In my early adult life, I spent many days sitting still, but felt like I was racing. Heart pounding and breathless I would not know where to turn. A type of workout that left me drained, but not empowered. Without physical activity in my routine, my mind would get back at me. My energy was backlogged and my mind could not escape the clouds.
Thankfully, running made its way into my life, which has not only helped get me in better physical shape, but has also been the much needed outlet to keep my anxiety at bay. I thought I would focus this week’s blog on the topic of running and my recent commitment to participate in a 10 KM run. While not a vintage topic, running dates back thousands of years. As mammals, our ability to run is instinctual.
I just completed week five of my 10KM training. It amazes me just how quickly time passes. I laugh when I think of how many years of my life I didn’t pursue running. True story: I used to run from running. My stress and anxiety would build up until I could no longer take it. Typically after an anxiety attack, I would get up early the next day and make sure to go for a run. I could never run very far, but it helped. Slowly, my endurance would get better. I would run longer distances and my anxiety quickly became more manageable. When those precious moments of peace finally started to become more frequent, it became difficult to remember the cloudy days, the days when I was spiraling motionless. Forgetfulness, unfortunately, made me lazy. At the same time, it became all too easy to remember how much I disliked working out and running altogether. I didn’t need that. This justification could slide for a while, but slowly, the clouds would return.
This cycle kept going for a number of years and it has actually only been in the past couple of years where I have realized that running from physical activity is not something my mind and body can afford. Scientific research tells us constantly of the benefits of physical exercise, but in reality, it can be all too easy to make excuses. Within the past five weeks, I have started my 10 KM training. While I have been running regularly for the past two years, the recent weeks have reminded me so much of those years ago when I would have to force myself to remember the importance of exercise. Here are a few things that have helped me along the journey:
It’s Not Easy
Remember that. When I first started running all those years ago, I couldn’t even start with running. Not even a light jog. Nope. I started with walking. I’d like to say it was as simple as a 30 minute walk on the treadmill. But that was even too hard. I’m not sure what was harder, that first workout or having to accept that I was really out of shape. I faced a similar truth five weeks ago when I had to start running outside again. After that first walk on the treadmill all those years ago, I committed to going to the gym twice a week for a month. By the end of that month, I was walking 30 minutes on the treadmill at a high incline. It doesn’t get easier without practice.
It’s never too late to change your mind set. For me, my motivation was my commitment to find a way to relieve my anxiety symptoms. I didn’t want the cloud cover day in and day out. I knew the clouds were always going to be there, but if there was a way I could change the weather so that the overcast could just pass through as opposed to linger, well, I wanted in. When I went for my first run, I stared at the outdoors for a good ten minutes before finally putting on my running shoes. It looked so cold and windy outside. When I made it outside that day, the smell of the cold air and the cool breeze was so refreshing that I was glad I didn’t waste another minute debating. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge. In my recent weeks of training outside, I find it helpful to keep an eye on the weather to get my runs in on the warmer days.
Document Your Progress
Never a better time to invest in stickers or one of those fancy calendars from Indigo! Sounds silly, but these little perks definitely help keeping oneself motivated. I remember my first ‘fitness journal’ (I’m a big fan of notebooks and journals). It was red and on the front it had the traditional logo of Keep Calm and Carry On. Whenever I got a day of exercise in, I would note it in the journal. In addition to noting my running milestones, I was also looking for patterns in my attitude and emotions. So if it’s checking off a calendar, writing it down or even blogging, the documentation process contributes to staying on track.
Next week I start the second phase of my training, weeks 6 – 10. Within the next few weeks, I anticipate the days to get longer and warmer and I am hopeful to stick to my training schedule. If you found this topic interesting, I was thinking of doing another blog on my 10KM journey following week 10 where I will go into further detail on my current training plan as well as diet and wellness.
Thanks for stopping by Fanciful Impressions and make sure to check back in the next few days for vintage finds inspired from one of my favorite vintage style icons.