I love running. I picked it up 5 months ago. It took some time, I never thought of myself as particularly sporty, least of all a runner. I grew up as the short fat kid with glasses, I'm now 183cm, 77kg. I threw a head fake and said, you know what? enough with putting myself down before I even try. Running is more than just exercise, it's about mental tenacity and commitment. It's cheap too, no gym fees, just pavement pounding.
It's not the physical pain (it almost never is). It's the demons in your head that start to whisper when you run and your legs start to get sore and it hurts to draw in breath, if you stop now, it'll all be okay. Walking doesn't hurt. If you go home now you can lie down on the couch and it won't hurt anymore. It's when you tell the demon to go to hell that you build character, when you keep running through the barriers, you're competing with yourself, you win.
Running builds character. Someone once told me that writing difficult reports and being challenged to hard, boring work builds character. I prefer running.
The habit of commitment is the mind game I struggle with daily. It's easy to make excuses... it's raining, it's too hot, it's too cold, i'm too tired, i can just watch one more tv show.
So what do I do to fight these demons?
1. The Head Fake. I read somewhere once that when a challenge comes up thats so big and ugly, you don't take it head on. You dodge it, you head fake. It's a sporting term for when an athlete uses his head to fake the direction he's running. Even the biggest scariest tacklers fall for it. When my mind starts telling me to quit, or that I'm not a runner, I throw a head fake and I just run. When my legs start to hurt and my body tells me to stop, I throw a head fake, I keep running and ignore the pain, I don't give in to it.
2. I Turn Up. I make time to turn up to running. It's a contract I have with myself. I get home, pull on the shoes, pull on the shorts. If I don't feel like running then, I can stop (one time I fell asleep in bed after getting changed, it was probably for the best!). Turning up is most of the battle already won.
There are probably some truths here about our lives too.
In another post, I'll write about another great passion of mine (and Will Smith's). Reading.