There have been three times in my life that I have run 15.5 miles. Each time I ran those miles, in the 25k Riverbank Run, it was a vastly different experience…and only one was enjoyable. The first time I ran them I was obsessed. The second time I ran them I was stressed. An the third time, well, it was utter bliss. I firmly attribute this to 3 simple tips to enjoy exercise again.
The first race was 6 years ago, soon after I went to college and noticed a small, 5 lbs weight gain. It was nothing that anyone else noticed, but I did. I ended up knee deep, scratch that, DROWNING, in food rules to prevent any more of that. I viewed running as a form of punishment for eating. I had to “burn off” everything that I ate. It was a compulsive behavior, my anorexia was coupled with exercise addiction.
The second time I ran the race was after I began working through my food rules, trying to find food freedom. My weight had restored, I “looked fine” (which really means nothing) and I was on my way to overcoming exercise addiction, too. While I was definitely on my way towards a full recovery I feared that running this race again would trigger an eating disorder relapse. It stressed me out, yes, but I still ran the race. Best choice? Maybe not, but I did.
The third time I ran this race was just over a week ago. And? I LOVED IT.I felt alive the entire time. I cheered to the spectators (so backwards, I know!), high fived every person who stuck their hand out as I passed, and literally sang and danced the whole way.
When I thought about what it was that allowed this last time to be utter bliss I realized that it boiled down to three thing. Ready for ’em?
3 Tips To Enjoy Exercise Again
I had fueled my body.
This race, I can day whole heartedly, that my body was the most properly fueled of all 3 races. I didn’t count calories, macros, restrict carbs or fat, etc. etc. etc. I ate intuitively, allowed my body to tell me what it needed…. and I LISTENED!
I focused on strength.
This one can be kinda taken two ways. One, I incorporated strength training into my workout routine. I firmly believe that having more muscle on my body helped make running more enjoyable- because it was EASIER! I also focused on the feeling of strength. After every run I allowed myself to reflect on the run and feel grateful for my strong legs that carried me so far.
I gave myself grace.
There were days when I was training that I did NOT want to run. There were days when I was training that I did NOT want to run. There were days when I was slow. During the training process I gave myself the out to skip or delay a run I wanted to. Missing one run won’t kill you, but it CAN make you start to loath training and leave a feeling of distain in your brain around running.
After applying these three running tips throughout training I felt more alive on race day than ever. I ran the race in the fastest time I had ever ran it in, 1 hour and 56 minutes! I was also shocked to find that recovering from this race was a piece of cake- which I FIRMLY attribute to proper fueling!
Don’t forget to take a second to Pin this post to your Pinterest board to keep these tips handy and share with others!
If you’re running, wanting to be a runner, or are thinking about running I HIGHLY recommend you take these 3 running tips and apply them to your race training, like I did. You’ll thank me later!
Have a story about a race you’ve run? Did you apply any of these 3 running tips? Leave a comment and let me know! Can’t wait to chat with you about all things running!!
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