Much of our lives can be pretty toxic. Part of what makes running so popular is that it is an antidote to that. Even if we are just bashing the pavement near our home, we feel better about our lives when we are running.
The human body is so well designed for running that a person can knock out 5km or so a day and remain in poor shape, especially if they just run. Shambling along with poor technique, feeling awful throughout but righteous at the end.
The temptation then is to go home and ‘treat’ yourself to junk food or prolonged inactivity because you have done your run. It’s the same principle that puts the fruit and vegetables at the entrance to the supermarket. Once humans have done something they perceive as ‘good’ it psychologically lets them off the hook to do bad things for a while. It’s also why vitamin makers have to warn us not to rely on them instead of a decent diet.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying don’t treat yourself. But if you’re not training like a racehorse you probably shouldn’t eat like one. Instead of using running as an excuse to stay in an unhealthy mode of living, use it as a springboard to enhance your whole life.
Eating and sleeping right are the foundation. Everything else flows from that.
One of the most powerful ways to do this is to make running and well-being central to your lifestyle, not just the price you pay for that lifestyle.
We are all largely the stories we tell ourselves. Start telling yourself a story of you in which running and well-being play a central part. There are lots of great stories about this that you can use for inspiration.
The easiest way to establish this story as fact is to tune the environment around you to match it. That means every aspect of the world that interacts with you. Take a look at where you live, the places you go, the people you spend time with, the things you own. With each of them ask yourself the question – does this contribute to my healthy vision of myself? If it doesn’t change it until it does.
The best way is to start small and make incremental changes. That’s true of running and the rest of your life. There are so many tiny victories within easy reach. How would this runner version of you get to work? What sort of other hobbies would fit the picture? What would they focus on at home?
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