How Running Improved My Life
Let me start off by saying I do not actually enjoy running, I don’t enjoy the physicality of it and it’s absolutely not my favourite form of exercise or sport.
“Hold on, hold on mate, wait a minute, is this guy for real?”
“What is this guy on about? The title of the post insinuates running made a positive change in his life but he’s started off by saying he dislikes it? What type of Jedi mind trick is this?”
I know, paradoxical right? But bear with me for a second….‘let me land’ as the kids like to say. I enjoy only two aspects of running, but these aspects have nothing to do with running itself.
“It allows me to be a step ahead of everyone still asleep and be fully prepared to attack the day ahead” — Ross A
Now before I get into what these aspects are, let’s take it back to how I started running in the first place. July 2017, I started a new role in the City and made cool new friends in the workplace. I bonded really well with one in particular, Ross. Truth be told, I think we got on really well because we were the only black men in our department of similar age, background and interests.
Now, Ross turned up to work every day punctual, looking dapper, focused and ready for the day ahead. Having recently become friends on Instagram, I noticed he really enjoyed running and would post his running stats daily. Quite early may I add, 5 am to be exact. I didn’t get it, why on God’s green earth would someone choose to wake up that early to go out running?
I took it upon myself to find out why, so I asked him — “Yo Ross, why you get up so early to jog bro?”
He replied back in his usual calm but confident manner, simply stating:
“It allows me to be a step ahead of everyone still asleep and be fully prepared to attack the day ahead”
Now, never had I heard a guy from my walk of life speak in such a passionate way about running, exuberating confidence and self-esteem while being so tranquil. To put it simply I’ve never heard someone justify a valid reason for getting up at crazy-o’clock to do what many of us wouldn’t.
It was at that moment I felt deeply intrigued and wanted to feel how he felt and see for myself what all the fuss was all about.
So I did it, Samsung alarm tone goes off 4:44 am sharp, eyes still half closed, running gear is hesitantly put on, water bottle filled with electrolytes and my Nike Zoom Structure 21 running shoes laced up tightly.
Here we go!! Let’s get it!! Wait something’s not right…an amplifying voice in my head goes off, drowning out the enthusiasm:
“Ade please go back to sleep, you know you can’t do this.”
“Running is not good for your knees, you know you have bad knees”
“Look, go back to bed and just tell Ross you have an injury, he’ll understand”
“Ok……you really doing this huh? ok pal when you hurt yourself, don’t say I didn’t warn you!”
“Wait you’re actually running, you’re doing this, you’re really doing this — Let’s go Champ! You the man!
First mile down and I feel like a new man; wind in my sails, breathing heavy, out of breath, running technique quite off I’m sure but who cares?! I’m running and I feel amazing. A sense of thrill excites me like never before. This feeling is incredible.
Second mile down and I’m still going, I see a couple pedestrians at a bus stop, I smile upliftingly and say out loud — “Good Morning to you all, hope you have great day”. They look in disbelief, probably thinking this black guy is bonkers.
Third mile down and I came to a rapid stop. Gasping for air like a mad man, sweat dripping down my face and hands stretched over my knees. This is what Ross was talking about, this is how he must feel on his runs.
“I did it, I actually did it” I said to myself gasping for dear life. “Wow this feeling is something else”. But the buzz I got wasn’t from the physical activity…there was something else at play here.
I felt energised and ready to tackle the day ahead. I envisioned myself like Rocky Balboa, running up those steps to raise his hands in victory, symbolising a metaphor for the underdog rising to the challenge.
I said to myself I want to feel like this always and rise to the challenges of life. My attitude going forward was, I am the master of my day and I am unstoppable as long as I get up early enough and go for a run. Running gives me a razor sharp focus to tackle any obstacle in my path.
The aspects of running I enjoy greatly, that I was referring to in the beginning of this post, are Productivity and Focus. When I am up at 5am, I am able to:
- Plan my day ahead — what’s on my to-do list, what requires my urgent attention?
- Listen to my thoughts and cypher what is essential for my well being and what isn’t.
- Set my goals for the day — what do I want to achieve? What tasks/activities can I complete today?
- Quietude — no phone calls, no noisy passing traffic, no television, no social media, no distractions. A true time of peace and freedom.
- Great Start to the day — I have a spring in my step, appreciation and gratitude for life and my blessings.
- Exercise — all the above while also getting fasted cardio in, an added bonus to my morning which they say is the best time for running.
Yes, it will seem at first that you’re forcing yourself to do something unthinkable, but if you make it pleasurable, soon you will look forward to waking up early as it becomes a routine.
With this new found confidence and realisation of what can be achieved simply by getting up early to do a run, I haven’t looked back since and have stayed consistent with my running.
Now it’s your turn to feel the same, get out there and do an early morning run and let me know how you feel afterwards.
“Let’s Go Champ!”