Exercising as a Working Parent: How I Became a Runner
I’ve never been a runner. In fact, I used to always tell people that my body wasn’t made for running – “it’s not in my genes.” I was on the cross country team in high school (not sure why now, but maybe there was a boy that inspired me) but after that, I never ran again. It wasn’t or isn’t that I don’t like to exercise. It’s more that I always found running to be too hard…until recently anyway.
How I Became a Runner
About seven months ago, I set a goal for myself to start walking several times per week. It was a small goal, basically walk 25 minutes a day around lunch time. I would walk 1.6 miles. I was in a work rut and needed something to help me gain outlook. Sometimes when I walked, I was actively working, because if I didn’t, my day would get away from me and I’d never get out the door. Other times I used the 25 minutes as a time to think work things out.
After about two months of this, I found I was moving faster. It wasn’t really planned, I just started pushing myself to run a ½ mile. You are probably laughing right now… a whole ½ mile – is she serious? Well, yes, I am. Remember how I said I’m not a runner? A ½ mile was like a marathon to me. Then I started to push myself and I would walk a ½ mile, run a ½ mile, walk a ¼ mile and then run ¼ mile. One day my sister asked me why I was going from walking to running to walking to running and really I couldn’t think of a good answer other than this notion that running is not in my genes and that I couldn’t do it. She inspired me that day and I pushed myself to run a mile of that 1.6 mile loop – but guess what? It wasn’t really pushing. It was pretty easy. So now I find myself pushing myself further and just a few weeks ago I got addicted to running 3 ½ miles. I can do that in just over 35 minutes, which doesn’t cut into my work day much more than “taking” lunch would (which I’ve never ever done anyway in my entire 15+ years of working).
The benefit is I feel great! AND it’s amazing how much you can “work” through during a short run. Plus every time on the weekends my kids seeing me running on the treadmill (which don’t get me wrong , isn’t stress free) or waving as I leave for a run outdoors, I feel like an awesome mom for showing my kids how important exercise is! So, my trick is, if you’re not a runner, don’t run. Walk.