This week, I want to share with you my own personal challenge when it comes to exercise, specifically running. My hope is that if you’re feeling fed up with your own routine or like giving up, you might get some encouragement after reading this and realize there is at least one other person out there sharing that same struggle and decide it’s worth keeping up the battle.
I’ve always exercised regularly and for the most part I enjoy it. There’s been one form of exercise, however, that had always eluded me–running. I had tried to master it a few times in my life with no success and finally, a few years ago, I made the decision that I was going to do it no matter what.
I started out on the treadmill at my gym and gradually increased my time so that I was running for 30 minutes. After doing this for several months I made the next big step, which was to begin running outside. It might sound like this would be an easy transition, but it’s not. A treadmill keeps you at a consistent pace and you can set it and whatever incline you’re comfortable with, unlike a real trail or road. Learning to pace myself took some time and learning how to manage through hills took even longer. Factor in weather (humidity, heat, wind, etc.) and things can get even more complicated.
I’ve been running outside for more than a year and after getting up this morning at 5:00 and making my way around the course at my local park I came to a realization on my drive back home. Running will never come easy to me. It’s always going to be a challenge, I’m always going to have to struggle to make it to the finish line and I will constantly battle both mentally and physically with myself to push further each time and not give up.
I see others at the park who can run and carry on breezy conversations while doing so. Some look as if the pavement “springs” up to their feet and bounces them along–it’s as if they’re running on air. In comparison, the blacktop turns into quicksand and tugs at my own feet pulling them down with each step I take so that I chug along like a dying engine. And forget talking–please don’t speak to me as every bit of my focus is on the pavement in front of me and trying to regulate my breathing in order to make it to my goal distance.
Yet, at the end of my run I feel an accomplishment that no other exercise provides, probably because I never have to work so hard at anything else. Plus, running provides me with results I can’t deny. I’ll continue to struggle through my runs even though I may never be great at it. The way I look at it is I am taking on the challenge and for me that’s a win in itself!