For nearly two years, (yes, I said two years) I seemingly prided myself on how little exercise I did.
1. Get your gear.
One of the many excuses I used for not exercising the past two years is that I needed running shoes. I decided to eliminate that excuse and invest in the gear I needed to run. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but you need the gear to stay comfortable and avoid injury. And, if you can, find some gear that is not only functional but that you enjoy. It helps. I got some super light weight, red kicks that almost made me want to go running.
2. It's never too late to get started.
No matter how long you have NOT done something, leave the guilt in the past and JUST begin. Take the first step, no matter how hard, painful and frustrating it may be. Trust me, that first time running for real in preparation for the Three Miler, I ran just over 1 mile (at a not very fast pace) and I was whooped. Like seriously, sniffles and all, whopped. But that first time out, no matter how long it’s been, is the only way to get to the second time out.
I needed the Three Miler as the goal. I needed something to work towards. It’s always helpful and motivating when you are working towards something tangible. Find something, create something to work towards, just like the Three Miler, and get to work progressing towards your goal one step at at time.
4. Keep good company.
The best part about preparing for the Three Miler was doing it in the company of good friends. It was just as much an experience in fellowship as exercising, which made the 5:30 a.m. runs actually enjoyable because I knew I was going to take a post-run video and blow up their phones as they headed to work. I found that space of fellowship and accountability essential because they totally accepted my slowness at the beginning and encouraged me as I made progress.
There will be times when you don’t feel motivated and want to quit, especially when you try running after eating a BBQ sandwich and mac & cheese. Talk about one step backward. What I found during that run though was that I slowed my pace down, accepted my sluggishness, and made an intentional effort to just keep going, push through it, and at some point the sluggishness broke, and my speed picked back up. The other thing is that life will get in the way sometimes. I was only preparing for the Three Miler for 32 days and I missed an entire week of running. In the past, I would get discouraged and maybe even shut it down, but this time, especially knowing others were relying on me, I accepted that life gets in the way sometimes and I prioritized simply getting the next run on the schedule, and just kept going.
I ran faster than I can ever remember running, at least as an adult. That was fun. I enjoyed that experience. But I also realize that regardless of how fast I would have run my mile this past Saturday, I would have been a better me- I would have been a more healthy person who was able to spend some quality time in fellowship with friends.
After enjoying my personal record for a few days, I am going to sign up for the next goal, with some good company. Anybody want to Dash for the Diamond with me?