I have been falling in and out of love of my running habit this year like an absolute yo-yo. And for some time, I honestly could not figure out why. I tried downloading new apps, running in new locations and even starting more motivating running playlists. For a time, this helped drive my motivation but then I found it stalling once again. I was really struggling to improve on stamina and my running achievements overall which was very frustrating and made me feel as though it was pointless to even go. But, the more I’ve fallen back into it, the more I’ve recently starting to realise what the issue really was.
I have always ran and exercised with the end of goal of either losing or maintaining my weight. I’m not an overweight girl so to some, that admission may seem pointless or infuriating, but I’ve never been completely happy with my weight, always wanting to change something and if I ever put any on, that’s a massive issue for me. It’s not that I’m overly obsessed with weight issues, but it’s definitely something that I like to keep control of. I want to feel nice in my clothes and not have to worry about my appearance. I’m not the only one who’s doing this. In fact, we’re bombarded with articles every day telling us how exercise can help us to lose weight, with other health benefits often addressed as a side note.
When I was running with weight concerns as my primary reason, I always struggled to find the motivation to run longer distances consistently, often opting to run for 1.5miles on each outing. This is because I found out that if you run 3 miles each week, it can help you to lose weight so I figured out that if I went for a run 3 times a week, I should absolutely smash my goal. It did work and I managed to maintain my weight but after a point, running became tedious and I really wasn’t enjoying it but instead, I found myself dreading the thought of going outside for a run. Besides this point, it didn’t make me feel better about losing weight either as I found it was too easy to become obsessed with the negative observations.
Yet a few weeks ago, I started running again because I wanted to feel more healthy and active and I was missing my post run high. But this time my focus was to become more healthy and to feel better in my overall well-being rather than to simply lose weight. Interestingly, the results were completely different. I’ve found that I’m running almost double the amount I was previously and being out of the house on my run is much more enjoyable – I find myself looking forward to my runs. In fact, if I don’t feel like going on certain days, I won’t and that’s totally okay for me. It took me a little while to realise what impact this change in mindset had had. After taking a break from the constant running regime, I started to realise again why it became a hobby for me in the first place. Running is a way to get out of your head, get outside and get your body moving for a short space of time. It’s recommended that we do 30 minutes of exercise per day for five days a week in order to truly see the benefits it makes to our health. The thought of doing this previously seemed so daunting sometimes but now, I find I do this easily, even if I just go for a long walk at a fast pace. Looking after your health should come first and appearances should definitely come second.