For most of my life, I never identified as a runner. I played sports and did pilates with yoga, but would only run while I was on the court or field, never in my own time. But in the December two years ago something changed in me. I had that realization that in your mid-twenties your body starts to behave a little differently. And that you can’t really just eat whatever you feel like and get away with it anymore. I was a bit of a couch potato and I realized something needed to change.
Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned on this journey so far:
You’ve got to start somewhere: To begin with, I couldn’t even run the 1-mile block around my house without walking parts of it. Which was embarrassing to admit to myself let alone anyone else but I soon realized I could change that. I kept on running that same block until I mastered it and once I had, I added a few extra roads in to make it 3 miles. Each week I would build on the previous and these days I can run 10 miles – a feat I never thought I could achieve!
Be consistent: It’s amazing how difficult running is to get back into if you let your habits slip for too long. I hibernated for longer than necessary last Winter and paid the price when I tried to get back into it again in Spring. One run every two weeks isn’t going to see as much improvement as three runs per week is.
Find what motivates you: If you’re snuggled up on the couch with a good book or a movie, it’s pretty hard to pull yourself away to go pound the pavement. You have to find the thing that motivates you. One thing that has helped me along the way is the saying “You’re lapping everyone on the couch”. It encouraged me that even if I went out for a short run, I’m still doing better than everyone who hasn’t run at all.
Make it measurable: As a goal oriented person, I find running so satisfying because it’s so easily measured. I use the Nike+ app so I can easily see when I’ve gotten a faster time on a run, run a longer distance or gained a new trophy.
Take a holistic approach: If you’re running a lot but then stopping to get KFC or McDonalds on the way home what’s the point? Food is fuel and you need to think about what you’re putting into your body. Research healthy recipes, take supplements, get protein into your diet and enjoy treats in moderation. It is OK to bulge on healthier fast food on occasions. And make sure you’re drinking lots of water!
Anyway, these are just a few of the things that have helped me along the way. I’m no expert by any means, just someone who is trying to stay active and healthy. As a side note – if running isn’t for you, why not find some kind of exercise you do enjoy? Join the gym or a sports team or do a martial art 🙂