up a mile and a quarter hill repeat. I pushed too hard on the first one, and didn't have much energy for the second, but I vowed to myself that I wouldn't walk it, so I trudged along, letting the win. Then I saw my shadow, hunched over, head hung low, and shuffling along, and it hit me...that person in the shadow hates what he is doing. What would I look like if I actually enjoyed running? What would I look like if I was on one of those elusive perfect runs, the kind where everything feels easy, and perfect form comes effortlessly? I pulled my head up, pushed my chest out, pulled my shoulders back, and increased my stride (just a little bit, because I was still hurting pretty bad), but it worked. I faked it, and immediately felt better. I was still hurting, just not as much. Good form leads to efficient running and energy savings, so fake it, just run like someone who loves to run. It can make your bad days a little more bearable.

Channel your inner Ethiopian

If you have kids that play video games, you probably know about Minecraft. It's probably the most visually boring game ever, and I played Pong on my Atari. My son loves it. He plays it whenever he has a chance, which is usually after his homework and chores are done. I'll watch him play it, and what, to me, is the most boring video game in the world with graphics straight from 1982, to him, is his own world that he created and controls, so there are some creativity, engineering, and organizational skills that are being nurtured, or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Do you know what I dislike more than Minecraft? Listening to my son tell me the intricate details of the world he is building in Minecraft. But, I do it anyway, with a smile on my face, an occasional nod, and some well-timed "wows," "that's neat," "you did what?" and "I can't believe your character slept for 8 straight hours...that's amazing." I fake it. Sometimes, I even see it as a challenge; exactly how much feigned interest can I show without actually figuring out what a "Zombie-Pigman" is. I don't need any self-help bullet points to tell me that while I may not care about Minecraft, I love my son, and if I want to be happy, I'll turn off the computer, or put the phone away and try my hardest to pretend that Minecraft is the coolest thing that I have ever seen.

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