What It’s Okay to Do In A Shoe Store

Twice a week I’ll get someone in the store who’s hilariously apologetic about the simplest things, this list is truly inspired by and dedicated to the women that I told to try a different shoe on each foot and she said “Can I? I didn’t know if that was okay”

So yeah, it’s okay to put a different shoe on each foot; It’s okay – even encouraged – to bring your insoles or orthopedics and take the stock insoles out; you can take the insoles out and stand on them like ski boots; you can keep trying on the same pair between every other pair if you feel like it’s the one to beat…

And you can come in with no intention to buy anything and still talk to us. What I see a few times a week is someone coming in, saying they’re fine just browsing, then they go stand at the shoe wall with no fucking clue what they’re looking at. It’s a menu they don’t know how to read.

I get it that customers have a feeling of guilt taking up a salespersons time, or a feeling of obligation that comes from taking up that time or a worry about being pressured into buying. But really, coming in to museum-stare at shoes then leaving with a cheery thanks makes us all feel stupid.

So I hereby declare that IT IS OKAY to tell us your concerns, your pains, your hopes and dreams, and pump us for ideas to look up on your own. It’s on the big, stone, OKAY tablets.

In fact, to a degree, to a fucking degree, it’s okay to come in just to feel heard. I use that phrase a lot at work and in life and it all starts with an old guy – Ed, I know him by name now – who came in and at first I was like, this is a talker, an old lonely coot who is not going to find anything he wants or needs at a store that sells 220 dollar hype shoes. But also, I had nothing else to do. I thought of it like sitting next to an old timer at the pub, you just hang out and listen and both have a pleasant time. So I just listened and listened and we came back to shoes a few times and then veered off again and when we came back I dug through the oldest, most neglected sales shoes to find him his grouchy old man wants and needs and he ended up buying them. Now whenever he comes in I’m thrilled to see him – because luckily he’s never come in when it’s busy.

And I even see it, and don’t mind it, when they aren’t fun and don’t buy anything. We had a woman come in – again, while there was nothing going on – and she was told by her doctor to an ankle-supportive hiking boot to protect a new injury. We have nothing like that and told her, sweetly and apologetically, that we had nothing like that and Atmosphere was the best nearby option. She still stayed and went over and over how she got the injury and what it was like to recover and she left visibly relieved. I’m certain from her husband to her doctor to her gal pals no one had just let her get it out that this sucked and I wish I wasn’t dealing with it. And we could have been guilty of the same thing if we’d been busy – we’d have shooed her out the door and even gotten pissy if sh’ed been upset or demanding about.

I’ve had customers get so shitty and livid because I’m not helping them when what I’m doing is trying to tell them that I can’t help them. At the same time I’ve gotten absolutely dug in trying to help people with insanely idiotic laughing-over-coffee-with-my-coworkers bullshit because I had no other priority at the time.

When I look back at any customer-interaction that went badly I can see a moment when they wanted to feel heard and I wanted to rush through the process because I’m busy, I know what all the steps are, let’s just get through this.

And when I look back at a great customer interaction, like a day-highlight home run, there’s always a moment when I was like k, c’mon, hurry up – no, there’s no where else I need to be, there’s nowhere else I can possibly be, so just be here, just listen – don’t wait just listen. Those end up being the people who email head office saying Allister-at-Westhills is just great, love him so much.

Actually, I was writing out my list of things to discuss with each Saturday employee and I put my own name down as well and wrote slowing down, resetting with each person, not rushing.

To bring this back to the title of the post, if not the spirit, it’s also okay not to be the priority. I know you’re the customer and you’re a middle-class white person who’s never been treated as off-center from the center of the universe – or always able to force yourself into being treated as the center of the universe – but man, I get one-a-week characters who come in the door with an about-me attitude like I’m supposed to have been expecting them; like this is their house and whoever is here is obviously a butler.

And you can guess what those people end up writing to head office about me.

There’s no way to bring this post back to the intent it was started with… so… [Sarah-Lynn gif]

Our Shoe Selection At The Store

Disclaimer again that this is going be a bit of a shoe-nerd post, I’m not going to take the time to explain each shoe and what each name means and blah blah blah. There will be context ques for people without this stupid hobsession.

So, shoes in the store:

From New Balance we carry the 840, 860, 880 and 1080 in the current generation and whatever’s left over from the old generations. There are, like, 6 shoes on each wall that are just the NB logo and then some numbers which are all, basically, variations on the same thing in the crowded middle of the shoe spectrum.

And in all the other brands it’s much the same. We carrying the center of the bell curve – which makes sense from a retail POV I know – but our stock space isn’t infinite.

It’s like filling your tiny bookstore with Clancy, and Grisham, and other airport novels at the expense of having any other sections. You fight for the biggest and most fought for piece of the pie for the most mundane of people and serve literally no one else.

It’s like offering someone a drink and having five different colas and barely a juice or a water to be found. So… America. Zing.

People who want a Coke will settle for a pepsi. You’re not serving two markets by offering coke and pepsi – you’re serving one market twice. Offer a soda, a water, a juice, and a beer and now you’re talking.

At the store I’m forced to apologetically turn away so many people with interesting and specific wants and needs, people I like and agree with.

I think it’s why every city has one thriving indie running store but not two (except Boulder of course). There is a market for people who really, really love running and love shoes and collect and experiment and want to talk about it all day but it’s a market you can’t split. You ration the water equally and dehydrate both plants.

But I’ve been trying to get some hardcore shoes into the store since, well, since the minute I got access to the computer. I did what I could do talking to other stores directly to bolster my supplies – like, I transferred-in some Altras under my name as a customer and they got transferred out again the next week for, presumably, a real customer at another location.

And the chain-of-command at The Running Room is fucked. Everyone I work with has had an email interaction with the higher-ups that’s been so brutally stupid and condescending and unhelpful and rude. The story is always the same: Customers want something, I talk to my area manager, he tells me to talk to any of these five people at headquarters, I email them one or two at a time and they all dismissively tell me not to talk to them and CC my area manager. As if to say, why is one of your peons talking to me. And nothing gets done. Nothing good happens for anybody.

My boss, who is a cool guy and wants things to work out for customers and employees alike, told me a story of a manager who put her own shoes on the store wall with a sign saying available for order so she could at least talk about them to people who came in for serious trail shoes.

Speaking of trail shoes, man our selection sucks. When someone comes in asking about them we just say man, sorry, our selection sucks. Our location is basically phasing them out. And it’s a clear story of what I’m talking about actually. We stock a few lame varieties and never restocked the common sizes. Therefore we don’t sell many. Therefore the higher ups think it isn’t worth stocking us with common sizes of the good shit. Have no [blank] to sell? Then your sales numbers for [blank] will be low, therefore you don’t have the sales numbers to justify stocking you with good [blank].

And customers who come in, ask a question, and leave without buying anything don’t show up in any system seen by the higher ups. But man are our sales high in the bloated middle of the spectrum so keep sending them those, boys. Sunglasses are a good example of this: We have Goodrs on display in a dozen colours, most of which we have 2, 3, or 0, but whenever we sell one we tend to get restocked with 3 so we’re overflowing with one or two specific colours.

Like I said, what’s really weird about it though is that they’re dicks about it. Like, if a Private gets in touch with a General (clearly I have no idea of other military ranks that would make a touch more sense but… follow) and says we have no bullets on the front fucking line the General should be likeĀ  oh shit, let me get you those because we have the same goal of winning the fucking war but instead it’s the Boer War and the higher ups are all like, drinking tea and reminding us to be courageous for Britain. Or, in the case of the one higher up who pops by the store, saying times are tough everywhere because of yada yada my three houses and my mustang. My mustang that’s never been rained on. What leadership.

Hmm, so it turned out this had nothing to do with shoes and all about just venting about work. Perhaps it’s all from an urge to apologize and rationalize to the people who leave the store unsatisfied everyday, with my face and my voice as the instrument of that dissatisfaction. And for those people I will keep working, keep trying, maybe those early martyrs will never come back and haunt me forever but for the heroes who come in their wake, by god, I will get them their shoes.

And the sunscreen you like. Or at least if I see it elsewhere in the world I’ll let you know. Probably London Drugs.

How Not To Buy Shoes At A Running Store

Don’t Bring Your Mom. This really means don’t bring anybody for ‘support’ but also literally don’t bring a parent -they’re the worst.

What happens is you get two people speaking as one then suddenly breaking to argue with each other then turn back to you as one again; or the parent interrupting you to pepper the kid with unhelpful questions; or acting like they’re a celebrity body guard with their kid as a client and insisting what they’re wants are.

Now oddly I’ve had the opposite situation – where an adult child has brought in their elderly parents and acted as a coach and translator and it’s worked out great – except for one time the child described herself as a professional movement specialist and shit-tested me constantly. Mostly though the dynamic works for elderly people who ‘don’t want to be a bother’ and don’t want their kid to spend money on them.

With parents and children though the parents are really controlling – of their kid and of me – out of a good place of wanting the best for their kid and of course the problem is they have no idea what’s best or how to act so they come off like an unbearable dick. Dads do it too and can be worse but dads taking their kids shopping is a blue moon compared to mom’s taking their kids shopping.

Come To The Running Store To Buy Running Shoes. I’m already fucking up my list here because this is a what-not-to-do list so I guess just don’t do anything other than this is my point.

The exception is that we get a lot of old people who need a comfortable supportive shoe or people fresh from the podiatrist or physio who got recommended a specific shoe for a specific injury or need and that’s fine.

My go-to hilarious example of this sin though is I had a girl come in – to The Running Room – and reject each option I brought out because it looked like a running shoe. But then wanted to keep trying stuff and acting a bit like I was letting her down.

And I was like, no bitch, you let me down. You let the whole store down.

And the criminal variation of this sin is the person who wants an everything shoe and then wants to just plow ahead when I tell them that’s a terrible idea. Because I’ve learned to clarify right at the start that you want a shoe specifically for running? and I sometimes get the reply yeah, running and walking and the gym and stuff.

The honest answer is that that shoe exists – just not here and you can’t handle it, suburban mom. In a perfect world I’d have access to a selection of zero-drop crosstrainers and you’d have a fully functioning achillies tendon but here we are.

A great running shoe is a terrible gym shoe – and vice versa – for 90% of the population and 100% of suburban moms. And I explain why using my years of study and insight just to be told it’s fine.

So now you have two different goals. That’s bad. My job, and truly my joy, is figuring out what your bio-mechanical needs are and what your goal is then eliminating all the shoes that aren’t it. And I have absolutely eliminated every shoe in my store and sent people off with a list of shoes that might suit them to find and try elsewhere.

But some people just want to buy shoes. Just one pair, today, and feel things about it. That is their goal. Not being better, not working towards something, just having new shoe day.

It’s something I saw when I worked at a video store, when I was a cook, when people ask me for romantic or life advice… Someone asks is this good and I say no and they say they’re gonna go with it anyway. Which only begs the question of why did you ask, why the little show of being interested in expertise or feedback? Why did you come to the running store if running isn’t your priority?

And of course the honest answer is we’ll listen. That’s why so much of our clientele is the elderly and the injured – they don’t even necessarily want their concerns assuaged, they just want them heard. They want to get to say what’s on their mind because their doctor and their friends won’t let them get all the way though it. As bartenders are to emotional issues so is the shoe salesman to physio.

Which, again, is fine when people who need to do that do that. People who are needy have needs and if I can meet those needs, great. It’s people who are wanty that I can’t fucking stand.

Shoe Rivalries

This one’s for my running shoe nerds. And no one else.

Seriously, I’m just going to write this as my internal monologue dictates and not explain a fucking thing.

I’d say my first shoe rivalry was between my Ghost 12s and my 1080v10s (Already, writing the names of shoes feels abstruse and annoying… let’s solider on). I had the Ghost 12 by Brooks as a comfortable daily trainer and at first I hated the 1080 for the way it looked. I thought it was too sneakerhead. Plus, at work we only had the single, horrible, blue version.

But then I tried it on and declared it incredible. The heel cup, the rocker, the cushion, the light weight, I was blown away. I was excited to go out and pay full retail for a non-ugly one outside the company but then I happen to talk to our New Balance rep and got a sick deal. I picked up a 1080, a Tempo, and a 1400 and the dawn of my collection was born.

The dawn was born? The fuck does that mean? Moving on…

Anyway, I was sure, I was assuming, that the 1080 would subsume the Ghost as my high mileage shoe. It’s just such a technically interesting, audacious shoe and the Ghost so dull, so unassuming. But nay. My early runs in the 1080 – admittedly on tired legs from previous day’s hard intervals – were sandy, lifeless, heavy heel-striking runs. Suddenly I feared the shoe was a bust. I only wore mine out to be sneakerhead, and/or hypebeast.

Those are real terms. For real.

Meanwhile the Ghost 12s and I were rolling along like a wonderful, low key loving marriage. Just simply, humbly, putting in the daily work; plowing the modest fields.

Now, I’ve since taken the 1080s out on my biggest run of the year so far – my 30k trip round the reservoir – and we had a wonderful time – but I still feel in my heart of hearts that the Brooks Ghost 12 is my go-to shoe. It’ll put in the work, it’ll get dirty, it’s good for any speed, all substance no flash.

Is there a winner here? Yeah. Me.

Next rivalry I’d say is the Brooks Levitate 3 versus the New Balance Tempo. Battle of the hybrids.

Hybrids because there’s a class of shoe now that’s the racing side of daily trainers but still distinctly not a racer. Like, cooler than a Subaru but still basically a Subaru. Anyway…

I got the Levitates right after my Ghosts and was like, I guess I’m a Brooks guy, they just put out really good shoes this year. And I got my Tempos alongside my sick deal on the 1080s and I was feeling pretty ride or die for New Balance.

So the Levitate and the Tempo both feel like edgy side kicks to the stars of their brands. Well… the Tempo really feels like a stripped away 1080, meanwhile Levitates are the only Brooks shoe with any flash or style. Like, the Levitate to the Ghost is like a Gambit to a Cyclops; the 1080 to the Tempo is a Wolverine to a smaller, more badass Wolverine.

Now there’s two kinds of nerd gibberish to alienate readers.

The glaring flaw with the Levitates is the laces. Period. So I switched those out but now they kind of feel like a Frankenshoe even though there’s nothing wrong with the aftermarket speed laces I put on there.

And the not so glaring flaw with the Tempo is the sizing. I dealt with it when Charles and I were testing them in-store, I deal with it every time I sell one, and I still just don’t know if true-to-size is too small.

Run in a New Balance Tempo in your size and in a half size up and they’ll feel like two different shoes that both work. It’s baffling.

Whenever I’m bringing one out for a customer I bring both sizes and whenever someone buys one I tell them not to hesitate bringing them back and exchanging them for the other size. Which happens.

It’s still a great run. It’s just that the whole run you’re thinking should I be running in the other size?

Now, I want to do some direct speed-work testing in the Levs and the Temps to see which is better but my internal impression right now is I like the Tempos more. I had the most joyful run in months in those shoes and felt like I was just flying. Whereas in the Levs I just felt like yeah, this is some nice running.

And the Tempo offers more on paper. It is lightweight and it is low drop whereas Levitates are merely like a lightweight, low drop shoe.

Levitates are the racing end of the daily trainer spectrum and Tempos are the daily trainer end of the racing spectrum. That’s what it is.

I was tempted to say that the rivalry was really between the Tempo and the 1400 – both by New Balance – because I got them at the same time and had dream-like, wonderful runs in both of them right away… but really the 1400 is just the odd man out, the 3rd wheel in a collection of eight things that come in pairs.

It’s a 10mm drop, who does that? To a racing shoe? Did we all use to do that, is it a relic of a bygone era?

Still an absolutely great run though, being clear. It’s just hard since I mentally organize my shoes into my training by heel drop and stack height and blah blah blah and the 14 can’t hang with the 1080 and the Ghost and it can’t hang with the hybrids and it can’t hang with the low boys like my Tracers and Altras.

Fuck, the straight up nonsense this is for my usual readers makes it so uncomfortable to write…

But one last thing so that I’ll have talked about everything and since I just mentioned them: my Hoka Tracers and my Altra Escalante 2.0s.

And when I said I’d talked about everything I thought wait, that’s seven. What am I missing…? My ASICS. Good old forgettable ASICS.

Anyway the Hoka Tracers are a 4mm drop and the Altras are, of course, zero.

Altra is changing their branding from saying Zero Drop to saying Balanced Cushioning which is, let me the first to be an ass about it, fucking awful. Zero Drop people take pride in being Zero Drop people. I encountered us douchebags at the store like once a month.

Anyway anyway, the Tracers become forgettable because they’re a stutter step to the Altras and it’s important to transistion wisely to ZD and blah blah blah not what this blogs about.

How Work Is Going

Great.

That could be the whole blog, and I’m merely writing this to get a lot of little, boring-to-others, things off my chest so I don’t talk too much about myself socially.

So for those who don’t know, I work at The Running Room in Westhills. I got hired as a running coach before the COVID layoffs and made enough of an impression to be brought back as full time defacto manager afterwards.

There’s been a lot of chaos getting set up and running (no pun, fuck off) with new procedures and stuff but me and the other full time defacto manager have it on lock because it’s he and I opening, working all day doing everything, and closing. So the store is just ours. And we get lots of practice at every little thing.

What’s really great though is I’m starting to see my stated goal achieved. I’m in 100% give a shit mode when it comes to shoes and I’ll spend an hour with someone trying stuff on and talking it out. And what I wanted was for that to be appreciated, to be seen bringing excellence to something I can bring excellence to. And everyone leaves happy and grateful when they’ve dealt with me anyway but lately I’ve started getting phone calls and emails thanking me specifically.

I had a guy today assume I’m studying kinesiology because I’m so particular about movement and shoes and orthodics. Which I take as a massive compliment.

Just like with run-coaching, my goal is to build trust and rapport and feel that I’ve done good. And a lot of people buying shoes are either starting out and feel overwhelmed or are injured and those are easy home runs for me to feel helpful and useful and good.

And occasionally you get the very serious runner and we get to have a very serious running talk and it’s awesome.

Because getting the right person into the right shoe is like a puzzle or a video game and it can be really fun to get to a good answer from very little information. And it’s awesome to so-well know the tools at my disposal and what the trade-offs of each shoe are.

And then with people I’ve really found it’s just time. People want to feel heard when buying shoes just like they want to be heard in every aspect of life . So you listen and show that you’re listening and be thoughtful and honest – again, just everything else in life.

There’s no such thing as going above and beyond when your stated goal is to do good in people’s lives with your abilities. There are no extra miles, just the miles that need to be run or don’t need to be run.

Which is why for all my gung ho, Wes Watson, Jocko Wilink, bullshit in one area it shocks my co-worker that I’m so lackadaisical in others. Like, he’s so extremely procedural and rule-following and teacher-pleasing – no, teacher-fearful – that he cannot compute when I don’t do something that I don’t see the why of.

Which has made us a really good team. I have another blog in draft about my bad habits at work the dichotomy of my super give a shit in some areas and complete no-fucks-given-mocking-those-who-care in others so I’ll wrap this up. But yeah, works going great.

I’ve Been Vlogging

Mostly shirtless.

So I haven’t written much lately for lack of ideas and doing way too much other internet stuff but I have been vlogging every day after my run as a way of keeping accountable and as a place to put the things that seem to go through my head over and over while running – or at least that was the intent, my mind always seems to go blank when I turn the camera on and then the next day during the run the same looping thoughts turn up again and I’m like oh right, I wanted to say that in the vlog…

A symptom of the vlog is I never know what day it is when I start filming, nor do I check when uploading so I’m usually wrong. I finally did check my Strava and deduce that I’m on day 22 of running every day and like, day 18 of vlogging afterward.

And I’m almost always shirtless so enjoy.

And in one I’m eating eggs so I apologize, that’s gross.

I think in, like, two of them I’m drunk. So look out for that I suppose.

In one I’m naked.

Making The Most Of My Post-Run Time

I noticed that no matter what time it is, my day ends when my work out ends.

So naturally I started getting things done before my work out; and then tried to get everything done before my work out; and then discovered nothing was getting done.

I need the energy of the run to motivate the behaviour before the run but if I try and stack too many things before then I get analysis paralysis. And I need the energy of the run to cascade into the rest of the day but if I relax and recover right away I also end up getting nothing done. Like, the day just ends.

Because I come home from a run, take a hot shower (because a hot shower encourages blood flow and that promotes healing, whereas a cold shower constricts blood flow and will halt the training benefits), and eat. And of course while eating I want to watch something so I’m relaxed from the shower, food in hand, and staring at a screen, and – most powerfully perhaps – feeling justified in relaxing for a while.

Then 5 hours go by.

I get couch-locked.

Anything I planned on doing becomes something I’m going to do… then gradually I admit it’s become something I was going to do.

Then today two things happened. One, my run was very short, on my schedule it’s an easy, recovery type day before a big day tomorrow. Two, I ran into some friends. I talk about this on the Friday Fitness Youtube Channel as well so I won’t repeat myself in writing but needless to say, in this time of isolation, it was extremely invigorating to see and talk to people from the way life used to be.

I came home vibrating. And I wanted to do something. I didn’t want to relax and recover, I didn’t need to relax and recover.

Thus I banged out all the unscheduled, aimless, should-dos of the day.

I believe every day needs uptime and downtime, action and recovery. And I know people fuck it up. They stay jacked up on screens and caffeine and noise and dopamine and they try to fight through being tired or bored or worried. Then they lay in bed tired and wired and call it insomnia.

I was the opposite. I tried to stay rested, to always have some downtime after every uptime and recoup, when I could have and should have powered through like it’s a work day. Because it is a work day, but with the privellage that I’m working exclusively for my health and my household. I don’t need to spread things out to better fill the time, I need to work half the day and relax half the day.

The Modified Running Season

I wasn’t planning on running Melissa’s Road Race in Banff this year. Last year my thinking was I don’t need to halfs on my schedule and Banff weekend always ends up being a 1500 hundred dollar weekend and, as I say a million times a year, that’s money we shouldn’t be spending.

But I realized today that with no Calgary Marathon, no Spartan Race, and maybe no Stampede Road Race in early June, and Melissa’s not til September it’s a good option again.

Other than that I still want to run the marathon distance at the end of May – and I should map out where I’m going to do that – and there’s a virtual marathon being hosted by Seth James DeMoor that I want to take part in but it’s 6 days away and I don’t feel half-marathon ready and don’t feel the need to log a 10k. What I might do is find a place where I can really run, no stop lights or too many pedestrians and try to PR my 10k though.

But the Melissa’s thing reminded me that not all racing is cancelled this year, just all my races and you know what, I’m not in shape for them anyway so a delayed season and some autumn races should do just fine.

On Wanting To Get Back To Good Habits

I don’t know why we humans fall out good habits that we like and make us feel good. But we do.

I’ve listened to people say they need to get back to the gym for years; or back to a certain class, or back to school, or back to not smoking, but always back.

And I went through it myself recently even though I know it doesn’t work. People are awful at going back. I think a big part of it is not wanting to do the same work you’ve already done.

As an example, taking an off-season from running seemed like a good idea because I trained running continually for around a thousand days. I ran summer and winter for two years in a row and then thought I’d take a winter off to work on other strength and fitness.

Coming back to running though I’ve hit pain periods and sticking points that I must have dealt with first time round yet now I’m resentful of them. The first time round seeing my mileage go from 4, to 6, to 9, 12, 17, 21 kilometers was a joy. And I’m most certainly rising through the numbers faster and smarter now but I feel perpetual disappointment when I’m dragging ass at 8k.

It’s like if you wrote something and it got closed unsaved. Despite the fact that you just did it and could not be in a better position to do it faster, better, stronger – you don’t.

We humans hate to waste our labour, ever.

So when we’ve lost progress we tell ourselves we’ll just do the same thing again to get it back but then we don’t. And most insidiously we don’t do anything else either. We know the answer to the nagging feeling, the answer is to go back, so you don’t look for anyway forward.

For me it was my morning routine. I had a really tight, up before the sun and getting shit done morning routine for a long time – honing it for years now – and its only downside was not knowing what to do with myself at 2pm because I’d already done so much and it felt weird to just do more.

And you’d think that the lay off wouldn’t effect it that much. Things should have gone back to the way they were when I was unemployed, like, 2 months ago. But partly it was the dread and trauma of the COVID pandemic just messed me up, no other way to put it, we all had to grieve in the start of these dark holidays. Beyond that though was the feeling that I’d already done this level. I got through my period of unemployment and come out stronger and optimistic. And then I was a few steps into the next level of this metaphoric Mario game and suddenly, nope, first level again with the difficulty cranked. Thanks, I hate it.

Telling myself I was going to get back on the path, back to the same strategies was only bumming me out as I watched myself not do them. I was comparing myself to an idolized version of myself and, of course, feeling like a failure all day.

So I had to think forward. Rather than going to bed thinking tomorrow I’m going to x,y, and z as my morning routine – I started doing them before bed so I’d wake with nothing to do; or rather, nothing to resent not doing.

It created the emotional free space to do something else without getting a mind full of should-do-firsts, and it stops me from self-comparing all day and tracking how far off course I am.

To extrapolate this out for public consumption, my point is if you want to get back to not smoking take up running, if you want to cut back on drinking focus on cooking, something forward, something where it’s okay to be a beginner and see if the consequences can back fill. Because you won’t want to smoke if you’re running, you won’t want to drink a bunch and feel garbagey if you’ve made a delicious healthy meal.

It doesn’t work with books though. I feel like reading but don’t feel like reading what I’m reading so now I’m 1 or 2 chapters into 5 different books.

 

What To Do About Procrastinating Before Your Run

I’m a procrastinator. I know full well that I want to do something, that I’ll enjoy doing it, that I’ll be proud when it’s done, and yet I still put things off for what ends up being hours.

I notice that the longer the run – and the worse the weather – the more I put it off. So a day like today where I had 14k on the schedule and it was minus 2 and cloudy I took 2 hours between declaring it time to go and actually going. And I witnessed the thoughts that helped and the thoughts that hurt and they became this blog. Ta da.

Even before the first thing you can do here’s the first thing not to do – don’t keep thinking through the whole day, the whole run, and your whole self. Break down the steps you have to take and do them, don’t tell yourself a story during the whole thing, you don’t need to be your own Samwise all the fucking time.

On the positive side, first – get changed. Once you put on your running gear there’s no way you’re not going to run, you’d be a complete jag off to change out of your running clothes without running.

Back to the negative, videos won’t help. I’m guilty of thinking that watching a running vlog or a motivational montage will get me up-and-atom but all it leads to is another video. Watching is the most passive thing you can do, it’s very unlikely especially when watching short digestible clickable YouTube, that you’ll do anything.

The answer to that? Music. Put your headphones in. Even slow music or a podcast will at least break the tether to the room you’re in but you’ll be surprised that you have an unseen well of energy if you put on some moving music. And once you’re dressed and have music playing directly in your head it would be really fucking weird if you stopped, got undressed again, and didn’t go for a run.

Another not-to-do: Don’t debate if you should be something more important. Because you won’t end up doing it either. you’ll get paralyzed where all of your shoulds become equally important and therefore equally meaningless and you’ll feel like you can’t do anything right anyway. Yes, there’s emails to write and banking to do and the kitchen is a mess but if you weren’t planning on do it before your run then tough; get out the door. We all have the habit of waiting to do something for ourselves until it’s time to work and suddenly thinking about work when it’s time to do something for ourselves. If you said run-comes-first today then run comes first.

You’ll feel energized to get shit done afterwards anyway most likely.

And if you’re really dragging, do something other exercise first. I guess this is the way it’s okay to procrastinate. If you cannot access your athletic self at all and can’t see yourself going for a run then do 20 russian twists. It’s such a bite-sized bit of fitness you can’t possible feel like it’s a chore and once you do it you’ll be like oh yeah, I do have access to my fitness-self – the self comes from action and not vice versa, I remember now.

Finally, if you’re about to blow it off and call it a rest day – don’t say you’ll do this work out tomorrow. This work is dead, never to be run. If you need a rest day you gotta take it but taking a rest day doesn’t add a day to the week – nothing adds a day to the week.

Otherwise you end up in the same procrastination battle everyday. If today is 14k and tomorrow is rest then you decide if you’re going to rest two days in a row and never do the 14. Period.

Most likely though if tomorrow is a rest day you’ll be like, tomorrow’s a rest day I got this. And it’ll get you out the door.