In training for my first 5k race, I’ve learned that I am a terrible self-motivator. What was good enough to get my ass moving yesterday will not be enough to drag me away from Downton Abbey today.
Also, I am apparently a sucker for The Pep Talk. I am constantly telling myself new stories to convince my inner couch potato that it's worth it. And you know what? Once I'm up and going it totally is. The challenge is in the getting up.
If you, like me, need constant reminding of the many reasons why you should get off your ass, here are the five that top my list.
Running burns fat. Let’s just get the vanity right out of the way. If you run and eat a healthy diet, you will change your body composition. I’m not saying you’ll lose weight (that depends on a lot of other factors) but you will absolutely burn fat and build lower body muscle. If you’re trying to get in shape, a solid half hour to an hour of cardio every other day will put you on the right track.
You’ll feel like Rocky. 1) Make a playlist of power songs, 2) Put on some workout clothes that make you feel sporty, 3) Run farther or faster (or both!) that you ever have and 4) Release a ferocious battle cry and give yourself a high five.
|Aren't you glad you did your cardio?|
You might have to actually run from something someday. If you can run a quick half-mile, you can get away from 99% of the people who would ever want to lay their nefarious, grubby hands on you. “Run like hell” is a self-defense strategy that tends to be glossed over, but it's a totally valid way of avoiding both muggers and zombies.
Endorphins. Because of The Happy. “Runner’s High” is totally a real thing in the real world, and although it usually requires sustained strenuous activity to get to that sense of utter euphoria, any exercise beyond about 30 minutes is going to start releasing endorphins, and endorphins are some good shit. They improve your mood, increase your stamina (so that run suddenly becomes a bit easier) and relieve pain.
Running is like meditation for twitchy people. I am filled with soul-crushing panic by even a few minutes of idleness. MY TO-DO LIST. LET ME SHOW YOU IT. Running is as close as I will probably ever come to meditation. I put on my headphones, zone out and focus on my breathing, the pace of my footfalls and the repetitive machinations of my limbs. It’s calming.
And if all else fails? Tell yourself a story. On Monday I might be prepping to compete on Out of the Wild, on Wednesday I'm training to survive in a Resident Evil style zombie apocalypse scenario and on Friday I'm just running towards my first cocktail of the weekend. You do what you gotta do, right?
What motivates you?