I used to run.
It felt good to get out every day and explore, catch up on my podcasts and just feel the world under my feet.
I ran 5ks, 10ks, and even Half-Marathons. I loved running.
I had the gear, the stamina, and the motivation. In fact, I even had a running blog! (Sadly, now gone from the internet.)
But then, after a while, I didn’t anymore. For some reason, I just stopped running.
I stopped lacing up my shoes and going outside. I stopped getting on the treadmill. I stopped needing to feel normal.
There are plenty of reasons why I stopped running — lack of trails, frustration with having to start over, and just a flat out lack of motivation.
Every now and then I would try to start again. I’d start out strong, remembering how easy running used to be, then end up struggling to get through the first mile. It was…frustrating. It was defeating enough to keep me from really building up my stamina again. In my head, I figured if I wasn’t running 10 miles, then it wasn’t a run worth going on.
I forgot why I ran in the first place — because I liked it! Because it felt good to be outside. It felt good to be moving.
Instead, all I focused on is how hard it was and so I stopped, which only made it harder to start again.
Why I’m Starting Again
Obviously, with moving to Colorado, I’m now surrounded by incredibly fit and active people. It’s inspiring! But what’s more is that it’s challenging. I go on hikes with friends and I’m the one huffing and puffing, and the competitor in me hates the feeling of being the one lagging behind.
I can only use my short legs as an excuse for so long. Eventually, I have to accept that the reason I’m struggling on hikes is because I just don’t have the cardiovascular and lung strength I used to. I expect too much of my body without actually training it to do what I want!
So I’ve decided to start running again. I want to get back to that level of fitness that I was at just after grad school, when running was my thing. I’m only a few years away from 30 and I don’t want to feel like I’m getting older — I want to feel like I’m getting better.
I read on Zen Habits that to create a habit, you have to tell yourself a good story. You have to give yourself a good enough reason to keep going.
My reason? I want to be stronger, faster, and more capable when I’m outside. I don’t want to question if a hike will be too much for me. I don’t want to fear the 14ers. And I want to look as good as I feel. I want to build healthy habits that will serve me for years to come because I’ll never want to stop climbing mountains.
How Do You Start Again?
I’ve been running again for a little while now and I’ve found that two things have the biggest impact on my sticking to this new habit:
1) Going slow. I have accepted that I’m not back to my 10 miles at an 8:30 mile/min pace yet. It will take time to get there. For now, it’s more important that I just keep moving, so I’ve started running A LOT slower. This helps me run longer and work on increasing my distance. The speed will come eventually.
2) No excuses. I basically don’t have rest days because one day off and I find myself skirting the habit altogether. Right now, my runs aren’t intense enough for this to hurt me. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. And really, as long as I get myself outside for at least 15 minutes, I count it. I just can’t let myself start convincing myself that it’s okay to take a day off from building this habit, at least not yet. This is why cross-training with hiking or biking is fantastic. I’m never bored!
How’s It Going So Far?
Well, it’s going. I’m not running any half-marathons anytime soon, in fact, I’m barely able to increase my pace beyond the 9:00 min/mi I’m shooting for. Plus, with other exciting things going on in my life, I ended up taking a whole week off. Not the plan. But this week, I’m getting back out there. It helps me feel good and sleep better, and hopefully, in a few months, I’ll be tackling those mountains with with ease!
How do you stay fit?
What motivates you to get out and do something every day?