It was a beautiful day for a run today, 72 degrees, light
wind, clear blue sky and lush foliage… the trail was busier than usual, with
bikers passing me every few minutes. But
otherwise, it couldn’t have been a better day.
My running partner recently left DC to spend a couple of months working
and I swore to myself that I wouldn’t completely go to pot while she was
gone. So I forced myself to get into my
gear and go for a solo run. Being alone
gave me the chance to reflect on 5 running lessons…
yourself to others – there will always be someone better, faster, fitter,
stronger, smarter… It’s important to be
content with who you are, and do the best with what you’ve got. At least, this is what I told myself as I was
passed by the majority of joggers on the trail, dragging myself along to mile
Appreciate the beauty
of nature – it’s so easy to take nature for granted. I ran by a patch of mushrooms, and one had
been broken off its stalk and flipped over so I could see its little
vents. How can a fungus know how to grow
into such a well organized structure?
How can the cells know to line up into soft, brown vents? I don’t know… it seems pretty amazing to me
that one little organism can be so delicate, complex, and completely
independent. It never asked anyone for
permission to be itself. Meditating on
the whimsy and creativity that is abundant in the life around us can put things
– no one’s going to help you get in shape.
It’s up to you to take care of your body. I’m really bad at this – I don’t like to exercise
alone, and I sometimes put off getting in shape unless I have a partner for
accountability. It’s as if I prefer to
delegate responsibility about my health to others. I know that this is a common tendency in
medicine – where folks rely on their doctors, without taking responsibility for
applying their advice (for diet/exercise/medications) on a daily basis.
Exercise is a
life-long discipline – as I thought about how hard it was to run, and how
heavy my legs felt, and how much easier all of this was just a couple of years
ago… I realized that exercise is not something you do every other weekend. It really is best applied on a daily basis. And being in shape is the result of
consistent hard work – so we have to focus our minds on making exercise a part
of our regimen, just as we make time to eat each day!
Don’t psych yourself
out – part of your success or failure in exercising has to do with whether
or not you believe you can do it. When
you’re running, you have to believe that you can make it the whole way… or that
you can run farther than you did last time.
The temptation is to quit when you start feeling a little tired, but you
have to keep going – encouraging yourself along the way with a positive
attitude. Of course, if you really are
unable to make it (your heart rate is at its limit and you are breathing so
hard you can’t speak) then slow down.
But a lot of the time you’ll find that running an extra mile is a matter
of mindset, not physical capability.
Do you have running lessons to share?
This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.