Lessons I Learned From Incorporating Running Into My Fitness Routine
Running never came easy to me in the beginning. I was a chubby kid that was so insecure by how athletic my peers were, and I simply never tried. However, once I left school and got my act together, I started running regularly. It started small with 15 minutes, three times a week, and now I run an approximate 3K each day with the aim of hitting a half-marathon by March 2021. Here are the lessons I learned from incorporating running into my fitness routine.
1. Learning how to push myself and my boundaries
I remember running during my final semester of university, when the lockdown in March 2020 was in full swing. I remember appreciating the wind, the pumping of my legs like a couple of pistons and the freedom I felt with such a small action. I remember telling myself I’ll have to get through this, to keep pushing even when I didn’t want to, even when the pessimistic side of me kept insisting that I didn’t need to finish the lap. Running taught me to keep going. Even if that meant crawling my way to the finish line.
2. Staying in tune with my body
Most days when I go for a run, I tell myself to “let your body sing”. To me, this was a release for my body, and it was that time of the day that I felt most aware that I even had a body. That’s such a weird thing to say, but it’s true! I was walking around Eco Community Park in Shah Alam with my high-school friend the other day and we were talking about life, philosophy, and mindfulness. She told me about how she tried a method of meditation that involved simply shaking your arms and recalling the negative aspects of your day/life. She mentioned that through this method, she was able to not only un-suppress (not release, but un-suppress) her negative thoughts, but she was also able to stay in tune with her own body.
We spend so much time stuck in our minds, worrying about the past, present and future that we rarely notice our body. Although I’ve never tried the method my friend mentioned, I’ve definitely been much more in tune with my body while running.
3. Working on self-discipline
Anyone that knows me will know how “airy-fairy” I am. My whole life has been a series of reckless mistakes and just a general attitude of carelessness. I take everything as it comes and rarely put any effort to incorporate discipline into my life. However, running has become an avenue to work on my discipline. I create measurable and achievable goals for running and I work towards it during my runs. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I fail; it’s all part of the journey, but at least I stay onboard that journey.
4. Regulating emotions
I’ve saved the most vital lesson as the last: my emotions can be regulated by physical exercise. As an emotional person, I’m prone to a lot of mood swings which no one appreciates. However, whenever I’m in a bad mood or stressed about certain things, I go for a run. My longest run ever was done on a day that I felt absolutely horrible. And guess what? After that run, I felt nothing but contentment. Sure, the problems were still there, but they didn’t bother me as much and I was able to make decisions with a clearer mind.
For aspiring runners out there, I highly recommend Haruki Murakami’s “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”. This is an insightful novel on the love and discipline of running. It is also a great motivator for anyone that wants to start running or even someone that already loves running!