Running is something I’ve taken up recently after years of avoiding it. I’ve always said I’d never be a runner or even enjoy it as a pastime or hobby. As a new mother and stay at home mother, I spend a whole lot of time at home. I used to go to the gym all the time with my husband before our little one came.
But because our precious angel’s coming my workouts have been home basedout of necessity but today it is because I’ve actually grown to love the simplicity and efficacy of my workout regimen. I have not missed going to the gym since I try to be creative with my patterns and revel in the challenge of using the little space I must work out. There’s one problem that has plagued my workouts though.
My programs have consistently lacked cardio since I frankly hate moving around that much and favor weight training over anything else. Lately, for some reason I could not place my finger on, I’ve had this extreme desire to go run and run hard. The impulse did not come from a spontaneously thought up New Year’s resolution or a necessity to get fit. My husband and I have always kept healthy habits and exercise routines. I was amazed at my needing to run and after some thought I realized that the impulse I’ve been feeling stems from the need to clean my thoughts.
What are you feeling?
Feel my heart pound. Feel my lungs suck in the chilly night air. Feel myself kick my own ass emotionally and physically. I want the reward that running provides me because along with the physical benefits the psychological benefits are what keep me wanting to go out for my twilight jog. At the end of the day after countless hours playing , entertaining, teaching, and caring for my boundlessly energetic 9-month old baby girl my energy stores start to feel totally depleted. Honestly this tends to occur around 5 o’clock in the afternoon.
I used to attempt in vain to load myself up with black coffee to complete my day. The problem with that is java only leads to more coffee, which contributes to edginess and jitters followed with a massive fat disposition (and energy) crash. It’s like coming down from a sugar high. I reached a point where I got fed up with that cycle. After dinner, bath time and putting the baby to bed I found myself turning into a couch potato. Sitting on my telephone scrolling through my Instagram feed just like a teen for hours.
I felt dumb and ridiculous to the way I had been spending my spare time. I felt like it had been it was time to become more honest and self-conscious, and start using what little precious free time I have more productively. I feel that taking a step back and taking a good hard look in the customs I had been forming is what subconsciously pushed me out of the home, outside my comfort zone, and into a world where I chase what frighten me head-on instead of avoiding them. Of course it was not easy to begin.
Give it a chance
On day one my husband and I ran along with the baby. It was about 20 degrees outside and the wind felt like microscopic needles slowly tearing away at our lips and knuckles. We were able to run two miles. That might not be much to some, but as gym rats that have not completed any respectable cardio to talk of in more than a decade, we’re very proud.
On day two we took turns, neither of us was able to complete a mile because of how hard we had pushed ourselves the day before. On day three we could not run at all because our legs were so sore from day one’s run. But on day four we chose to deal with the space and intensity of our run and made sure to control our breathing, taking slow deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. I can not express my gratitude for our mutual encouragement to stick with it because today we are making little bits of progress daily and are more effective and focused than ever before.
I discovered that when I’d get done with my run, I got another wind about me. I was incredibly awake and alert and clear minded. I managed to get everything done that I had to with the extra boost of energy that run provided me with, all my little errands, work, writing, weight training, etc.. My mood improves tremendously. It’s a boost of energy and mental stamina that keeps me fueled in a manner that coffee could never do.
From what I gather, most people who operate like to do this early in the morning or throughout the day. While I can understand the appeal to early morning running to get that boost to start the day, for me that burst of energy best serves me in the end of a long day of mothering. Rather than spending the night hours winding down before the tv or in my phone, my husband and I and all the baby bundled up in her jogging stroller and go out for a run. If the little one is sleeping with my husband and I will take turns running while the other stays home to listen out for the infant. For me it is the best end to a day.
My mind is cleared, my mood is enhanced, and I’m completely reinvigorated. As opposed to crashing from caffeine into a futile couch potato I will ease into comfort in a productive and healthy manner. It makes for a restful night’s sleep. Running forces me to reside in the moment. I experience living in the moment meaning that all my ideas and concerns I’ve built up before I begin my run dissipate that harder I push myself.
My busy and occasionally drifting thoughts are replaced with reminders to myself of my posture, or making sure I’m running with my entire foot instead of only on my tip-toes, or controlling my breathing, or telling myself to keep going till I reach that stop sign then the next. After my run I’ve got a much better perspective on the things that worried me before I put out. My worries may be resolved and it starts to seem absurd that I gave them the justification of being valid concerns. What’s amazed me the most about my new pattern is that the mental clarity I gain after I run.
When I decided to confront my fear of distress and lack of ability and began running last week it was not a necessity to escape that prompted me but a desire to push myself physically. Then when I got into it I realized it to push myself also meant I needed to push myself equally hard or more so emotionally. Since the advantages of conducting have become so critical to me I never let myself go more than two days without getting my fix.
Some nights we are simply not able to perform it usually due to family or social engagements, but to keep the habit I make certain to run every other day in the very least. If I feel too tired or not in the mood to run I remind myself just how long it actually takes and how wonderful I’ll feel after I’m done. I identify what I am doing as a justification, which pushes me further. Being tired laying on the sofa considering how tired I am drags out all night till I go to bed. But forcing myself to go out and look after my body and mind with a fast run is so uplifting that it puts me back into the condition of mind to be a better spouse and better mom.