Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Running to the next tree...

I would like to be a runner, I don't think that I am there yet. My journey so far has reenforced many things for me and taught me some things about myself. I have learned about how to motivate myself, how to set small iterative goals to get to a larger goal (how do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time.), and that one goal (running) can support another goal (losing weight/becoming fit)/.

When I first started running, I was lucky to be able to do 1/4 of a lap at the track. I would find myself winded and, for lack of a better term, would quit. I would do this successively over the course of my 3 - 4 mile walk, with run. With time, I started to run 1/2 a lap, and then 3/4 of a lap.

As I increased my distance, I started to recognize that it wasn't my body that was stopping me from going further, it was my mind. It wasn't until I ran a full lap, and kept going, that I realized that I really could go much further, if only I pushed myself. Sure, I was winded and wanted to stop after that first full lap, but I also was so proud of myself for running a full lap, that I wanted to see how far I could push myself.

I started to notice that when I set a goal - whether at the track or around the neighborhood, I tended to stop when I reached it, even if I still could have gone further. So, I changed up my approach and started reaching new levels.

I started stating my goals as "at least finish this lap and then see if I can get around the bend." As I approached the bend, I would adjust my goal to "at least around the bend and then see if I can get to the next bend." When I am running in the neighborhood, I use houses, corners, and trees to guide my goals.

Using this approach, I have been able to run as far as 1 mile without breaking to walk and running near mile intervals multiple times over the course of a 3-4 mile journey. And, when on mornings like today, it has been a while since I ran, I use this approach to keep me going. I didn't run a full mile straight, but I kept pushing myself to run further.

Of course, when I take a break and walk, I also set goals - "I can walk to the next tree, but then I need to run". It helps me keep me on track. Eventually, I would like to get to the point where I can run a full 5k and join all of my friends that do the local 5k. I am still a ways from there, but if I continue running to the next tree, I will eventually get there.

Running to the next tree, works for me!


Unknown said...

Running is difficult for me, but it's the only form of exercise that works really quick at losing a few pounds. I have found over the years that running is so much more mental than physical. Keep thinking positive thoughts, or no thoughts at all. Sometimes I listen to music and other times, it doesn't work. In the end, I try to enjoy the blood moving through my body as I'm running. It's very therapeutic. Good luck!