1. Congratulations, you’ve decided to go for a run. Today. As you probably know, that’s the first step toward going for a run, so pat yourself on the back for that. But hold on—there are a few more things you need to do before you head out the door and take that real first stride of your run, however long it may be.
2. First things first: get dressed for your run. What’s the weather like out there? Sure, you could open a window or a door and get a feel for the temperature, but for the most reliable, up-to-the-minute forecast, you should probably check a weather app on your phone.
3. After you’ve seen the weather forecast, you might as well cycle through all the apps you usually check eight to 40 times every day, just to make sure you won’t be missing anything while you’re out there running: email, text messages, Instagram, Twitter, Strava, Zillow, PetFinder, your bank account, Nest, Tinder.
4. Now you’re ready to get dressed appropriately for the weather. Find your stuff and put it on. Except where’s your favorite running hat? Not where you usually put it. Find that hat. Sure, you could go for a run without it, but why would you?
5. While looking for your hat, which could take two to 25 minutes, have a snack just to make sure you don’t bonk out there. You don’t have to prepare anything elaborate, just something quick. But, also, you could prepare something a little more elaborate. Either way, get some calories in you.
6. While ingesting said calories, pick up a magazine and read an article. Or two. Doesn’t have to be about running.
7. Do you need to carry a water bottle on today’s run? Find the bottle, but not the lid.
8. Dig around in the cupboard until you find the lid to your water bottle.
9. The nozzle looks a little funky, doesn’t it? Might as well scrub it clean now, because you know you won’t feel like doing it after your run.
10. Fill up your now-clean water bottle.
11. Find your hat. Or don’t find it. Decide to do some stretches.
12. Actually, before you do those stretches, do a little warm up. Get those hips loosened up, maybe a couple squats, lunges, a couple pushups, just so you’re not stretching cold muscles.
13. Do some stretches. You really should have a more strategic stretch routine, don’t you think? Grab your phone and google “stretches for runners.” Check out four or five different ones before deciding on one. Also read a few news articles before you start stretching.
14. Do all the stretches. Feels good, doesn’t it? Now you’re ready.
15. Actually, better use the bathroom one more time before you head out. You never know.
16. Check your phone apps one more time, just in case you’ve missed anything while getting dressed, eating, reading that magazine article, warming up, and stretching.
17. You’re ready for your run! Head out the door!
18. Now that you’re actually outside, it feels a lot cooler or warmer than your weather app said it was supposed to be. Head back inside to shed a layer or add a layer.
19. OK, now you’re ready. Put in your earbuds so you’ll have some music to run to.
20. But all these playlists and albums are getting boring. Create a new playlist that will be the perfect length for today’s run. Walk back inside so your phone will connect to wifi.
21. OK, now you’re really ready for your run! Except wow, it seems like it’s going to get dark soon. Maybe you should take a headlamp or a small flashlight? Yeah, head back inside and grab one, just in case.
22. Press play on that playlist, and begin running. Think about how running is great because it’s so simple and easy, because all you need to do is lace up your shoes and head out the door, just like that.
Brendan Leonard’s new book, Bears Don’t Care About Your Problems: More Funny Shit in the Woods from Semi-Rad.com, is out now.