I love running for so many reasons. Mostly I love it because it gives me confidence and strength.
As some of you know, I struggled with an eating disorder for many years. Not only did I restrict my eating but I exercised excessively at times. After I committed to recovery my therapist told me that I needed to find a way to incorporate fitness into my schedule without it becoming a trigger.
A trigger is something that compels you to want to engage in disordered behavior again.
For a couple of years I would go to the gym in random spurts, but nothing ever stuck because I would always feel triggered. I knew I didn’t want to fall back into old behaviors, so I would just quit working out instead (which led to a whole different set of problems).
I didn’t think I would ever be able to exercise without being triggered until I discovered running.
Running is hard.
It’s so much harder than using the stationary bike or elliptical – which are the two machines I used to always use at the gym.
On the stationary bike or elliptical I would often think about the workouts I used to do; how long I would do them for, at what intensity and how many times a day.
I would think about how many calories I used to burn.
I would think about the clothes I used to fit into (stuff from the children’s section!)
I had time to think about a lot of things during those gym sessions which made them very triggering for me.
When I first started running it felt like no other workout I had ever done before.
I had no mental capacity to think about anything other than just continuing to put one foot in front of the other — because running is hard.
I didn’t think about time or calories burned, I only thought about getting better so that my next running session would be less hard.
Yesterday I ran four miles, hitting a personal record for time at that distance, and it didn’t feel that hard.
I had the mental capacity to think during my run, but I didn’t think about anything negative.
I thought about how strong running makes me feel. I thought about how far I’ve come since I started running a little over a year ago.
I distinctly remember when running 2 miles felt like the hardest thing ever. I remember the way my calves burned and how erratic my breathing was after just 10 minutes on the treadmill.
Running has helped me cross over this huge line in my life that I never thought I would. It’s helped me discover a whole new way to look at fitness and life.
Running has made me a happier, healthier person both physically and mentally.
I hope it’s done the same for you.