For very small periods of my life I have actually enjoyed running, especially along the boardwalk of Venice Beach, up in the Santa Monica Mountains and along the Huckleberry Trail of Virginia (shout-out to my Hokies reading!). For the past couple years though, I have more or less been out of the game. It was on my “goals list” – get to the park and start a few of my mornings with a run – but I could not make it happen and I felt like I was failing myself and even my future health-coaching clients.
Over a week ago, I was up earlier than normal on the weekend and felt a weird desire to go for a run. That has not happened in a long time and I could not believe I was going with it. I jumped out of bed, put on my running shoes and hat, headed to the park and got some stretching and running in. My heart and lungs were pumping, my face was red and I was actually smiling from the fresh air, sweat and endorphins, when all of a sudden I heard and felt a nasty “pop” in my upper, inner thigh.
My bliss was gone as I hobbled home and massaged my poor hamstring. I felt betrayed by my desire, goal and body. I declared to cat Canelo who was the only other one in the room that I was done with running. Oddly enough, a load lifted off my shoulders. I was not failing myself or anyone else by not running, I simply had an unrealistic goal for my physical activity and was stuck in thinking there was a “right way.”
Moving, getting your heart pumping, sweating and filling your lungs with fresh air are all essential to health but there are so many ways to do that – hiking, biking, rowing, swimming, dancing, climbing, surfing, skiing, tennis, football… the possibilities are endless. If you find movement you actually enjoy, you are more likely to do it, make it consistent, reach your goals and even have fun.
I have happily erased running from my goals and am exploring new ways of moving. I would much rather have a solo dance party in my living room, go for a hike, take a long walk, swim at the beach or paddle board (something new I want to experiment with and will let you know how it goes!). When I come across something I do not enjoy, I simply do not pursue it. I do not push, punish or guilt myself; I move on and look for something else. Maybe you are a runner yourself and I applaud you. I hope you enjoy it and are not suffering through it. What works for you, how often and when is all unique and personal to you. Not everything that works for you today in your diet, exercise, career, relationships and spiritual practice, will necessarily work for you tomorrow, a year from now, in five years, etc. Every day is an experiment, so be compassionate towards yourself on your journey.
I encourage you to look at your day and life as an adventure and experiment. Be curious and open to what gives you the most energy, joy, satisfaction, excitement and love. If you have to push your body and mind through a dreaded routine, maybe consider trying something new, even just once. There is no right way to live your life, just get your ass moving and enjoy it!
Sending you love and support on your journey,