For the past two months, I have been seriously debating breaking up with running.
If you know me, you know, that is a big deal.
For the last 12 years, running has been my happy place. Whether I was single or committed, lighter or heavier, moody or tired, running put a smile on my face.
When clients or friends told me that running made them feel awkward or tired, I listened, but I didn’t really “get it.” Since I didn’t remember the frustrations associated with starting to run, I didn’t truly understand how running could be anything other than wonderful.
I didn’t run in February and March. The weather was terrible and running is hard on the body, so a break seemed like a good idea.
Taking a running hiatus is — in theory — healthy, but my mood suffered. I was noticeably crabbier without running — especially at first. So, I figured that my first run “back” would feel amazing.
It didn’t. On April 1 I laced up my shoes with excitement. Instead of feeling awesome, I just felt awkward. Running was hard in a way I didn’t remember. Then, when I read a blog where the author talks about breaking up with running, I thought, maybe she has a point. Maybe instead of pushing through the terrible initial phase of running, I should just take up another sport.
I decided to push through, at least for now. I am gradually getting back into the swing of running. I don’t think I love it yet, but I like it more and more. I don’t think we will break up, but the possibility still exists.
So what is the point of my confession? I usually have predetermined main “take-aways.” Today, not so much. I guess I really just wanted to share my struggles with everyone and say, you are not alone. Finding the motivation to exercise, to push past any initial awkwardness, to find your “exercise bliss,” is a challenge.
This experience has caused me to believe, now more than ever, that health is a process. Getting into a routine takes time and patience — even for a trainer! You don’t always have to have a clear plan. Of course, specific training goals have their place, but so does the goal to simply “keep on trucking.”
Adopting a healthier lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. So, re-calibrate your expectations. Expect that adopting a healthier lifestyle will take long-term dedication. That way you can embrace health hurdles instead of letting them defeat you.
What I mean is, if I had decided to break-up with running, that would have been OK, as long as I didn’t use my struggle with running to justify ditching movement altogether.
One of my favorite Kathleenisms is “make movement ‘non-negotiable’.” Instead of contemplating IF you will move, commit to figuring out HOW you can safely and effectively move.
I am going to keep trying to find my lost love of running — at least for a few more weeks — but I am also going to listen to my body by trying other activities and gradually increasing the intensity of my runs. Who knows, maybe in the process I will find a new fitness love, and that will be OK. As long as I keep moving I will be happy!