Running hasn’t always brought comfort. In fact, it used to rank highly in the “Top 5 Childhood Anxieties” list. Starting in Middle School, “The Mile” was one of the top causes of sleepless nights and sudden attempts to feign an illness. The dreaded 10 laps around the Middle School Soccer Field seemed to last hours and everyone seemed to be exponentially faster than I was.
It wasn’t until college when I started to give running a second chance. I realized that I could make it mine. I could go as slow as I wanted, stop as often as I needed. It wasn’t a race, but a place where I could just clear my head. Every run could be my run. There was no teacher standing over me with a stop watch, no kid sprinting past me while I trudged along.
I wanted to become a better runner, but I didn’t know how to go about it. At the club involvement fair, I came across UCONN Endurance, a club where we “run for fun.” Joining a running group like Endurance opened so many doors. I was able to gain some advice from more seasoned runners, hear about some of the best races to run, and most importantly I made some of my best friends.( They were the ones to talk me into running my first half marathon. )
Joining a running group- or any type of fitness group- can help you commit to your goal.
Training for my first half marathon meant carving out at least an hour of my time while at school. Between classes and homework, I was able to find the morning was the best time to get my runs in. In fact, my most favorite time of day suddenly became the morning. I found myself waking up just before the sun in order to treat myself to a sunrise. It became my happy place. My quiet place.
Running then became so much more to me. It was no just an exercise. It was my time to forget about any exams, projects, relationships, future career options. I was born a worrier, but running granted me a clear mind.
When you want to commit to something new, like working out or eating healthier, you must make sure you are doing it for you. That deep down you want to do this. If it is truly for your own benefit, make sure you have a justifiable and healthy reason behind it. Remember why you started and tune into the feelings of accomplishment. Whether it be running 5 minutes longer than last time, waking up feeling more refreshed, or creating a new delicious meal. Change takes time, but being able to cherish those feelings of achievement will give you the energy to keep going.