I started running consistently for the first time in my life over the last few weeks. It has spurred me to new levels of human stability and adulthood I did not think possible. The big secret behind me, a very lazy person who loves television, pizza, and ice cream, bringing themselves to run, is one teensy thing I had to realize:
I am not doing this because I should. I am not doing this because I read it online. I am not doing this because anyone else is doing it. I am not doing this because my mother is fat and I do not want to be. I am not doing this because of anyone else.
I had previous hangups about it, where I compared my relative fitness to those I knew in my head, or pitied myself for being raised by a woman who thought walking up the stairs was exercise. (Still love you, Mom.) My running could not be about anyone but me, and I was making it about other people.
Running should not be about anyone else but you.
Here are three benefits I earned after three weeks of running every 2–3 days:
My Brain is Happier
Not really a side effect I expected, and hard to describe, but every other day when I run, I think clearer, I can stay up longer without feeling exhausted, and process emotions or decisions faster, with better results. This has given me more time in the day to accomplish more of what I want, which is also very satisfying personally. It helps me process my existential angst and emotions. My brain even gets kind of unhappy if I don’t run within two days of my last run.
It is Not a “Big Deal” to Go For a Run
There does not have to a be a bloodletting ceremony with seven vows before I grab my shoes and go to the local gym. It takes me all of 35 minutes to get to the gym, walk/run for 1.75 miles*, and go home sweaty and happy. The gym is a nice place to ignore every human blurring I walk by, go to my favorite treadmill, put in my headphones, load up Law&Order on TNT, and begin my run with a quarter-mile walk while I pick music. I had built it up way too much in my head.
Sleep is More Restful
The title pretty much covers this one. I actually wake up with the sun these days, which in Maine means between 5 and 6am depending on when I went to bed the night before. I sleep like a rock, and I can still feel energetic when I get up early. Dang.
I highly suggest it, but you have to do it because you want it. Because you want the benefits. Because of you. No one else. Harder than you think, to bring yourself to want these healthy, grown up effects. It is easier to pretend we are still kids.
I am tired of easy. Are you?
*not that far on a treadmill, maybe 20 minutes for a beginner