Best running advice I ever got
Monday, April 01, 2019
I do not love to run. But I love my life a whole lot more when I run.
When I had my second baby in 2017 I had to consciously work to get back in some kind of shape. I got exercise by taking her on long walks every day during my leave and it was heaven. Then maternity leave ended and things got so very much harder. I didn't have the option for hour+ long walks in the sunshine staring at my little baby in her stroller. Now my only option for dedicated physical activity was after both kids were asleep. This was after a long day at work, an evening of homework, making dinner, taking care of the house, and preparing lunches for the next day. It's all the standard stuff that we all deal with. (But it's still hard....geez, are we *all* super heroes?? Answer: Yes, yes we are.)
So I went back to my treadmill every other night. I really struggled. The treadmill is dull so walking gets tedious, and running is hard. So very hard. There were evenings (many evenings) where the idea of running loomed and was such a bummer. Quitting is so easy. Then I got some great advice from an actual, skilled, consistent runner. He said, "just run until you don't feel like it anymore."
I have been a runner on-and-off for 20 years and this has never occurred to me. I would start out a run thinking, "I'm going 3 miles today." If I started hating life after 10 minutes, well then pushing myself through the next 20 was pretty unpleasant. If I didn't do a substantial distance (whatever that means), I felt as though it was a failed workout. Maybe it was the fact that this advice came from an accomplished runner that gave me "permission" to do it. I adopted this new mindset. I run every other night for six minutes. After that, I do whatever I feel like. Maybe I want to keep going. Maybe I want to do six more minutes and see how I feel. Maybe I want to increase my speed. Maybe I want to slow down to a nice walk and play games on my phone. The only thing I don't do is stop.
I got that advice 14 months ago. I still go every other night. I haven't quit. Many nights I get my 3 mile run done; many nights I don't, but the mental struggle ahead of time is gone. To be honest, I kind of look forward to the alone time.