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I ran every day for a month... Here’s what I learnt…


We’ve all thrown around the statement “I’m not a runner” concluding in “therefore I shall not run”. As if runners are born ready to run out of the womb.


There’s no denial that it’s much easier to stick to what we know and enjoy to stay in our comfort zone. But the truth is, enjoyment comes as a byproduct of what we’re good at. To get better at something you must do more of it. No one wants to head out for a run and find themselves 200m from starting point, gasping for air with an achy hip and a notion of feeling defeated.



Practice makes perfect.

But here are the facts, it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic. In minimum you’re going to need about 3 weeks before you can righteously conclude you’re not “good at something”.

You’re going to need some mental grit to get past the beginners phase but on the bright side you’ll learn some valuable skills along the way.

Having never taken up running consistently in my training and never considered myself a "runner" I set myself a goal to run every day for a month.

Here’s what I learnt…

Discipline

Most days I was unmotivated to head out running. Being consistent is a practice of self-discipline. You cannot rely on motivation alone to get you through. We all have good days and bad days but being consistent allows for progress while preventing your emotional state to take over.

What helped- Plan your runs to create a routine.

I aimed to go running before lunch between 10-12.30, creating a time frame that works for you will hold you accountable. Once planned and fitted into your schedule you minimise temptation to find excuses to go “later”.

Self-talk

A pep talk to yourself can be incredibly powerful to increase motivation. We often feed ourselves self-destructing thoughts to talk ourselves out of doing something. Oppositely positive self-talk can make the difference between making it out the door instead of finding excuses not to go.

What helped- Turning those thoughts from ” I won’t be able to do it” or “It’s too hard” to “I’ll try my best” and “Anything is better than nothing”.

The power of mind over matter

If you can trigger a positive feeling associated with your action you will be more driven towards completion. The natural response of trying something new may be fearful but reminding yourself of the goal you set out to achieve and why, can boost your will power.

What helped- Reminding myself as to why I set out this goal and how it would benefit me. This helped me envision achievement to fuel motivation to head out running. I set out myself a goal to run every day regardless of the distance.

Self-care

The simplistic repetitive motion of putting one foot in front of the other generates a therapeutic approach to your mental wellbeing. My gym workouts can at times be unorganized leaving my mind in a chaos of “ what to do next” when attending the gym.

The repetition in running helped me create a constant mental flow not only giving me time to help me process my thoughts but also to tune in with my mental state to give me clarity.

What helped- Using the time I set aside for running as self care. Whether it be to reflect or zone out to my favourite playlist, remembering that physical activity benefits our mental health.

The takeaway here is to step out of your comfort zone and embrace vulnerability.


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