Mindful Monday: Breaking Past a Running Rut

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So I’ve had a rough year. I’ve talked in the past about my weight issues and surgery to remove my lap band this winter and it has been a real struggle. I have been yo-yo-ing between a 20 lbs weight difference over the past six months and it’s hard. I know my body and that how I work. I have to work twice as hard for half the results where a number of my friends and family are genetically built to live on pints of ice cream, never exercise, and maintain their weight.

I really want to get to a point where I don’t care about the number on the scale or the size on a dress label, but if I’m honest I’m not there yet. I do want to feel healthy and strong so I’m trying to shift my frame of mind from success being measured by hitting physical milestones vs pounds disappearing from the scale. On thing I’ve been focusing on is running.

I’ve been running since 2011 when I did the couch to 5K program. I had fallen off a routine due to all these health issues and surgery last fall and winter. This spring I wanted to get back into a routine so I went back to basics and started my favorite C25K Podacast training again.

Now I’m back in a rhythm of running for 30 minutes about three times a week. This fall I plan on doing Bridge to 10K again. In the meantime, I’ve been committing to keeping up with my weekly runs. Those who know me understand that I’m not a creature of habit in a lot of ways. I get bored easily. I don’t always take the same subway to work because I get restless if I’m walking the same side streets every day. Based on this you might think that running for the same amount of time several days each week would be tedious to me, but it isn’t.

Running like any activity is about learning what you like, what you hate, and what challenges you in a good way. I’ve learned that I really don’t like running on a treadmill so I plan my runs around the weather each week. This also plays into the time of day that I run. During the summer when it gets hot I tend to do more evening runs. Now that we’re entering falls I do more morning runs during the week and afternoon runs on the weekends since it’s cooler and the sun goes down earlier.

What really helps me shake things up though is running different routes. Sometimes I run on pavement and other days I run on trails which switches things up and gives my joints a break. What is so wonderful about the parks in NYC is that I can run the same direction for months and constantly find new trails and detours that I didn’t know exist. I typically can run 5K in thirty minutes but my distance can change based on my route. I can often go further and faster if I’m running a flatter path or a course I’m familiar with. Somedays I don’t get as much distance in but it’s a more challenging run because of an incline or running uphill the majority of the time. This keeps things fresh. Some days a run is breezy and the time flies by. Other days thirty minutes feels like three hours and I want to cry. But keeping with this helps me appreciate the strength my body has.

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