Can You Learn To Actually Enjoy Running? I Did.
One of my New Year's Resolutions is to re-ignite my burgeoning running habit. It's fallen a bit by the wayside and I don't want to lose the ground I gained. It was so encouraging to find me, of all people, learning to enjoy running. I am not a likely candidate.
How many times had I explained to others (and myself) that I was not created to run. The idea of an after-dinner walk on a pretty day seemed pleasant enough, but the idea of propelling myself into a jog seemed irrational--unless I were to find myself being chased by a snapping doberman. (True story--although I mean no disrespect to dobermans or their guardians, generally-speaking--but that one had gone rogue that day.) Not only did I despise the huffing and puffing, but I seemed anatomically *not made for it.*
Fast forward several weeks. After just a few weeks of consistently seeking to run a little more each day, I could feel my legs "craving" the movement. (Can legs crave things? Hmm.)
I'd spent years and years living a mostly sedentary lifestyle--punctuated by a few weeks here and there of sporadic attempts to become more fit. I don't know exactly what finally caused me to say "enough is enough," but perhaps it was just being "sick and tired of being sick and tired." (Thank you, Ozzy.)
Day one was just a slow walk, for around 10 minutes or so--followed by days and days of more walking, consistently. (Consistency is a separate skill I've had to develop, but that's a different topic for another day.)
One afternoon, after a few weeks of walking and a sincere change in my eating habits (also another topic for another day), I felt more energetic...and stronger. Strong enough that galloping off seemed doable. It was a small gallop, mind you, but I galloped nonetheless. And it felt good. It has progressed from that moment.
I tell ya, the first time you run past your previous stopping point with less huffing and puffing, and the feeling that you could keep going, is paradigm-shifting. It feels like freedom from a self-induced body prison. That is an empowering feeling I sincerely want you to experience.
Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor nor a personal trainer, so please consult your healthcare professional before beginning a program.
Nope, I'm just a regular person who got fed up with the self-imposed limits I placed on my ability to move, to be active, to live more fully. I have a looong way to go and now am having a personal re-boot moment, but I never thought I would have made the progress I did. It's an amazing feeling.
My advice from one friend to another? Don't limit yourself. You are capable of more than you know and there is an athlete in all of us. Find yours.
If you would like more advice on how to build a running practice from the ground up, check out this article from the New York Times.