How to Run

by Sharon Tjaden-Glass



A Saturday, January, 1:00 p.m.

First, you’ll need gloves.

An insulated running jacket.

Headphones that double as earmuffs.

Turn on Pandora, channel Hozier.

(Because “Work Song” goes well with tiny, white puffs of air.)

Tissues in your pocket.

Runner’s lunge. Down dog. Streeeetch.


Remember that you won’t stay cold forever

Warmth comes when the blood flows

Fix your eyes on the next mailbox, then the next

When your heart soars too far, slow to a walk

Feel the earth against your feet

Find your footing, your roots

Then, rise again.


A Sunday, March, 1:00 p.m.

First, plan your route.

Preferably with a park along the way.

Dress for fair weather, one layer only.

Drive to the park. Park.

Slide your key off the ring

Put it in the tiny pocket by your hip

Turn on Pandora, channel MGMT.

Runner’s lunge. Down dog. Streeeetch.


Lose track of time as the songs carry you forward

As your feet pound the concrete

As your breath picks up and your body finds its rhythm

And when a new song catches you off guard

And you find yourself throwing front jabs to its beat,

Say a prayer of thanks for this world’s endless creativity

For the depth and breadth of expression that keeps your hope alive

That keeps you believing that there will always be something new to appreciate

As long as you keep your heart open

Check how far you’ve run.

Be amazed in yourself.


A Tuesday, April, 5:00 a.m.

First, you’ll need to wake up.

Water on your face, if you need it.

Dress in two layers. Make the outer one bright.

(Remove one on the way back.)

Turn on Pandora, channel Richard Marx.

(Because “Hold On to the Night” goes well with the stars.)

Runner’s lunge. Down dog. Streeeetch.


Remember that the first five minutes are the hardest.

As you pass under streetlights, watch your shadow creep up beside you

And then go before you.

Remember that you’ve always found the most power in difference

In the moments when you did the opposite

Remember that there is strength at the end of fatigue

And satisfaction at the end of trying and failing and trying again

Keep going.

Be amazed in yourself.

Keep going.