Cheapest Form of Therapy
I know, I know - some of you are probably rolling your eyes like, "this girl can't actually enjoy running", but I do ... I really, really do. I feel like running gets a bad reputation sometimes ... its boring, its bad for your knees, its catabolic, etc. Yes, anything in excessive amounts isn't all that good for you, but I'm not talking about running ultra marathons everyday, I'm talking about waking up an extra 30 minutes earlier to get out and clock some km's before the rest of the world wakes up. Now, THAT is bliss to me.
I didn't always love running and there are still days when I'm just not feeling it, but its very rare if I ever regret getting out for a run. It's my "me" time, which as a strength and conditioning coach, doesn't come very often so you have to take advantage when you can. Running helps clear my head, set the tone for my day and do something for myself. It doesn't take a lot of equipment and there aren't many places you can't run - so it really is one of the more accessible activities. Running helps with aerobic endurance and can also help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Aside from all the physical benefits, the most important to me are the mental ones. You can't run from your problems, but breaking a sweat definitely helps you relieve some stress. Running has allowed me to escape from some difficult times in my past - not being dramatic, but everyone's got their own sh*t going on and its all relative. Running gave me a release and empowered me - it allowed me to take control in situations where I didn't have any. I am the one controlling the speed, the route, my breathing, my sock swag ... you get the point. There have been nights I haven't been able to sleep, or focus, or finish something I was trying to get done - so I've grabbed my shoes and ran out the door. For some reason, running has, for the most part, always put me back into a good head space.
Lately I've been running without headphones or music, and its definitely been one of my better decisions. It has allowed me to fully reap the mental benefits of a good jog with no distractions. Sometimes I just daydream, other days I make a to-do list, and nowadays more often than not I'm planning programs, blog posts, and recipes - productive, right? But the point is, I want to enjoy time with myself - not dread it. As an athlete, we need to know how to perform when there's no music blaring, fans cheering, or people watching. We need to WANT to perform at our best for ourselves, not for validation from anyone else.
You need space? You need time to think? You have a big decision to make? Go for a run, it just may be your new form of therapy.
P.S. Shout-out to my #Asics for saving my legs through my many km's over the past year ... you the real MVP.