(Picture curtsey of experiencefayetteville.com)
I wanted to wait until I established a strong pattern of running regularly to talk about my new morning routine, but I wanted to talk about it early enough so the impressions and opinions of just starting out were fresh. This is the end of my fourth week of running and I want to share my thoughts and feelings about tackling this goal as a person who does not, in general, enjoy exercise. I hope this helps any other physically disinclined people if they are thinking about starting to run. :)
My starting goal was to run three times a week with a day of rest in between and covering a distance of about 1.5 miles. On the first day, it was exactly what I expected it to be: awful. I was sweaty, out of breath, and my face was as red as a tomato at the end of it. I stopped fairly frequently for breaks as I was incapable of pushing myself further than a block (and even less than that if it was a long block). I felt terrible that I was so weak and untrained, but when I finally returned home, I felt good that I pushed myself to do something out of my comfort zone.
And I was thankful I was running early in the morning so that almost no one could see my out-of-shape shame.
A month later, I have made a few serious improvements. I can jog 0.75 miles before slowing down to a fast walk (that’s half of my route). I noticed my breathing is easier as I have finally gained control of my breath during the run. In the beginning, I would gasp and gulp down air erratically but now I can manage a steady three count system of inhaling and exhaling. I did not have cramps in the beginning, as I was not exercising after a meal, but instead I can feel a slight burn or tension in my abdomen as I work out the muscles in my belly. I am also better at dismissing my negative thoughts during the run. In the beginning, all I could think of was “I hate this. This hurts. I would rather be sleeping.” But now, I think “Okay, this part is hard because of the hill, but it becomes easier right after it. Just keep breathing: 1, 2, 3. A little adds up to a lot.”
I chose to pick up running because of my vanity. Weight-wise and looks-wise, I have not noticed too much difference (though that is my fault for not taking a before picture). I lack self control in my eating habits (some people have coffee, I have sugar), but I am eating more vegetables now that I ever had in my life and limiting my sweets. A weird thing I have noticed is that I tend to feel more bloated/bulky on days that I run versus days that I do not. I have heard that running can “make” you bigger, but the result is counter intuitive. Perhaps it is all of my swollen muscles? Or perhaps I’m imagining things.
So to those who want to start exercising but are not enthusiastic to do so, just give it a go. I know we hear this a lot in our life for many of our goals, but honestly, practice is the key. And the only way to practice is to just start. If you can stick with it, you may find that you enjoy pushing yourself, like I do. In some ways, I still do not enjoy running (I hate being sweaty and red-faced), but I really like the energy it has given me throughout the day and being able to enjoy the mornings outside.
Good luck with your goals! And thank you for reading. Please comment or share your experience with running or exercising. :)