Running. My new form of escape?

I wrote in a previous post that I recently started taking up running as a hobby. I never liked running, but decided to discipline myself to run at least every other day. Thats about 3 times a week for about half an hour. That is the optimal daily recommended amount of exercise to keep yourself healthy. Two months on and I feel so much better physically, mentally and emotionally. 

Physically, I feel I have much more stamina that I originally had. I don’t feel as tired as before and I feel that I have a much bigger reserve of energy than I had in the past. Before I took up running, I feel fatigued often, especially after doing lots of work. It’s almost like, I don’t have the reserve energy to get me through the rest of the day or evening, before heading to bed. Now, I feel like I can focus on my work better and in some ways, I feel like I am more productive in the long run.

I sleep better too. I get better quality sleep at night and I feel much more refreshed in the morning. I initially thought that if I were to run at night and then sleep after taking a shower, I would simply get knocked out due to exhaustion. But no, it actually kept me awake sometimes. A good shower after a run, is the perfect way to reenergise and that to continue the rest of the day. Now I understand why people who run in the wee hours of the morning feel so much more energetic to start their day off.

Mentally I am stronger, I have better focus. My mind feels sharper, I think faster as well. It almost felt like I have been given this surge of energy to my brain after a good run.

Emotionally I am more stable. I tend to have mood swings now and then, especially during periods of stress in school or about my future in general. I tend to brood and think a lot about my life and about school work. But now, I am generally more happy, more calm and more rational. I can think clearly and think more logically, with a better conviction to myself, saying that there is really no point in worrying in things that have yet come to pass, if it will come to pass at all. I can control my emotions now and I feel more positive. All that positive energy is now within me just after two months of running, keeping with the schedule religiously.

But now, I start to wonder, whether all these running, has created an outlet for me, as a form of escapism. To use running as an excuse to run away from my problems and the things I hate or use it as a form of reflection and deep thought as to how to address some of my personal problems? I feel sometimes that while running, all the problems, secrets and negative feelings begin to surface and I would dwell on it while I run. Whether I would think through it and find a way to face it, or use running as an excuse to run away from it all, is still early to say. I just hope that it would not become a habit to use running as a form of escape and not being able to face the problems I have in the future and instead, face the music.

But there were also moments where I dwell on the future things in life. Sometimes I would focus on something that I desperately want, a life that I would desperately like to have and concentrate on that and put it in front of me like a target. Then I would run towards it and give it my all. It gives me great motivation to ‘chase’ after your dreams through my running regime. Through this method, I think the consequence is that you become more focus in doing what you need to do to achieve your goals and objectives in life and as a result, you become stronger mentally.

Overall, running not only make me healthier and fitter, it also gives me that previous 30 to 45 minutes of so of reflection. Reflecting on the day that has passed and things I did, and the things that will come to pass eventually allowed me to evaluate myself better as a person. Running allowed me to run away from all the little troubles in life, so that I can focus on reaching my dreams ahead of me.

My running regime is very simple for now. I will run non stop for at least 5km. That is the minimum distance I would run. I have improved my timings after 2 months. Initially my average timing for running 5 km is about 35 minutes. Now, its possible for me to go below 30 minutes. I would one day like to hit the 25 minute mark. That would be an achievement. I would keep to a tight schedule. Run every other day, keeping a rest day to heal and recuperate. If I miss a day, I would simply run the following day, but in no way I would skip more than 3 days after the last session. I would run at least 5km. The minimum I set for myself  is 2.4km. No exceptions. Mostly I hit my optimal target of 5km per session. Anything more is a bonus.

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