Running is life.
Once you get into it, it’s hard to imagine life without it.
It’s scientifically proven that running gives you a high, much like a drug. Hence, the term “a runner’s high”. Running has helped me with many of my mental health issues and made me a better person as a result. Running increases endorphins and reduces anxiety.
The thing is you can never be sure you’ll keep at it forever. Perhaps, you’d fall out of love with running with time. Or fall in love with a new fitness routine. That’s understandable. However, in my experience and having spoken to a friend with a hip injury who can’t run anymore, I can guarantee you that running is not like any other workout. I believe that once a runner, always a runner.
So how do you know you’ll keep your running habit for life? Life sometimes happens and you fall off the wagon. How can you make sure you stick to your running routine?
I’ve outlined some of the biggest life changes that the average person goes through, myself included, and tried to offer predictions and solutions based on my experiences.
So here are 5 signs to indicate that probability.
The weather never stops you.
What’s a little storm, you say to yourself when putting your running shoes in the morning. Who cares you’re all wet and freezing by the time you get home considering you’ve got your elevated endorphins keeping you warm?
Yea, nice try, weather, but it isn’t going to work.
Now I’m quite lucky I live in a generally warmer place but here, when it rains, it really pours. And when it’s hot, it’s boiling. I’ve heard many of my friends say: “I’m not running in the summer, it’s too hot”. What? That’s just an excuse. To me, you’re just not that into running to begin with.
Got a new job?
Before you accept the offer, you make sure the morning start is late enough to incorporate your morning runs or you shift your waking time to an hour earlier to accommodate your running schedule.
Recently, I got a great job offer. Or at least that’s how it looked like on the surface. When I started digging deeper, I found out it was a good 10-12 hours per day including the regular overtime. Offer declined. Nothing stands in the way of my dedicated running schedule.
No problem. Running with the extra weight of pushing the pram is the new running style. Well, maybe just for a couple of years until the baby grows up. Either way not even a new baby will stop you from your favourite fitness activity.
When my first child was born, it was winter time and surprisingly, very cold. I remember putting on layer after layer on her just for me to go for a walk with the pram. The walks turned into slow runs and the rest is history.
Point is, apart from the benefit regular walks in the fresh air have on the baby, the parent benefits greatly, too. Adjusting to life with a newborn is difficult as it, considering you spend most of your time indoors. So getting outside, preferably in nature, is a great way to rest, de-stress and feel great about life back indoors. Plus, it helps in dealing with the baby blues some mummies may be experiencing. A walk around the neighborhood is also great. And if you have great neighbors, it’s a great way to go back to socializing especially during the time when all you think you want is isolation from the world.
Now, if you like running alone and/or feel weak to run while pushing the pram at the same time, perhaps enlist the babysitting help of a family member or a good friend?
Running buddy quit on you?
No problem. Running alone lets you listen to that new music playlist you’ve wanted to check out for a long time. Running with headphones on also means you can easily pass by that chatty old lady from next door with a simple wave hello instead of being stopped and talked to.
Sure, it does feel a little awkward at first, especially if you’re used to always having a running buddy but you will get over it.
Running on your own probably means you breathe better. Why? Because you can keep your mouth open for that extra supply of oxygen instead of engaging in conversing.
I now have to put my running face on when I go for my runs. What do I mean by that? Mouth is open, hands are in perfect fists and my focus is entirely on my running style and distance. Highly recommend!
As scary as it is, you power through and go about your runs as normal. A good rule is to check out where other neighboring fellow runners go and follow their paths until you make your own.
What I did when we moved areas was to go for walks in the beginning instead of runs to check all the nearby roads and judge what’s safe and what’s not. I also checked what other runners were doing and wearing. Now, if you’re always used to wearing just a plain old T-shirt, observe if they wear more alarming attire. That probably means that cars speed in the neighborhood and they need that extra layer of protection. Adjust to your new surroundings slowly
Whatever it is you do, don’t give up on your running habit. New areas mean new paths to conquer and that’s challenging and exciting at the same time.
So there you have it. The five biggest routine disrupters and how to deal so you can remain a runner for life.
Of course, getting injured and having to re-think your running lifestyle is a separate issue. Here, we’re only looking at the big life changers not involving injuries.
I’ll be curious to know what your experiences have been and how you had to adjust to life changes to still accommodate your running. Feel free to share!